Intranet Focus Ltd has published a number of reports on various aspects of enterprise search, intranet and information management. All can be downloaded free of charge and without the need to register on our site.
Managing Enterprise Information July 2020 [Download ]
Managing Enterprise Information illustrates the wide range of factors that should be taken into consideration in managing information in the enterprise and developing an information management strategy. After an introduction about the value of information and about the need to assess information risk there are sections on governance, information behaviours, working in teams, information discovery, knowledge management and records management.
The 30pp report highlights two important issues. The first is is that every one in an organisation has to take personal responsibility for setting and maintaining the highest possible standard in information quality. The second is the inherent complexity of information flows around an organisation. This makes it difficult to focus in on issues which need attention and can result in workarounds being established which compromise information quality and security.
The good practice I have seen in the course of my work over the last two decades is presented as fifty recommendations, none of which involve any additional investment in technology.
Time spent searching – a chronology of the myth and some recent research June 2020 [Download ]
In 2001 IDC published a briefing paper that used an estimate that the time spent searching by a knowledge worker was 2.5 hours a day. This has often been used as a certain fact by search vendors and consultants in order to justify an investment in replacing an existing search application. Over the course of the next ten years IDC revised its estimate down quite significantly based on further research. In addition from 2012 onwards there is quite a substantial amount of research on the time taken to search and an assessment of whether this is a useful metric. This report is a slightly revised version of a column in LinkedIn/Pulse on 26 May. These are not well indexed by Google and so this report has been prepared to provide a second source of the chronology and recent research.
A History of Enterprise Search 1948 – 2020 May 2020 [Download]
This 17page narrative chronology is a personal view of the development of enterprise search since the requirement was identified in principle in 1948. The first technical step was set out in a Masters thesis submitted to MIT in 1951 by Philip Bagley and entitled ‘Electronic digital machines for high-speed information searching’. Arguably this marked the start of enterprise search development. The pace of development in the 1950s and 1960s was very rapid, and by the 1970s the core features of an enterprise search application had been firmly established. The first software application products targeted specifically at a networked enterprise were released in in the mid-1980s, so enterprise search was one of the first enterprise applications.
Achieving Enterprise Search Satisfaction October 2018 [Download]
Achieving enterprise search satisfaction is a 40 page report written with the support of my colleagues in The Search Network. In effect it is an update to my book Enterprise Search, which was published in 2015. Research published in the last couple of years indicates that the way in which employees search is often quite different to the use of web search applications, in particular the way in which users judge the value of results and indeed the entire results page. Among the topics covered are the enterprise information environment, the complexity of enterprise searching, how long do users spend searching and personalised enterprise search. An eight-element search satisfaction model is presented.
People and expertise search June 2017 [Download]
In most search surveys finding information about people is one of the most frequently used features. This report highlights just some of the challenges in finding names that are in a wide range of language scripts and transliterations. Over the last few years searching for people with specific expertise has emerged as an important business case for search investment. As with name search the technological aspects are challenging but are no where near as difficult to manage as defining what makes an expert an expert, and how best to encourage experts to share their knowledge and experience with other employees. Without the total support of a knowledge management team the benefits of expertise search can be very difficult to turn into an organisational and personal benefit.
Working Together May 2017 [Download]
The level of adoption of collaboration technology is regarded as a metric for collaboration success, and there is now concern about how best to achieve high levels of adoption. However the technology only manages the artifacts of collaboration and not the process of individuals working together in teams. This process takes place in physical and virtual meetings. The report suggests that improvements in how meetings are organised will have a significant impact on collaboration success. The report includes an outline of a collaboration strategy.
A history of intranets May 2017 [Download]
This report sets out the history of the development of the concept of an intranet from the mid-1960s until the present day. The peak of interest in the potential of intranets was probably in the years of the Microsoft/Netscape browser war in the mid-1990s, a time when Microsoft, Amdahl, IBM and Oracle all made a significant public commitment to intranet technology. Since that time intranets have become a core communications and information management application in most organisations but are almost invisible outside of the intranet management community.
Making search work April 2017 [Download]
Organisations are starting to realise that their search applications are failing to meet the needs of employees. This is a result of a very significant growth in the volume of information that has now been created by these employees and the need to access the best available information to make business-critical decisions. This report shows that the critical success factor in achieving high levels of search satisfaction is the scale of the investment in a search support team and not the technology investment.
Intranet Product Selection March 2017 [Download]
On the Intranet Focus website there is a link to a database of intranet products compiled by ClearBox Consulting. This list includes products based either on a Microsoft SharePoint or Office 365 platform or built using open source or proprietary software. This 14 page report is co-authored with Martin Tate, Decision Evaluation Ltd. and sets out good practice in the specification and selection of an intranet product. The report also considers some of the contract terms that should be considered at an early stage of the project as these can have a significant bearing on the choice of intranet product.
Intranet Metrics – Discovery, Satisfaction and Impact July 2015 [Download]
Intranet Metrics provides an overview of the ways in which the performance of an intranet can be assessed. The 25 page report covers technical performance, discovery performance, usersatisfaction and business impact, and describes both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The report includes references to books, reports and research papers. In addition to techniques that can be used directly by an intranet manager it also summarises the methodologies used by five external intranet benchmarking services. Inevitably there is a fine
line between the research required in the process of developing a new intranet (or a substantialre-design of an existing intranet) and the research required to manage an intranet in operation. Many of the techniques described in this report have a value in both situations.