The idea of an enterprise search tool is fairly simple. I’ve blogged at length about how a company is able to measure their return on investment of such tools, but I haven’t addressed the reason why it is so important. In this day and age a company is only as good as its ability to manage data. Is that a fair statement? Maybe not, but a well-managed enterprise search platform can usually give a company a major competitive advantage. This author has worked in several offices with and several without an enterprise search tool. The difference for me personally isn’t that big, because I consider myself to be over- the top organized. I have folders and subfolders and a classification system that is easy to follow. However, if I’m on vacation and a co-worker needs to find a document on my PC, they don’t stand a chance. The reason? In this example, there is no enterprise wide search tool or enterprise wide classification system.
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Working Styles and Organization Styles
If every employee organized everything in the same way, I guess we could learn to “speak” the same language. In reality though, that will never happen. Everyone wants to organize their emails and files in their own way, and that’s the reason for enterprise search. Being organized as an individual is one thing, being part of an organization is another. The tool Enterprises are inherently unorganized. Let me clarify, the ability to organize the vast amounts of data that a modern company creates and captures will swamp any organizing strategy. When a company has a good enterprise search tool, it makes a world of difference. With enterprise search tools, companies have the ability to adjust their search returns, making changes to not only what is returned, but how it is displayed. (Try doing that with the internet) The other important function of any enterprise search platform is security; the company needs the ability to manage different levels of access to different types of data to different employees. After all, you wouldn’t want to give payroll information for the entire company to the engineering department, right? Enterprise search solutions will help manage these issues.
Implementation of tools within companies
With all of this, it all comes down to implementation, getting a regular central command of the inflow and creation of data within the company. It shouldn’t matter that Gary from Marketing can’t organize anything. His files will be indexed and structured to be searchable. You don’t need to know Todd from accountings tabbed and color-coded filing system. With a proper enterprise search solution, these should be minor annoyances. Could you imagine having so much faith in the enterprise search structure at your company that you could stop your advanced degree training in email filing and just let them be. You would always be able to search for them later, right? That is the idea!