By David Rivett
Have you ever spent hours searching for a document that’s urgently needed, be it for a client, a meeting, or a research project you’re working on? You are not alone. According to a study by the International Data Corporation (IDC), it is estimated we spend 20 percent of our day searching for the right information— that’s one day a week. In other words a company hires five people and only four turn up for work. Millions of productive man hours are lost every year through not being able to search and find information effectively.
We live in a world where data volume is growing exponentially every day. Information can be accessed through a number of devices and can be stored in a disparate number of places. Despite all of the advances in computer technology, searching and finding the right information when you need it has become increasingly difficult and frustrating.
The Data Search Challenge
Over the past decade, numerous studies have demonstrated that data search is a major issue and is having a detrimental effect on both individual and corporate performance. As an example, a survey by AIIM in 2014 revealed that of the 400 participants from large organizations in North America and Europe, 72 percent were very concerned about enterprise search within their companies, and 71 percent thought an effective search capability was vital or essential; yet only 18 percent had cross-repository search capabilities. Another survey of more than 2,000 directors and managers in the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany in 2011 by MindMeter, found that over half of them couldn’t find the information they were looking for within an acceptable amount of time.
Today’s CIO faces five key big data challenges, including collection, storage, organization and management, conversion, and unstructured data growth.
All of these challenges continue to impact the ability of an individual and organization to work efficiently and effectively. Not only that, with the increase in data growth, each of the five challenges will magnify any shortcomings in the CIO’s estate and strategy.
Google is the dominant Internet search engine globally, but is it effective enough in the way it delivers information back to the user? For all its merits, the problem with the information search engines deliver is that they do not organize the results in a way that facilitates discovery and analysis. “I have Googled it so what next?” In other words, how do you enable a user to gather data from multiple results, multiple content sources, and dive deeper to get better insights?
What’s the Solution?
The need for a new kind of search and discovery tool that is not only simple to use, fast, and effective, but also powerful and intelligent, is in order. Recent research polling key user groups establish what their primary issues were with data search and discovery and to find out how their search experience could be improved with several insights.
These groups are looking for the ability to go back to a previous point in the search process, a mechanism for easily accessing the justification for closing a given record or group of records, the ability to access people’s information stores across the network, the ability to determine patterns and trends—see the big picture, the capability to do fuzzy searches, the ability to ring-fence data sets, and the ability to search in context.
Next-Generation Search and Discovery
Any individual or business user struggling with navigating and searching their electronic documents and data could benefit from a next-generation search and discovery tool. The demand and market for this is vast.
If you take the approach that there is no such thing as unstructured data—that all data has an inherent structure—an effective search and discovery tool must be capable of searching across the enterprise’s entire data estate, enabling a user to find information contained in emails, attachments, data repositories, file servers, intranets, and internet search results—thereby complementing the major search engines by providing the deep dive and discovery.
It must also provide a unique experience searching the inherent textual structure of documents and data content to enable fast, precise, and accurate results. Clear and always relevant results need to be returned within their fully viewable and navigable context. With this kind of tool, everything is now findable. Unstructured text from your documents and files can be de-constructed into constituent parts, while connections and relationships from the data can be captured, whether it be it the inherent structure of written text, existing metadata, or database structure.
As a result, revealing the Digital DNA of the target data allowing you to perform a wealth of possible analytical and discovery operations. This includes user-selectable search precision to match words within sentences, paragraphs, sections, or whole documents.
Advanced natural language processing techniques allow users to analyze and discover connections and patterns between the enhanced content. The data may have originated from multiple sources, in multiple formats from different devices, but it can now be put into a meaningful context, which is available due to the preservation of the structure of the so called unstructured data. SW
David Rivett is a founding director of Nalanda Technology and has spent over 30 years in the IT industry involved in delivering many high profile IT solutions in both private and public sectors. For further information about Nalanda Technology and Nalytics please visit nalandatechnology.com.
Software Magazine, Jun2016