Monday, May 21, 2007

Enterprise Search Summit 2007: Trying to Make Search Work

The New York Hilton was again the setting of this must-attend conference for search professionals focused on implementing search in their organizations. Opening keynoter, Susan Feldman, Research VP of Content Technologies, IDC, framed the dilemna well. Search is hot, and the vendors happy with over 30% growth, busily rolling out new product features. But as the use of search within the enterprise grows, integration with other applications is more important. So enterprise search companies are repositioning as Business Intelligence platforms, rather than solely search. At the time time, other companies in the Business Intelligence (BI), Enterprise content Management(ECM), Knowledge Management (KM) spaces are integrating more search capabilities.

For attendees looking to buy their first search engine, Theresa Regli, CMSWatch, described the infrastructure analysis that needs to be done prior to establishing the evaluation framework. She emphasized selection of a search engine involves more than a checklist of features. Jennifer Whalen, Portal Manager, Deloitte, spoke to lessons learned about working with a currently installed search engine (Sharepoint), and no budget for a replacement.

A common themes in the speakers was that search is more than technology. Content and business rules determine successful implementations. Content includes what should be indexed, as well as content types. It comes in the form of unstructured content created at the desktop, but also as structured content found in databases. And increasingly, content includes images, and video content (included in over 20% of current search applications according to the Shore/Information Today report, Enterprise Search, Deployment, Usage and Trends). This was reinforced by the booming attendance at the co-located Streaming Media Conference right next door to Enterprise Search.

Underlying search are the bigger issues of security and compliance. The implications of the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedures (FRCP) which went to effect on 12/1/2006 were clearly explained by Prudence Zalewski, Software Synthesis. The financial costs involved in the discovery process mandate risk management planning, particularly for email retention! These developments will force a more explicit role and responsibility for search and records management within the organization, and demand for experienced search professions....see you next fall at Enterprise Search West!
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