Thunderstone Software LLC, a Gold-Level Sponsor of the fifth annual Enterprise Search Summit in New York City, sent Peter Thusat (Chief Marketing Officer) and Fred Harmon (Chief Sales Officer) to meet with and hear from many of the search industry's leading experts, analysts, consultants, solution providers, resellers and end-users/customers representing a wide range of large, medium-sized and small organizations.
Although we witnessed a surprising level of overall collegiality and a definite feeling that "we're all in this together," by the end of the three days of intensive workshops, conference sessions, panel discussions, etc. -- some emerging areas of general concensus and stark disagreement among the active participants had become apparent.
AREAS OF GENERAL CONSENSUS
Keyword search alone does not work well enough to satisfy typical users in the enterprise.
Whether focusing on litigants engaged in e-discovery or employees looking for subject matter experts within their own globally dispersed teams, results improve dramatically when the deployed enterprise search solution can expand upon traditional keyword search capabilities with built-in tools that anticipate the data needs of users. For example, some of Thunderstone's enhanced product capabilities include concept-based search with a user-customizable thesaurus, parametric search with faceted or guided navigation based on targeted data fields/attributes/tags and real-time search of changing information with immediate data insertion that does not require any updating of the search index.
Mere novelty no longer translates into real-world sales in today's search marketplace.
Stephen Arnold (President of ArnoldIT.com) monitors approximately 300 companies that offer enterprise search solutions, and he said his colleague Susan Feldman (Research Vice President of IDC) tracks about 325 such companies. Arnold noted that these search companies have an average founding date of 1997, with newer entrants into the market fading away and going out of business at an ever-increasing pace. The lifespans of Thunderstone's search industry competitors continue to decline rapidly, as customers around the world eschew a dizzying array of cool new features with limited actual value to them in favor of well-proven solutions that can handle their actual needs for powerful, scalable and flexible information access/retrieval.
Most people cannot find important data that remains locked away in multiple silos.
Everybody seems to agree on the necessity of making ALL their data searchable, neglecting neither unstructured data nor structured data. Thunderstone pioneered the simultaneous searching of structured and unstructured data, and ongoing leadership related to this challenge continues as one of Thunderstone's core competencies. Also, personalization of search results has become recognized as an enterprise imperative -- both in terms of data security (allowing users to view only content which they have the proper credentials to see) and in terms of data findability (making the desired information searchable and usable in whatever manner best suits a person's particular work objectives at the moment.)
AREAS OF SHARP DISAGREEMENT
Taxonomists may or may not play an essential role for quite some time in enterprise search.
Speakers, panelists and audience members shared differing experiences and opinions on questions surrounding the issues of ontologies, user-generated metadata, social bookmarking, metadata standardization, automated tagging, the roles of taxonomists and other specialists, etc. The upshot? Don't look for absolute best practices where it may make more sense to identify the practice that simply works best today in your unique environment.
Should software facilitate or replace our need for expert assistance in finding good answers?
Some aspire to better enable users to quickly locate and contact an available expert to answer a specific query, because, they insist, people really want an accessible expert who can help them determine precisely what to do next. Others seek to eliminate as much wasted manual effort as possible and, instead, try to take maximum advantage of computing power to fully automate the way we solve information retrieval problems.
Don't blame search technology for mistakes due to understaffing.
Several presenters articulated their belief that an insufficient number of I.T. employees dedicated to managing/optimizing enterprise search deserves most of the blame for lingering user dissatisfaction. Administrators need help analyzing query logs, supporting users, conducting training, maintaining data security and more. Whether you do or don't see big staff additions on your team's horizon, either way -- Thunderstone's comprehensive maintenance and support program makes a huge difference.
To get your questions on search answered, please email .
An important factor in determining your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) involves looking ahead and trying to figure out how much it may cost your organization when you decide in the future that you want to increase the size of your license, to expand the capacity of your current system and, in general, to step up into a larger search solution than you originally purchased. What will happen at that time to the initial investment you made in your search product? How, exactly, do you expect your anticipated upgrade path to work?
Thunderstone's entire line of search solutions come with a one-time, perpetual license. And we've made upgrading so easy and affordable that you'll probably wonder why everybody doesn't do it the same way.
The Thunderstone Product Investment Protection Program
If you ever get close to outgrowing your enterprise search solution from Thunderstone Software LLC, just ask for a quote on the Thunderstone product that can best accommodate your new requirements -- and you'll quickly discover some exciting facts about Thunderstone's Product Investment Protection Program, including:
Most organizations have a rapidly-expanding quantity of data they need to make searchable in order for targeted stakeholders to accomplish their immediate and long-term objectives. As your search requirements grow, so should your search solution options -- without you worrying about the investment you already made in the past.
Thunderstone's customers can enjoy all the performance advantages of Texis, Webinator, Thunderstone Search Appliance and Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance, along with a comprehensive Maintenance & Support Program plus the very substantial resource-maximizing benefits of the Thunderstone Product Investment Protection Program.
When it's time to upgrade, Thunderstone's got your back.To find out more, email or call Thunderstone Sales today at +1 216 820 2200.
Feedback, suggestions and questions are welcome to