According to more than 500 business users in a study from the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) Market IQ on Findability, 82 percent of respondents agreed that their experience with consumer Web sites has created demand for improved enterprise findability within their own organizations (see Figures 1 through 4). Given the ready access that users are supposed to have in the Google age, how is this possible?

 

 

 

 

 

Finding content digitally is only possible if pointers to content or the content itself are in native digital format, made available for indexing by search, and/or accessible by information organization and access techniques (such as navigational structures, taxonomies, bookmarks, etc.). The lack of such functionality in the enterprise is at the heart of user frustration.

 

Respondents were asked how often they found the information they were looking for on the first try. A mere 10 percent of respondents found the information they were looking for in the first pass most of the time (see Figure 5). For those who need information in an emergency, the right information is required instantly.

 

 

Providing ways to refine/expand search or discovery with relative ease is a primary method to increase success in findability. A majority of respondents are spending 26 to 75 percent of their search time reviewing irrelevant information (see Figure 6). This is a sign of much work to be done. Even in the worse case, though, findability has not failed entirely, as only 2 percent of respondents said their search activities resulted in irrelevant information 76 to 100 percent of the time.

 

 

The reality of findability for different types of information largely corresponds with the relative importance of the data to an organization (see Figure 7).

 

 

But fault does not lie with technology solution providers. Most organizations have failed to take a strategic approach to enterprise search.

 

Who are the drivers for some aspect of findability strategy? Mid- to low-level IT personnel (32 percent) is the primary response, followed closely by no one (26 percent), as shown in Figure 8. Without clear ownership and personnel driving forward the need to improve, findability is likely to remain a low priority in organizations.

 

 

Although slow progress is being made, faulty or nonexistent understanding, strategy, implemented plans and technological issues to address findability in the enterprise continue to cause pain in most organizations.Finding the successful practices from consumer-facing applications and applying them to internal applications is a fundamental key to increasing the success of findability in the enterprise.

 

For further details on the AIIM Market IQ on Findability, visit http://www.aiim.org/. For more on enterprise search, see this month's article by David Besemer.

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