Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Enteprise Search - its not just the technology

I had a great chat with Martin White of Intranet Focus today, he rang me from the UK. We worked together on various elements of the intranet and search projects that were under my pervue at the Open University.

He debriefed me on the Enterprise Search Summit 2008 in New York, for which Martin gave the keynote. He later sent me his slides so I could have a read myself. Now Martin's knowledge on search is encylopedic, and we have had many chats on various elements of the subject and it turned out that we had similar opinions about search and ECM, i.e. that sorting out search problems or enteprise content management problems are as much about planning, governance and building teams of people to 'manage' the technology - bottom line, as per usual its all about people and not the shiny new software.

Martin puts emphasis in his presentation slides about building a team to manage your search, when I was presenting on the OU ECM programme I would always be sure to emphasise the size and breadth of the multi-disciplinary team brought together to implement the strategy. Martin has posted a summary of the conference and some of his thoughts here.

Now this also fits with Prescient Digital Media's advice on implementing or improving intranets, that there should be an emphasis on planning, governance and 'managing'. Indeed to push the theme even further Toby recently posted on the Intranetblog on the Pro's and Con's of Sharepoint, qouting Shawn Shell, the author of the new CMS Watch Sharepoint report. Shawn's advise on how to ensure success in deploying Sharepoint also focuses on what might be called 'soft' aspects of information systems project management.

OK, so non of this is 'rocket science' to me, Martin, Toby or Shawn, but if your a newly promoted IT guy (hey, I've been there !) who's been told to implement Sharepoint, or buy a new search engine, the change management, people management and information management (metadata, taxonomies, classification schema's, 'findability' etc) aspects might be a long way from the top of your task list ! When it comes down to it they may not be at the forefront of the CIO's thoughts either.......

Having been involved around the periphery of a big CRM programme, and having watched colleagues do data warehousing and BI etc, non of this is specific to 'unstructured data' - but, time for the blatant plug (!) if your doing ECM, Intranet, CMS or search projects, Prescient can help to ensure you have the right executive backing, the right governance structures and the right team in place to implement your projects.

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