This week my final CMSWire column was published, the last of 134 since 2011. I may well have learned more from writing the columns than my readers have gained from scanning through them! Over the last thirty years I have been a columnist for many publications, including being the Medical Electronics columnist for The Times in the early 1980s. I like writing 800 or so words because each column forces me to make sure I really know what I am writing about. It does not take me long to write 800 words but the gestation period may well have been several months. I had a rolling list of six potential topics which were not set in stone but gave me a framework for my research and reading.
A few months ago I realized that I had pretty much covered the entire compass of enterprise search in my columns, with most of them still being relevant. (Don’t think for one moment that enterprise search technology is developing rapidly – at the core of most search applications are some mathematical models that date back over 30 years.) I decided it was time to call a halt and hand over to my good friend and colleague Agnes Molnar, who is the only person I know who really understands Microsoft’s search strategy and what it takes to arrive at a successful implementation.
A couple of the projects that I undertook this year starting me thinking about a potential new direction for Intranet Focus Ltd. The thinking has now resulted in an evolution of my enterprise search consulting strategy into a direction with more focus. I’m not giving any details just yet, mainly because I need to make some changes to my web site and that always takes more time than forecast.
This change in direction has also caused me to think about my social media strategy. A challenge with CMSWire was that the readership was so broad that it was often difficult to write to a specific persona. During 2020 I experimented with LinkedIn as a publishing channel but that was totally ineffective in creating a wider awareness of what I could offer. An element of the focus next year will be to increase the range and depth of my posts on my web site, because there is a better chance of people then looking elsewhere on the site. To support this there will be more links into content that is already on the site but which I have been remiss in not promoting as heavily as (for example) Sam Marshall at ClearBox Consulting.
Around the edges I will be contributing to the reports that are published by The Search Network, including Search Insights 2022 which should be released in late April. I am also the Editor of Informer, the quarterly newsletter of the Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the British Computer Society, which seeks to bring together the academic and practitioner community.
I’m really looking forward to 2022 because I can now see more clearly how I can support CIOs and search managers in their task of getting the best out of enterprise search. My aim is to bring them vision, sanity, reality and clarity.