Buzzwords such as ‘the long tail’, ‘user generated content’ and ‘web 2.0′ has been around for some time now, but does it automatically mean that everyone understands the way that technology is heading? And what happens with search?
If you haven’t seen the rather old, but brilliant video The machine is us/ing us on Youtube you should. If you have, you should take a look at the updated version.
When working with search on a daily basis one tries to get behind the fuzzy words to see how blogs, wikis, RSS, mash-ups and social tagging among other things will affect the way we interact and do business in the future. Linking Wikipedia to these words is only one example of knowledge sharing that wasn’t possible a few years ago.
The tools that the new web 2.0 development provides us with helps us create and gather more information than ever. As the amount of information increases rapidly, according to Gartner an average company doubles (!) its information every 6-18 months, the need for efficient search solutions becomes crucial in order to handle the vast amounts of data.
All search vendors claim that they will be able to provide effective search for these purposes. As a customer you should ask yourself; what is the future need of my business? Do I need a search solution that provides support for basic functionality such as spellchecking and static relevance adjustments? Is there a need for more advanced functionality that increases cross-functional sharing in the organisation such as dynamic navigators and common workspaces? Do I want to use search to increase knowledge sharing powered by web 2.0 tools?
An interesting and short debate presentation can be found here. In conclusion; Different stages of maturity require different approaches to achieve different outcomes.
These questions may seem to be looking too far ahead? I can say for sure that by asking the right questions from the beginning you can save yourself a lot of time and the company a lot of money (and use your solutions for present as well as future needs).
By knowing your users, your organization and its future you can make search solutions that help enable knowledge discovery, sharing, and connection, which in the end is what web 2.0 and enterprise 2.0 is all about.