IntraTeam Event 2019 Part 2: Enterprise search track
In the course of quite a long career of intranet conference attendance I have only heard three presentations about intranets that are explicitly built around search. These have come from Philips, DNV GL (Oslo) and the Danish Police. There is usually no mention of the way in which the search application has been developed and certainly nothing about the level of use. It is ironic that Office 365 is in effect a search-based application.
For some years now there has been an IntraTeam Enterprise Search Community and ‘search’ is an element of the IntraTeam benchmark methodology. This year, as in previous years, there has been a search track at IntraTeam, and this year a number of delegates turned up specifically to participate in the track.
The keynote speaker was Charlie Hull, who has recently merged his Flax business into OpenSource Connections. Charlie started out by looking at the importance of understanding the concept of relevance before moving on to talk about Quepid, Luigi’s Box and other software applications that support the process of relevance tuning. Next up was Kristian Norling, the Digital Media Manager of the Vastra region in Gothenburg. Kristian, who has been in the search business for many years, outlined the way in which his team were developing the ‘people search’ functionality on the intranet, including a live demonstration. People search is one of the most important features of an intranet and also one of the most complex to deliver.
At AstraZeneca people search is now being integrated into the knowledge management strategy. Steve Sale, the Senior Search Architect showed how the company were using the Sinequa application to search across a wide range of internal and external (patents and research papers) repositories to build up a virtual profile of the expertise of employees. This approach overcomes the problems of ensuring people write good quality profiles and then keep them up to date.
My own contribution was to talk about eight actions that need to be taken to optimize search satisfaction, based on a report that I wrote for The Search Network last year. A show of hands indicated that very few delegates gave their users a chance to report on their level of satisfaction with the search application.
After lunch Jesper Bylund described the work he and his colleagues at Scana Region were doing on optimizing search. They have used the Top Tasks approach developed by Gerry McGovern to help shape and prioritize the architecture, content and search implementation. Jesper concluded with presenting his own eight-point plan to improve search. In the case of both Kristian and Jesper the majority of their users are in the health care sector, which operates in public (kidney) and clinical (renal) languages.
The closing presentation in the search track was given by Cecilie Rask and Per Bilk Olsen, responsible for the intranet of the Danish Police Force. This is probably the intranet with the most search-centric strategy that I have come across, taking advantage of the combined expertise of a police officer with IT skills (Per) and an intranet manager with a library background (Cecilie) supported by a project board of senior police officers. The intranet won the IntraTeam Intranet of the Year in 2018 and was a Silver award-winner in the 2018 Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards. The level of interest in this intranet could be gauged by the number of questions, which was just as well as inadvertently I had given the ‘5 minutes to go’ signal to Cecilie 15 minutes too early. My excuse was that it had been a very searching day!