Jinfo BlogEnterprise search – invest to save?

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By Tim Buckley Owen

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Research analysts are ten-a-penny, whereas a good searcher is worth their weight in gold, claimed some respondents to the recent Business Information Review survey of senior professionals (http://www.vivavip.com/go/e16627). Now the view is given extra weight by a report from information consultants Outsell. Information Professionals and Enterprise Search: Getting Started (US$695 – details at http://digbig.com/4yjqx) explains why enterprise search is important and offers a model for implementing it. But VIP wanted to know whether such an investment was realistic at a time like this. Yes it is, says the report's author Roger Strouse. Spending on the technology seems to be coming from IT budgets rather than the corporate information centre; there are lower cost, lower feature solutions available now – and in any case it’s money well spent because it helps enterprises maximize the return on information investments that they’ve already made. Actual ROI on the installation of enterprise search software is still difficult to measure, Strouse acknowledges, although benefits through improved search success rates seem to come almost immediately. However anecdotal evidence also suggests that the process is somewhat labour-intensive, at least in the early stages, with perhaps a third to half of an information professional’s time taken up with manual intervention in the search results or tweaking the search algorithm. So, more work for the corporate infopro – and, elsewhere, some pretty powerful legal arguments in favour of the practice too. As Nancy Davis Kho reports (http://www.vivavip.com/go/e16264) recent research from Gartner suggests that failure to put sound eDiscovery measures in place can cost enterprises a fortune in either fending off litigation or falling foul of the regulators. Outsell has heard ranges of four months to a year from starting down the enterprise search route to initial release. Sounds as if infopros should waste no time in dusting down their arguments to senior management.

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