Does Your Company Manage Search as a Service?

Written by on October 24, 2012 in Search Management Strategies - Comments Off

There is a common misunderstanding among corporations in regards to the life-cycle of enterprise search. Many treat search as a utility that is deployed once and forgotten about. Organizations look at search in the same way a homeowner considers the utility services required for running a house (such as water tap or power outlet); they assume that if they pay the bills, it will work with minimal supervision. The more accurate comparison would be to treat enterprise search as a vineyard – it requires ongoing attention and care so as to thrive at its fullest potential.

In a recent blog post we challenged companies to consider the effectiveness of their search service . Despite the ongoing need for content management upgrade projects, enterprises tend to consider search as an afterthought. The reality is, as website content is updated to address changing user needs the search service must also be adjusted and tuned to deliver accurate results in the new upgraded context.

How to determine if your corporation manages search as a service or treats it as a utility?

Below are five indicators suggesting your organization may be treating search as a utility:

  1. It has been years since the search service was last updated.
  2. No one in  your corporation has been designated responsible for monitoring the quality of the search service.
  3. If there is a technical outage of the search service, there is someone to contact to have it fixed; however, nobody knows who to  call if  search is returning poor quality results.
  4. Product owners, sales and marketing managers do not receive regular  activity reports that indicate whether customers are happy and finding what they need on your website.
  5. Product owners, sales and marketing managers do not have direct access to the search engine to adjust or tune search results, and therefore, cannot ensure the returned results are aligned with current promotions and business priorities.


Conversely, here are five indicators showing your search is managed as a service:

  1. Search results are relevant and always tuned  to accurately match the interest profile of the user interacting with the search service.
  2. There is a senior level manager responsible for monitoring and managing the quality of search service from both the customer and company needs perspectives.
  3. Product owners and marketing managers have direct access to the search management dashboard to easily align returned results to business requirements.
  4.  The performance of the search service is continually tracked via actionable reports that identify areas for improvement.
  5. Operational support for the service is provided by qualified search professionals who find ways to optimize the overall solution design and thereby reducing total cost of ownership.


Simply put, if your organization is managing search as a service, the primary focus and success metric becomes customer satisfaction and quality of service. Organizations treating search as a utility are busy managing the technology side only and are not required to know how it is being used and whether customers are satisfied.

It has been our experience that customers who manage search as a service are able to maximize their returns on their search service investments because of increased customer satisfaction, reduced queues on call centers and reduced total cost of operation.


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