Enterprise Search – A step Forward

I was pleased to see the announcement yesterday between "Google, BearingPoint Form Corporate Search Alliance" it brings some credibility to the idea.  But I worry that it will take it in the wrong direction, because if this is to succeed it needs to be EASY to USE.  When we created our approach to this we were looking to do three things:

  • Find information already in the organization but not founf (I refer to as artifacts – Indiana Jones to the rescue)
  • Publish personal findings (if you don’t find your answer in the search, but find the answer offline, be able to ad-hoc add it to the system).
  • Make it easy and plug and play as various applications have their own search or metadata.

So we came up with a three tier approach based upon AJAX and SOA.

  1. User Interface – AJAX
    • Search Criteria
    • Response Information
    • Ability to post or comment on search criteria
  2. Services Layer – SOA
    • Use google, MSN, … various other search engines as a sub-service
    • Create simple services that can make requests into proprietary API’s (Documentum, MS Sharepoint, MicroStrategy, Teradata, Cognos, BO)
    • Ability to ask the professional (or Innovator Value Network)
    • Publish Service
  3. Data Layer
    • A place to hold published information that is added ad-hoc

Use the KISS principle and then build it out.  The problem with Knowledge Management is maintaining it and having the users see enough value right away.

In our first proof of concept the client saw tremendous value immediately.

  1. Graham Boundy Reply

    Metadata management, phew baby! Gives me a headache, where’s the Advil. For those of you who need a definition for metadata and are tired of hearing it’s data about the data consider your Advil bottle. The actual Advil tablets are the data and the label on the bottle is the metadata. Headache gone?
    Not quite because different user have different needs. How often do you read the whole label? A business user wants to know how many pills he can take at one time, how often, and get rid of the headache. They want the minimal metadata that is vital to the decision of whether or not this pill is the right one to swallow.
    A technical user might be more interested in the underlying ingredients (ibuprofin, sugar coating, binding agents, etc.) or if security is the issue the workings of the child proof cap, or whether it should not be taken prior to operation machinery.
    Being able to find the bottel in the medcine chest, open the bottle and get the cotton out is step one — google the advil as it were.

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