Enterprise Search Europe 2015 review – day 2

Not such an early start for me for Day 2 (I’d been up pretty late running the Meetup the night before) but I did manage to catch the very end of Findwise‘s presentation on their annual Enterprise Search and Findability Survey. This is a unique and valuable benchmark of the state of enterprise search – I urge you to read it, if for no other reason than to be optimistic about the fact that in 2015 nearly 50% of the organisations surveyed have a strategy for search and findability – compared to only 20% in 2012.

Sadly I missed COWI‘s talk on migrating from Autonomy to Sharepoint 2013 (as you might expect I would have asked why move from one closed source solution to another when open source options exist). I did however catch Kurt Kragh Sørenson of Intrateam talking about lessons learned from their Enterprise Search Community of Practice in Denmark and Sweden – one particular phrase that stood out for me was “If your colleagues have given up on your search function it will take a long time to re-establish trust in your search function again”. Next was Anita Wilcox of University College Cork with a talk on their implementation of an open source system, reSearcher, which I hadn’t heard of before. She also talked about a federated search built using exploreIT from Deep Web Technologies and added that one should focus on developing a minimal viable product rather than lots of ‘nice to have’ features. Note that the library is named after George Boole, father of the Boolean logic used in most search engines to construct complex queries!

Next was the presentation of the Tony Kent Strix Award to Professor Peter Ingwersen, which started with an amusing tale of how it may be difficult to take a statue of an owl through airport security. After lunch, I had to step out for a meeting so missed a talk about the Port of Antwerp, but was glad to return to hear from Paul Cleverley of Robert Gordon University who has done some fascinating work on the ‘why’ of enterprise search and how to measure the impact of search. I’ll be using his research to inform my forthcoming presentation at Search Solutions next month.

The day finished with a ‘search clinic’ panel chaired by Valentin Richter of Raytion. I was very glad to hear Steve Woodward of AstraZeneca confirm that he can see a role for real-time analytics driven by search – confirming what I had said in my keynote the day before.

This year’s event was in my mind the best in terms of the content of the presentations – including some inspirational case studies from very large companies on how enterprise search can deliver better ways of working. I was also particularly pleased to see so many mentions of open source search software – back in 2011, at the first Enterprise Search Europe conference, this was still a relatively unknown option. Thanks as ever to the conference chair, Martin White, and Information Today for running the event.

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