When search engines break bad: Recognizing when it’s time to switch search solutions at KMWorld 2019

A good search platform is the backbone of the organization. However, a common lament is that the search just doesn’t live up to user expectations set by Google and Amazon.

If management has already decided that fixing search means replacing the search platform, it is not uncommon to discover that the replacement technology delivers the same flawed search—because the problem is actually poor data, poor search implementation, or flawed expectations.

Miles Kehoe, founder & president, New Idea Engineering, outlined the symptoms of badly implemented search, how to determine if fixing search is the best solution, and more during his KMWorld 2019 session, “Fix Or Replace: When Good Search Platforms Go Bad.” This session was part of the Enterprise Search and Discovery conference taking place alongside KMWorld. 

Videos of KMWorld 2019 awards presentations,  keynotes, and sessions can be found here.

“Without proper index, search doesn’t work,” Kehoe said.

Most problems with search engines are due to setup or operational issues that include:

  • Incomplete indexing
  • Access/security issues
  • Mystery or missing content
  • Worst case: it’s the wrong platform

Businesses should create reports to investigate whether or not the search platform is the right fit. Organizations should look for query reports, top and abandoned queries, zero hits, and near duplicate queries/results, according to Kehoe.

Then organizations should examine user profiles including name/department, time of day, result count, and docs viewed.

“It takes some time managing search,” Kehoe said.

When replacing a search platform, companies should pull together a team to perform a platform evaluation. Then they can identify 3 to 5 candidate platforms, meet with vendors, and narrow the field to 2 candidates.

Kehoe stressed that organizations need to perform an on-site “bake off” to see how each platform will perform under pressure.

He also recommended bargaining and negotiating whenever possible to get the best search platform and perks for the best price.

KMWorld 2019 is a part of a unique program of five co-located conferences, which also includes Enterprise Search & Discovery, Office 365 Symposium, Taxonomy Boot Camp, and Text Analytics Forum.

Many speakers at KMWorld 2019 are making their presentations available at www.kmworld.com/Conference/2019/Presentations.aspx.


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