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Penny Wise, Pound Foolish – Avoiding Failure in Search Technology Deployment

As someone who has spent many years seeing all manners of information technology solutions bought and implemented, I find it painful that most IT failure deployment are not due to the technology, but to the decision making that accompanied the technology. When will we collectively realize that IT is not a silver bullet.

Throwing money at the problem does not a solution make.

The most important resource¬† that organizations have is their people, and the output of these individual is the bits of knowledge and wisdom that accumulate at different places in the organization in the form of emails, documents and databases. To truly leverage this information, it is important that a means be made available to index this information, and make it seamlessly accessible. However, this is easier said than done, and cannot be solved merely with technology. The unique workers who create this knowledge, and power the firm’s strategic advantage will definitely rebel against a solution that radically changes the way they have carried out work. Even if the knowledge is successfully indexed, there are no guarantees that the ability to search through this information repository will be used.

To increase the likelihood of the firm’s information lifeblood being properly utilized, some serious research needs to be done into the firm’s information flows, and the work processes that the knowledge-workers employ to create and access this information. In the absence of this research, simply buying a ‘search appliance’ will be an expensive mistake.

Search is a very strategic investment, and must be treated that way, with all the love and care that is required to make sure that this investment succeeds. It is a far different story from simply purchasing another laptop computer.

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