News Feature | September 29, 2014

Survey Reveals Search Capabilities Are Vital — But Immature

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Search Features Not Up To Par

A recent white paper published by AIIM has found that most organizations are poorly equipped to handle the inquiries and searches that are required of them. 

The survey, titled “Search and Discovery — Exploiting Knowledge and Minimizing Risk,” found that for 71 percent of the organizations polled, search was vital or essential, even though only 18 percent have established cross-repository search capabilities and 58 percent show little or no signs of search maturity.

Further, the study shows 75 percent of respondents said that information is easier to find outside of the organization than within, with 65 percent agreeing that employees struggle to access internal information from mobile devices. And only 39 percent have natural language search capabilities.

For almost three-quarters of those surveyed (73 percent), improved search is a priority over Big Data or content analytics. When it comes to search tools, the study discovered that 25 percent of those surveyed have no advanced or dedicated search tools, and only 13 percent have five or more.

Also, those with advanced search tools are most likely to acquire them through their enterprise content management (ECM) product or provider, while 42 percent of users have on-server search products outside of ECM, including 14 percent who use open source, 21 percent who use a dedicated search appliance, and 8 percent who use SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).

Among those who do have a search tool, 38 percent have not tuned or optimized it to any degree, including 8 percent who have not even enabled it.  Half of the responding organizations allocate less than half an FTE (full-time equivalent) to support search applications and only 12 percent have employed external expertise. In addition, most content is beyond the scope of the search tools of those surveyed.  Only 19 percent had any advanced search capabilities across email, and less than 10 percent extending to other enterprise systems.

Meanwhile, almost half (47 percent) believe that universal search and compliant e-discovery is approaching the impossible, due to the proliferation of cloud share and collaboration apps, personal note systems, and mobile devices. 

When asked what the top benefits of improved search tools were, not surprisingly, better decision-making and faster customer service were the most common responses. And 42 percent reported that they had achieved a positive ROI on search tools within 12 months or less, and 62 percent said they achieved payback within 18 months.

On the whole, users were likely to increase spending on all aspects of search and discovery in the next twelve months, in particular allocating funds to content analytics, mobile device apps, and consolidation of multiple search tools.

Among the recommendations of the report are to set out a strategy for search that recognizes its importance for both information exploitation and information governance, to evaluate the search capability of the company’s ECM system and look to connect it to other repositories to provide a single-point search portal, ensure that there is a robust hold mechanism across each repository, and look to IT support for the downstream review process.

The full report may be accessed here.