When I use Google search, I have a specific question, but not Enterprise Search specific. Let me explain, when I use Google I want a solution or an idea to my question (think I feel lucky button). If I’m looking to book a flight to Berlin, I can enter “flight to Berlin” in the Google search bar and get 85 million returns in under half of a second! That’s great everyone who has ever used Google says, and then comes the kick, “I wish our Enterprise Search worked like that.”
Here is the problem with that statement. No, you don’t. If you were sitting at your desk and you performed a search using your Enterprise Search tool with 85 million returns, you would say that your system sucks, and I would agree with you. The difference lies in the data that is being searched, or the return that the user expects. With Enterprise Search, users need a specific document, or email. With Google people are usually looking for more general information.
Enterprise search is most definitely not like Google. Here's what it really is...
Specific or General Returns?
Let me paint a picture using my above example. I entered the search query into Google and got my return with plenty of fine options for booking on the first page. Fine, but Enterprise Search can’t work like that, because you are cultivating information that has already been stored by the Enterprise itself. So, now I want to find a receipt for the “Flight to Berlin” I took last November. If I enter that search into our Enterprise Search tool and it gives me every flight to Berlin our company employees have ever made throughout the companies existence, I would not be happy. However, when Google gives a return for every company that sells flights to Berlin (ala 85 million), nobody gets upset. I need my data and a very specific return.
Do you see now? The challenge for companies is the data return balance within the Enterprise Search system itself. How much is too much? That is a question that has to be answered by every individual company themselves. How much money is our Enterprise Search tool saving, or better yet, is it adding Value to the organization. Management of search returns is the key for every company. If I spend 3 hours looking through my search results, I would argue that that is not a good use of company resources (my boss would agree). So, next time you think, “I wish our Enterprise Search system was more like Google”, think about looking at 85 million returns for a receipt for a flight to Berlin.