Findability Survey 2014 – findability meets information management

by | Oct 3, 2014 | Information Management, Intranets, Search

September was a good month for search. AIIM published its first ever survey of search adoption and implementation with a particular focus on the role of enterprise content management applications. Although a global survey the majority of respondents were from North America. Findwise released its third Enterprise Search and Findability Survey at the Findwise Findability Day. The sample size was a little smaller than AIIM but 80% of the responses were from Europe. The top line outcomes of the two surveys are similar. Organisations know that information is a business-critical asset but pay little attention to ensuring that the information that has been expensively created by an employee is then discoverable by anyone else in the organisation that has a need for it. The problem is more acute in organisations with more than 5000 employees where nearly 60% were dissatisfied with the existing search application.

The report is structured around a five-dimension model of findability, covering the alignment of search with business objectives, meeting the requirements of users, having an organisation/governance framework, ensuring that information is of adequate quality and implementing a technology platform which provides an appropriate level of functionality. What comes across very strongly in the report is the positive impact of adopting an information management strategy which sets out the scope of a search strategy. For example, 33% of respondents in organisations with a search strategy said that information was easy, or very easy, to find. Where there was no strategy the figure was only 14%. Again, where there were Key Performance Indicators for search only 25% of users were dissatisfied with search performance compared to 47% in organisations without KPIs. The most dramatic difference was in regard to search analytics. Where analytics were analysed and acted upon only 22% of respondents stated that it was difficult or very difficult to find information, compared with almost 60% where no analytics were available.

The message is very clear. Search satisfaction is significantly better in organisations with an information management strategy for content quality, taxonomies and metadata, allied to a search strategy that supports positive action from analytics reviews and the provision of search-as-a-service architecture.

The survey team at Findwise were led by Mattias Ellison. The quality of the analysis in the 2014 report is excellent. The team reduced the complexity of the survey compared to previous years and this decision has undoubtedly led to the much higher response rate. One-off surveys are useful but regular surveys are even more useful as trends can be identified. I do hope that both Findwise and AIIM run their surveys again next year. Overall I have a sense that there is a gradual increase in the organisational awareness of the importance of search. Although the Findwise report does suggest that search satisfaction has been getting worse since 2012 I feel that the somewhat heterogeneous respondent range in previous years may have skewed the data. I hope I am proved right in 2015.

I’m in the process of integrating the outcome of both these surveys and data from other sources to build a reasonably comprehensive view of the search landscape and this will be published in mid-October.

Martin White