The overall goal of Enterprise search is, to be able to access information in a timely and efficient manner without incurring crippling costs. The goal of the manager of the search tool is to save more money completing the search than it costs to implement the search itself. Sounds easy enough, but many companies struggle with this very problem.
The problem with most search tools and developers of tools is that every company is different when it comes to their search needs. Is it worthwhile for a company to have a lot of returns for a search term and then comb through those to find the exact information that they need or is it a company that will do a quick search to see if a document has been written and when it’s not returned in the search it is actually cheaper to reproduce the document than to keep looking for it. These are the questions that managers have to ask themselves and the reason that companies need to invest in the optimization of their Enterprise Search tools.
Data Creation and Adding Value
The modern company is in the business of data creation, weather that data comes from invoices, product design and ideas or emails. If a company uses a fixed amount of money to create each data point in the system, it makes sense that an Enterprise Search return would add value to those data points. I’ll give you an example: You have an engineer that gets a call from a customer that needs a replacement of a product that you sold to him 30 years ago. The original engineer is long gone and the new engineer has never heard of the part. He gets a little information from the customer on what that part is and does and enters it into the Enterprise Search bar. He gets a return with five possibilities and finds the original scanned drawing in under a minute.
Now the question that firms have to ask themselves is, how much does it cost to have an Enterprise Search tool (fixed cost)? How much does it cost to manage the tool (variable cost)? How much are they saving by non-duplication of work? Its obvious from a company standpoint that the engineer that was on the phone with the client costs money to employ and that the work that he would have done to re-do a part that was “lost” would have cost the company money, but that didn’t happen. The fixed cost that an engineer charged 30 years ago to produce the drawings for the part that was needed, is still adding value to the company today! That is the effect of Enterprise Search systems.
Companies just need to figure out how much to invest in search tools and the management that must go with it to add value to their company. That is the big money question.