Enterprises are Failing Their Knowledge Workers, Says new AIIM Report on Enterprise Search

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Organizations acknowledge the importance of search to knowledge worker productivity, yet only 11% have enterprise search capability.

By not providing better search facilities, enterprises are letting down their knowledge workers and impacting productivity.

A majority of enterprises are failing their knowledge workers, with only 11 percent having an enterprise search capability, according to new research by information management analysts AIIM.

Respondents widely acknowledged the importance of search, with 71 percent of organizations saying that search is vital to productivity, effectiveness and compliance. Improved search was even stated to be a priority over big data/content analytics for 73 percent of respondents.

Yet the new study, ‘Search and Discovery – exploiting knowledge, minimizing risk’, which looks at the importance of search in modern business, also revealed that more than half of the organizations surveyed show little maturity in their approach to search, with no strategy, no allocated budget, and no identified owner.

“Discovering information online is straightforward and knowledge workers expect equally speedy searches in the workplace,” said Doug Miles, Director of Market Intelligence, AIIM. “And while searching for information in email archives, multiple content systems, documents stored in enterprise systems, internal social media, sound files and image files is much more complex. By not providing better search facilities, enterprises are letting down their knowledge workers and impacting productivity.”

Twenty-five percent of responding organizations have no advanced or dedicated search tools, including 19 percent of the largest, although a similar number have five or more, mostly acquired through their ECM product or provider. Thirty-one percent of organizations in the survey use SharePoint this way, and a further 17 percent extend other ECM systems as search portals.

Beyond SharePoint, intranet and ECM systems, most content is beyond the scope of the search tools. Only 19 percent have advanced search across email, with less than 10 percent extending to other enterprise systems.

Search across emails is one of the biggest requirements, often driven by legal discovery, yet very few organizations have a reliable search and hold capability within email. Manual methods prevail, and 52 percent agree that their discovery procedures are “ad hoc, manual, disruptive and expensive.” Forty-seven percent feel that their policies and mechanisms were putting their organizations at risk.

“Search is of pivotal importance for the knowledge worker but there is also a need for strong search functionality for compliance audits, freedom of information enquiries, and legal discovery mandates, all of which require enterprises to uncover all of the relevant electronically stored information,” continued Miles. “Our research has shown that many organizations are not properly equipped to manage such requests and this could have serious consequences.”

Better decision-making (47 percent) and faster customer service (43 percent) were cited as the main benefits from improved search tools, although the next most popular benefit was fewer complaints from knowledge workers (36 percent).

The survey shows that those who currently do not have any search tools are most likely to acquire them as part of an ECM/DM/RM project (42 percent), but a major litigation case (37 percent) or compliance issue (34 percent) would be the next most likely to trigger an evaluation.

Forty-two percent of respondents say that they have achieved payback from their investment in search tools within 12 months or fewer, with 62 percent achieving payback within 18 months.

“Internal search is fast becoming a must-have for knowledge workers and for meeting compliance requirements,” concluded Miles. “Enterprises have acknowledged this and the rapid payback that existing users are achieving makes for a very strong business case."

The research for ‘Search and Discovery – exploiting knowledge, minimizing risk’ was underwritten by BA Insight, Iron Mountain, OpenText, Search Technologies and Zapproved. The full report is free to download http://info.aiim.org/search-and-discovery

The survey was taken using a web-based tool by 415 individual members of the AIIM community between July 11 and August 2, 2014.

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Libba Letton
AIIM
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