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Why did Google make it so hard for companies?

“Just google it” is something we hear nearly everyday. It doesn’t matter what the question is the answer always seems appropriate. We have come to expect that regardless how tricky the question is, that Google will be able to understand and find us the correct answer. As an individual, it’s great. As a business it’s created a huge challenge that can seem insurmountable.

Just as we are certain that Google will be able to find us the right answer, we can be almost as certain that we won’t be able to find an answer within our own organisations. But why, why does it have to be so hard?

Google is a web search engine, which means Google only searches web content. Searching inside an organisation has lots of challenges. For a start the content is stored in lots of different formats, not just HTML, it can be in databases, active directory, file shares, unstructured sources like documents and chat systems the variety is huge. On top of the variety there are the access considerations. The web is public, it’s an open book. An organisation is the complete opposite. Each of these systems has a specific way to access it and often their own authentication credentials and security controls, each user may only see a subset of the content. It’s pretty easy to start to see where the difficulties start to creep in.

It only takes three simple things to create a “Google it” experience. Just three!

Understanding your business

You need to understand your own business objectives and what you are trying to achieve. What are the users trying to do, where is the information they need located, where are the complexities and nuances. What environment are they working in? What information can help them make better business decisions? You need a consultant, analyst, prophet, someone who gets these things. Who can speak to your non-technical staff and translate that to technical lingo for the developers to implement.

A leading search tool

There are lots of search tools out there of varying capabilities. What you need is to find one that has the capability to search the systems that you have in your organisations, preferably without the need to custom develop connectors to common sources like Google Drive, exchange etc that are common inside larger organisations. You also want to make sure they are leveraging machine learning to enhance their ability to determine the most relevant results. Check out independant analysis like Forester Cognitive Search and Gartner’s Insights Engines as a starting point.

An awesome developer

An awesome developer is going to be able to take the context from the consultant and the tool you selected and make magic. They will be the Beethoven to your symphony and the Lewis Hamilton to your race car. They will give you that Google experience inside your organisation that your employees and ultimately your customers demand..

So what does it look like when you can “just google it” inside your organisation?

It looks like an customer service agent who can find the answer to the customers question without even typing in a search query.

It looks like a customer using the customer portal to find an answer to their question without even calling customer service.

So getting search to work inside your organisation isn’t too hard, but it quite achievable. If you’re sick of hearing excuses about why it can’t be done then maybe it’s time to find someone who knows how can be done.

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