PLM, Search and Findability

May 21, 2013

Searching for information is a tricky thing. Search may sounds as a simple operation, but in fact, it is translated to a complex computational, information and organizational task. Search isn’t a new problem. Lots of work was done in this domain for the last 20 years. Google clearly changed a consumer perception about internet search. Google "lady Gaga" and in less than a second you will have all relevant internet information about Lady Gaga.

However, searching inside of corporate data is different. What works for "lady Gaga" type of search, doesn’t work for MPR-345000 type of search for product information, part numbers, documents in SharePoints, emails, intranet sites and other enterprise data sources. It is complicated and daunting task. Sometimes, it even goes beyond of what is most important – it is about where to search. During my previous work at Inforbix, I found customers are usually very confused about searching information. They think about search as an easy and complicated thing at the same time and usually blame IT for not bringing a right solution to solve the problem of search.

I’ve been looking on materials coming from Enterprise Search Europe 2013 conference earlier this week. looking on Enterprise Search and Findability Survey 2013 published by FINDWISE and presented by Kristian Norling few weeks ago. The following two slides caught my special attention. It speaks about what are the obstacles to find the right information. Take a look on the following statistics:

According to the research, there are top 5 obstacles – we do wrong tagging, we don’t know where to search, tools are not perfect as well as tagging made by tools. The last one is even more interesting – we don’t know what to look for.

What is my conclusion? Information search is a complicated, but fascinating topic. For the last few years CAD and PLM vendors started to put more emphasis in order to improve their way to search and actually find the information. However, solving the problem of a single tool is still not enough. Even if company has PLM/PDM system in place, the information usually located in disparate sources. As we learn from the research, the problem is going much beyond searching for a specific set of keywords – data sources are not defined and how to search for right data is not clear as well. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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