For some years I have been using the Intranet Review Toolkit developed in 2007 by James Robertson, Step Two Designs which takes a heuristic approach to benchmarking. The numeric values for each element are useful but clients gain even greater value from the process of undertaking the benchmarking process as it almost always helps identify gaps in strategic and operational management that can quickly and easily be addressed.
Three years ago I started work on SearchCheck with the objective of developing a similar benchmarking methodology for search management. In 2011 I tested initial versions with a number of experienced search managers and with participants in search workshops in the USA and Europe. The feedback was positive but also highlighted a number of sections that needed to be enhanced. The main objective of developing SearchCheck was to give organisations a means of getting the best out of their current investment in search technology.
When I embarked on writing Enterprise Search in January 2012 I put SearchCheck into a pending tray. I thought about incorporating some or all of the methodology into the book but it would have unbalanced the structure. However the process of writing the book was very useful in identifying further changes that needed to be made to SearchCheck.
With the book now completed I have spent the last couple of months revising SearchCheck, which now includes references to topics such as mobile search and Big Data that were only just on the horizon when I started work on the toolkit in 2010. In addition there is now a version specifically for web site search that takes into account the outcomes of a large-scale web search project I have been undertaking for several months. There are also page references to Enterprise Search that provide additional guidance on topics covered in the toolkit.
SearchCheck will be released in May at the Enterprise Search Europe and the Enterprise Search Summit conferences but I will be giving copies to attendees of my Enterprise Search Master Class in London on 21 March.