Friday Data Stories: The challenges of Search in Enterprises

Let’s talk today about search and enterprise. Search has come a long way from being a well known feature in many applications and OSs to something different: getting access to information. Internet search engines pioneered the vision of “information access” and Google turned search into a verb: “Google it”.  So, when it comes to accessing information on the Internet, “Google it” seems as the right way to go. However, is “Google’ing it” sufficient or even appropriate when it comes to enterprise organizations, and more specifically, to manufacturing companies?

I’ve been reading a very interesting article, My Vision of Enterprise Search written by Xavier Vanneste, MVP from France.  Have a read during your weekend; it will be time well spent. The topic Xavier discusses can be summarized in the following way: internet search won’t help you when it come to accessing information in an enterprise.

In the company it becomes very difficult to find information and especially to obtain the latest information day. User confidence is often put to severe tests when they are not after all necessary information.Worse for the most part the information is scattered in different applications (document stored in a shared directory, customer information in CRM, not including GED, ERP, and mail). We come to the following paradox: it is easier to find information on the internet, a generic system since by definition must be suitable for everyone but especially larger and much less structured than the information system of company.

When it comes to the capabilities of different internet search engines, they use the collective knowledge of people to find relevant information.  That is to say, the more people search for particular things, the more precise the results returned. It is true for Google and other search engines.  But it is not true for enterprises such as manufacturing companies:

The reason for this paradox is simple: on the internet there are so-called search engines that find information. These search engines index day and night the contents of any site and, increasingly, any file format (HTML, PDF, WORD, POWERPOINT …..). These search engines work on algorithms of relevance which allows the user to get what he wants based on a keyword in the top search result. To make the user experience better, especially for filter functions, search engines are fitted with modern bars refining.

At the end of his article, Xavier talks about his vision for search driven applications and illustrates it with an example from Microsoft.

Applications today are Data Driven Application, they are based on a database, XML file, or web services, in short they are based on a structured data source.The Search Driven Application are applications based on the search engine, the data source is the search engine requests go through complete Query languages such as Fast Query Language or the Google Query Language.

This story resonated with what Inforbix created for manufacturing companies. Here’s why: Inforbix search is focuses on specific data and it’s context with the unique capability to browse, navigate, and retrieve data.  Moreover, Inforbix also provides different data driven applications, e.g. searchtableschartsdashboards.

Conclusion. It is interesting to see the adoption of web apps in enterprises. Search is going through one of the more interesting changes.  The move of search from the internet to the enterprise is transforming it into a valuable information access and gathering tool people value.  Inforbix has taken information access beyond internet search for manufacturing companies. Give Inforbix a try and see how it will enhance how you access data and information in your company.   Would having efficient data retrieval and search applications help you at work?

Best, Oleg

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