Why Search as We Know it is Dead
Three Steps Companies Should Take to Address the Explosion of Content
By Brian Cleary, Chief Strategy Officer, bigtincan
The landscape for enterprise information access is undergoing radical change from so many perspectives. Ten years ago, “content access” was largely defined by enterprise content management (ECM) repositories – documents tucked in a dizzying hierarchy of folders that were accessed by internal users on either a desktop or notebook computer.
Today, that model is completely outdated. Device proliferation and mobility are changing the way people – inside and outside your organization – access and interact with information. Content comes from and lives everywhere, thanks to billions of smartphones and tablets that are indispensable tools for today’s enterprise knowledge workers and the emerging dominance of cloud-based file-sharing systems. It’s no wonder, then, that 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years (Source).
Today, people need to work across different screen sizes – and when screen size goes down, so does user patience. What’s more, as the timeframe for accessing information decreases, the user’s needs increase. In today’s mobile world, content can no longer be restricted to a data center or on the user’s desktop/laptop, locked away by owners/generators/repository administrators.
With so much content, so many mobile users and so many devices, the challenge today is to enable users to discover content – to get the content to the user in timely and appropriate ways. Unfortunately, the volume and diversity of content in the cloud and across the enterprise has made it unmanageable and inconsumable – there’s just too much content and too little time (and, often, too little screen real-estate). Ultimately, these factors and trends lead to a difficult conclusion: The contemporary desktop-centric search paradigm is dead.
So what can organizations do to address the explosion of data and overwhelmed employees struggling to find the data they need, when they need it? Start by taking these three steps:
- Streamline content repositories: By integrating various content repositories into one central location and making that location accessible to employees when and where they need that content (including on mobile devices, both online and offline), organizations can help cut down on time spent searching for and developing content that already exists.
- Add context to your content: Context means more than an array of files – it’s knowledge, information, data, association and dates. By applying these attributes to content, the workforce can have access to content that’s relevant and appropriate to their needs. For instance, when a sales rep makes an appointment with a customer, the calendar invite could contain up-to-date information from his or her LinkedIn profile or blog. Or, just like an online shopping site presents upsell/cross-sell/substitution offers based on the understanding of the potential buyer’s persona and situation, enterprise content can be positioned the same way – content that’s driven by more than just keywords.
- Push content to users when and where they need it: When a pharma sales rep is about to walk into a sales meeting and needs to know if the gift he or she is bringing complies with company regulations, they need to know the policy right then and there to ensure he or she follows protocol – this is their mobile moment of need. The primitive search paradigm will not suffice. Instead, users need a multi-dimensional analysis about what content is needed for each user in each situation. While keywords, meta tags and time periods are all useful, search intelligence adds the data driven insights that users need to access relevant content. Other dimensions to add into your content searches include: sales cycle stage, content consumption trends, what peers prefer and use, location/GPS of the user, and your associations (role, industry, size, persona). Just like during our personal use of mobile devices where apps regularly push updates to us, we should apply the same method to the enterprise.
The one-dimensional file/folder construct for information management and search is no longer an appropriate paradigm in a world where content volumes and types are increasing exponentially and device volumes and types are proliferating rapidly.
Through intelligent, automated curation based on attributes and variables of both the content and those that consume the content, organizations can begin to deliver content, in context, to their employees in their mobile moment of need.
About the Author: Brian Cleary is currently the chief strategy officer at bigtincan, a mobile content enablement company. Cleary brings two decades of experience to his role where he is responsible for setting the technology roadmap, leading product and corporate marketing initiatives and developing strategic technology partnerships and field leadership strategies