Tools & Technologies

Achieving "Eureka!" (Martin White, Intranet Focus)

At the start of day two of Intranets 2012, Martin White from Intranet Focus in the UK is talking on the topic of Achieving Eureka. James said "Martin is probably the most experienced intranet consultant in the world."

Key points:
– assertion: people have two main passions – (a) a delight when you find something you are looking for ("yes!"), and (b) a delight when you are able to tell people something you know.
– Martin's mentor was Richard Feynman – Richard loved finding things out, and explaining things to others.
– Three key pillars of intranet success – information, technology, governance. There needs to be balance between the three.
– For today, let's look at the three different words – browse, search, and alerts. Need balance between them – rather than an overemphasis on one (for example, browsing).
– (1) Search
– … information is a corporate asset – do our senior management believe this?
– … BUT – it's incredibly difficult to value information. How do you put a price on it?
– … Martin's assertion – information is only an asset when it enables a task to be completed. The value is in the outcome of the task, not in the information itself.
– … need to be able to make the asset / information work – not that it should just be there ("We have 60 TB of information assets. Yeah right.")
– … in a 2011 HBS survey on information, 64% of businesses basically said "we are not in a good position to use information as an asset." In most companies, no one is in charge of "information."

– … MarkLogic's 2011 survey – respondents expect the volume of unstructured information to increase significantly, and for 57% of respondents, they see this information as very or extremely important. But … 75% of respondents said that their information management approach was inadequate.

– … "big data" – many firms have many TB of stored data. How do you do an information architecture for this?
– … search can provide an answer … but there are 80 search vendors. There's a huge choice, lots of weak links, and many factors to consider. No one understands it … but we need to start paying attention to it.

– … "Some people say 'we have SharePoint and SharePoint search.' But that's not search. That's guess." (The person next to me said, "Amen.")
– … search takes a lot of resources … in perpetuity.
– … rule – you should not have to know where to look in order to find it. Don't give users too many options.
– … look at the search logs – you can see what people are looking for, and then make change decisions if necessary. Did people find what they were looking for?
– … one of Martin's clients – 33,000 employees, have 14,000 Lotus Notes applications, and 45 TB of data. But no search.
– … no search – the implications: duplication of information, slow to respond, wasting time trying to find information, and extending time to market, etc.
– … where does search work? Think about search-based applications:
– … … Amazon – if you are looking for that, other people were looking for these other things.
– … … Houses for sale – drawing a particular shape over a map, and then it will show the houses for sale in there.
– … searching for people and knowhow – how do you find people, when they have multiple different names? It's a big challenge, can has the greatest returns.
– … … see the report, "The Name Matching You Need" by Basis Technology.
– … Martin showed the Google video on mobile search. There's an app for that – Google Mobile Search. Implication – people will expect these capabilities in the enterprise.
– … conclusions:
– … … we have to get search, browse, and alerts in balance.
– … … search connects your intranet into everything in your organization. Change the intranet into a digital workplace.
– (2) Browse
– (3) Alerts
– … search technology can alert you to things that are new – immediately.
– … it's part of the discovery part of the information lifecycle; how people find what they're looking for.
– … imperatives:
– … … think "information," not just intranet or content.
– … … provide a balance between search, browse, and alerts
– … … how could search enable the intranet open enterprise information
– … … use search analytics to improve the user experience.
I think Martin should have played the U2 song at the end, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."

Categories: Tools & Technologies