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Key Considerations in Maximizing the Value of Cognitive Search

I am a firm believer in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. If you’ve not read this book, it is worth the time. I mention this because my focus at BA Insight is around Covey’s second habit, which is, “Begin with the end in mind.” Seems simple, right? Well it is, but it’s also quite rare. When approaching any enterprise search project, at any phase, I always try to come back to this idea. What is success? When are we done? What does finished look like? These are all different ways of saying, “Make sure you have goals!”

I’ll share with you what I see as the core goals that should be the outcome of any search system. Regardless of whether you call it Enterprise Search, Insight Engines, Site Search, or Portal Search, these goals still apply.

Goal 1: Searches Should Return Fast Results

♦ Specifically: Search results should be returned in an average of three seconds or less for more than 70% of searches, and they should never be longer than six seconds.

Goal 2: Users Should Find Relevant Information on the First Page

♦ Specifically: Users should see relevant information on the first page of search results at least 70% of the time, determined by whether they interact with an item in the search results.

Goal 3: Users Should Not Have to Click More than Three Times

♦ Specifically: It should take no more than three clicks for users to get to the information they are seeking for at least 90% of searches.

Goal 4: Users Should Not Have to Actually Perform a Search

♦ Specifically: The search system should understand users and their relationships to data and proactively suggest content to them.

Goal 5: 95% of Users Should Succeed in their Searches

♦ Specifically: Less than 5% of users should abandon searches. By abandon, I am referring to users who run a search and end their sessions without clicking on any filters or results.

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