Tag: search

Good Will and Responsibility

If you signed up for feeds from this site, new posts have been slow coming. Gilbane’s announcement of an Enterprise Search Practice has not gone unnoticed. The past two weeks have resulted in more good will than this analyst could easily digest and filter. The good news is that ideas for posting on “enterprise search” are already accumulating faster than they can get written, and the number of enthusiastic well-wishers is encouraging. It looks like we have an audience and community of practice in the making. Thank you to all who have sent their support and good cheer.

Quite a number of responses have come from companies who want to discuss their technology offerings and positioning. At Gilbane we are following up on those requests and beginning to schedule time for discussions and presentations. With the recognition that vendors/suppliers of technologies want ink, and plenty of it, comes a responsibility of which I am acutely aware because I was one of that community for over 20 years. Having founded, in 1980, and lead an integrated library automation firm in the corporate arena, I know how industry press coverage can make or break the fortunes of even the best offerings. While blogs are intended to launch and promote discussions, even play devil’s advocate, I don’t take this role lightly. Every good intention and hard work by vendors deserves thoughtful and unbiased consideration. It deserves to have analysts who know what they are talking about, and those that would present what they can fairly assess in a useful context. The very definition of analyst (noun) supposes a responsible action, to analyze (verb) the offerings. While my analysis may not focus on what a vendor wants me to consider, it will try to present information that is both helpful and thought-provoking without being mean-spirited or dismissive, and content that helps potential users of the technology focus their own choices and decisions.

Now it’s time to get down to business and start making this a more frequent happening. Based on a number of comments, let’s begin with clarifying what we mean by enterprise search at Gilbane. While the marketplace often categorizes enterprise search as a specific kind of search product, we at Gilbane don’t. Any technology that serves any type of enterprise by helping it find electronic or physical content through an electronic search interface is fair game. Enterprise search is about looking for content in the organization or for the organization. It may be embedded in a specialized application, may be a platform designed to collectively search and aggregate content from many internal silos, or it may combine search of desktops, enterprise hard drives and the Internet. There is a very big universe of content out there; enterprises need all the search tools they can (afford to) leverage to harvest what they need and when they need it.

Now this analyst’s job is to give you a balance between what the vendors are saying and offering, and what the users really need, and get the two engaging more effectively with each other.

Searching for Enterprise Search

The Gilbane Group has invited me to lead a new practice area for the Gilbane community. Based on my recent experience at Gilbane Boston, November 2006, there is the foundation for a substantial community of practice around the topic of Enterprise Search. When I invited attendees of conference sessions on search to a preliminary roundtable discussion about enterprise search, over 15 people signed up. About 12 people dropped in for all or part of what turned out to be a two hour lunch break with a fluid conversation about what search means, what users are seeking for their organizations and what vendors (service and product) have to offer.

I am inviting anyone who drops in on this blog to continue the conversation. By sharing needs, product offerings, definitions, problems and case studies, participants in this blog have the opportunity to contribute to a community of practice among a highly diverse audience of professionals concerned with this topic of search. We will learn what is working or not, what tools, tips and processes have been used and leveraged for improving business performance in any type of organization.

You will note a group of categories that I established because I have something I would like to share sooner rather than later about these topics. Not everything I may have to say in the next few weeks or months will fit neatly; expansion is inevitable. The categories are broad until we begin to accumulate content in other areas. One thing is certain; technology changes and changes our thinking. A year from now it will be interesting to look back at recommendations, advice, enthusiasms and endorsements in this time period and see where reversals happen and attitudes morph. We are all capable of love hate relationships with technology and I am as fickle as the next person.

Stay tuned and see where we are January 1, 2008. Still blogging, I hope.

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