Enterprise search and AI – better together?

by | Mar 31, 2020 | Search

The structural dynamics of the enterprise search business are very complex. Over 50 companies offer enterprise search-level software and in addition there are the embedded search applications in a range of enterprise applications (e.g. IBM, Microsoft and OpenText) and a thriving open source community. In addition, there are specialist search systems integrators, and companies such as Basis Technology offering specialized modules.

Gartner, Forrester and other consultancies only look at a limited number of market leaders. There has been no large-scale study of the sector that takes into account both technology development (especially AI and NLP) and the emerging clarity about how employees use search applications. Over the last couple of years ‘professional search’ has emerged as requiring specialized applications and user interfaces.  The development of the Complex Searcher Model and work on information foraging are both very helpful approaches to optimizing enterprise search.

I am delighted to announce that the first outcome of a partnership between Intranet Focus Ltd and Alan Pelz-Sharpe and his colleagues at Deep Analysis has now been published. This research note is entitled Enterprise Search and AI – better together? The Deep Analysis team track developments in the enterprise IT sector and they have a very good understanding of the role that AI can play. I bring to the team two decades of experience in enterprise and intranet search implementation and a significant collection of documents from academic research teams around the world. In the first week of the report being available it has been downloaded over 150 times. I am not going to try and summarise it as there is a lot of information and insight in the 5 page document.

This is the first report from our collaboration. We are now working on a large-scale project that will be of value to search vendors in shaping their technical and marketing roadmaps and to major corporate users of search applications who will (we are certain) be looking to invest significantly in search applications for 2021 and beyond based on the lessons they are already learning from how distributed working is changing the way in which information is discovered and used. As with all business sectors the enterprise search community is having to cope with significant short-term problems (especially in being on-site for implementation support) and looking ahead to what the market landscape might be later this year.

If you would like to keep in touch with our plans for the sector please contact either Alan (based in the USA) or me (based in the UK). There will be opportunities for individual companies to have company-specific information and advice from the research we are undertaking.

Martin White