We have not worked through all the delegate assessment forms but the general reaction was that Enterprise Search Europe 2013 was the best yet. Six months of planning paid off to the extent that we finished the two day conference one minute early after nearly 30 presentations. To me as Conference Chair the most rewarding outcome was the buzz in the room as delegates networked together to share ideas and experiences with each other and with the vendors sponsoring the event.

It is not possible to summarise the conference in a single blog post. If you were not a delegate among the highlights you missed were

  • A keynote from Ed Dale (Ernst and Young) that showed just what could be done when an organisation invests in search technology and a search team of seven.
  • A stimulating discussion on open source search chaired by Charlie Hull.
  • Kristian Norling presenting the results of the Findwise findability survey and Karen Pernice setting out the core elements of search usability based on research carried out by the Nielsen Norman Group.
  • A very lively session on whether Big Data and enterprise search would converge, a subject addressed with passion and insight earlier in the conference by Stephen Arnold
  • Inspiring papers from Joe Lamantia (Oracle) and Tyler Tate (Twigkit) on how to understand the process and outcomes of search.
  • Insights into the benefits and challenges in using SharePoint 2013 search in a workshop led by Raytion and then presentations from Matt Willsmore (Search Technologies) and Agnes Molnar.
  • A very thoughtful concluding synthesis from Lynda Moulton about what she had heard and learned during the conference, with suggestions for the programme for 2014

I’m writing this from New York ahead of the Enterprise Search Summit that starts on 20 May. It will be interesting to see the extent of the commonality of the challenges experienced by search managers in Europe and North America. What will certainly be common will be that delegates going back to their organisations will have a wealth of ideas about how to ensure that content prepared over many years by a significant number of employees is not invisible to those that need it to support the objectives of the organisation. What you can’t find could well make the difference between success and failure. 

Martin White