I read “Success Factors for Enterprise Search.” The write up spells out a checklist to make certain that an enterprise search system delivers what the users want—on point answers to their business information needs. The reason a checklist is necessary after more than 50 years of enterprise search adventures is a disconnect between what software can deliver and what the licensee and the users expect. Imagine figuring out how to get across the Grand Canyon only to encounter the Iguazu Falls. . . . The reality is that even the most sophisticated search and content processing systems end up in trouble. Search remains a very difficult problem. Today’s solutions do a few things better than STAIRS III did. But in the end, search software crashes and burns when it has to:
- Work within a budget
- Deal with structured and unstructured data
- Meet user expectations for timeliness, precision, recall, and accuracy
- Does not require specialized training to use
- Delivers zippy response time
- Does not crash or experience downtime due to maintenance
- Outputs usable, actionable reports without having to involve a programmer
- Provides an answer to a question.
Smart software can solve some of these problems for specific types of queries. Enterprise search will benefit incrementally. For now, baloney about enterprise search continues to create churn.
Phi Beta Iota: Search continues to suck in part because the government lacks integrity and refuses to demand integrity of commerce. No one is held accountable for lying to customers. Google indexes less than 4% of the shallow web and nothing at all from the Deep or Dark Web (not the same thing). Mary Meeker points out that we process less than 1% of the Big Data that we have in hand (perhaps coincidentally, NSA says it processes less than 1% of its mass surveillance data). Proper tools for search, processing, analysis, visualization, and sharing, toward the end of augmented human intelligence, simple do not exist as an affordable integrated package — a point Micah Sifry makes in his excellent book, The Big Disconnect. Within the secret world, at least in the USA, this problem has been deepened by the lack of integrity at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), ostensibly the program manager for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), a modern discipline started by Robert Steele 25 years ago. CIA insists that those stupid enough to obey it idiotic mandates limit themselves to “Passive OSINT” or media monitoring and document exploitation. CIA claims that all humans fall under Human Intelligence (HUMINT) mandates, and are therefore the exclusive domain of the CIA’s clandestine service, which cannot recruit secret agents — it relies on foreign liaison hand-outs and legal traveler debriefings for its so-called “secret” intelligence — and which also refuses to deal with overt humans, whom they call “open sores.” The common thread across all this dysfunctionality is the lack of integrity in leaders who know better, but choose not to be honest in pursuing the public interest.