2023 KMWorld Media Kit Available Here 

Enriching the search experience at KMWorld 2022

Search is a deceptively tricky domain, and that the expectations of many of your stakeholders are difficult to meet or even to define.

At KMWorld 2022, Agnes Molnar, managing consultant, CEO, Search Explained, discussed practical guidance in search management, assessing the current state of search, and more during her workshop, “Search Managers Boot Camp.”

KMWorld returned in-person to the J.W. Marriott in Washington D.C. on November 7-10, with pre-conference workshops held on November 7.

KMWorld 2022 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.

Molnar provided an orientation and exposure to the key issues, effective processes, and technology—independent of what brand of search engine you use.

“Search is a never-ending process,” Molnar said. “As the organization grows and changes, you’ll always have new people, new content, new legal requirements. You always have to reconfigure search.”

Companies are prompted to do a search and content assessment based on positive and negative feedback from users within the organization. Unfortunately, most comments are negative, she noted.

“One thing about user complaints is it’s very important to understand who is complaining,” Molnar said. “Sometimes it’s a C-level manager complaining. One of my clients started a search project when one of the C-level managers couldn’t find themselves.”

First, organizations need to know what their users need before implementing a strategy to improve search, she explained.

“Most users say they want Google-like search,” Molnar said.

However, Google doesn’t give users the direct item they may be searching for, it gives suggested websites to further that search. Google has thousands of engineers working on the ranking of pages that pop up when searching.

The key is to watch how users work, what content they create, and what they need to get it done.

“We do a combination of interviews and surveys while communicating with the end users,” Molnar said. “Collect as much information as possible about the users and the systems. The more you know about the people, the better search experience you can create.”

The next step is determining user domain expertise. Determining this will enable you to know who needs support with search versus who a power user is. Those power users can help you to collect feedback from those that need more support and how to make search better.

After getting that feedback, enterprises need to define the requirements for building better search. She outlined an example of searching for a bag on Amazon. After looking for a bag, that searching engine then learns about what the user is looking for and will begin to start sending suggestions the next time the user logs on.

Defining the requirements for building a better search includes:

  • Identifying business goals
  • Defining users
  • Discovering the scenarios and use cases for search
  • Finding the application lifecycle
  • Systems to integrate to search
  • Designing the user experience
  • Implementing metrics and milestones
  • Resources and experts needed

It’s important during this process to avoid the search immaturity cycle. This occurs when the organization doesn’t understand the search experience, Molnar explained.

“Your organization can have good search,” Molnar said. “It’s just a little complicated.”

A generic search process includes finding how content is pushed and indexed, then how the content gets queried. Lastly, it includes analytics: what people are searching for and why.

Search is about much more than just the technology, it’s about the users, Molnar said. Making sure the organization is conducive to sharing knowledge is another important key to building a successful search platform.

“We are talking about human beings,” Molnar said. “They are human beings who have goals and emotions. Imagine, when do you do a search? When you need something.”

The number one thing you can do to increase search relevance is to attend to your content, Molnar said. Content organization has been done for hundreds of years in libraries. The more content there is, there needs to be a filter in place that is able to move content out that becomes irrelevant. And search permissions must be considered.

Taxonomies within search help with key word search, classification, tagging to find and discover things, and mapping to organize information resources.

“I believe that search is a process, it’s not a one-time thing,” Molnar said.

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