Desktop search in 2015

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The time squeeze challenge

We have all been there, and some feel they are there all the time: too many tasks to do, too little time to do them and the cost too high to achieve the desired quality.

When we finally get to do our tasks, we find we are lacking some information to do them and have to spend time looking for it. Even worse, we have to act within a short timeframe and find we are missing vital data to make good and informative decisions.

Do you take the time to consider all the relevant information available before you decide, or do you go with your "gut feeling"?

Why invest in information access?

Our experience is that you already have most, if not all information at your fingertips. What is often missing is an effective manner to retrieve it.

According to the survey "Bridging the Information Worker Productivity Gap" from International Data Corporation (IDC), information workers spend most of their time performing document-related activities. Let us look at some of the numbers from the survey to see what that means in regards to finding information:

  • 5 hours/week spent searching for documents.
  • 2.3 hours/week spent searching for, but not finding documents.

Not having the right search tool means at least 2.3 hours are wasted every week. According to the IDC survey from 2012, this costs the organization approx. $9 per information worker per week. Let us extrapolate that number for 2015, and make it a nice and easy number to work with: $10 per information worker per week.

$40 a month, roughly $450 a year (removing some days for holidays and vacations) per information worker.

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It is about more than numbers

Many companies have invested in and are using file shares, corporate document storage systems, intranets with content management and perhaps a search engine to embrace these. A common denominator here is central management.

What about the information that exists on personal computers and devices? Local files and folders, various cloud services, all email correspondence and even chat information between colleagues using instant messaging programs?

Easy access to centrally and distributed information sources is important for information workers to both feel and actually be productive.

Let us do a quick comparison between where data is stored and how you can reach it to see why desktop search is important in most organizations:

Reachability of stored data

Data location Desktop search Central search Manual browse
Local files Yes No** Yes
Local emails Yes No** Yes
Electronic chat Yes No** Yes
Corporate File shares Yes* Yes Yes*
Corporate document store Yes* Yes Yes*
Corporate Intranet Yes* Yes Yes*
Cloud services Yes No Yes

* If online and governed by your access rights.

** Can be achieved using local agents, but usually not implemented.

The table shows us that what you can reach manually, is also the same information that a desktop search product typically can access. A centrally managed solution will in many cases have shortcomings when it comes to accessing information on personal devices. Trends like BYOD and use of cloud services will continue to increase, and therefore it will be important to have solutions that can help users and companies benefit from these.

Making the right decisions

To reduce the risk related to "gut feeling" decisions, we must identify and remove factors that prevent insightful decisions. The Harvard business review article, A leader's framework for decision making by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone, describes the different processes leading to making decisions. It points out that three out of four decision-making contexts require knowledge before acting while only one context allows the "gut feeling" decision.

How can you make sure that you have the information you need to make your qualified decisions?

An observation is that effective decision makers make sure that information comes to them, rather than spending time collecting unprocessed information in their organization. Then some other challenge arises: missing information, filtered information or too much information.

What if you had a tool that helps you:

  • Make decisions based on relevant, correct and precise information.
  • Collect, find and get overview of available information.
  • Access information on all devices and corporate systems.

Would it not make sense to investigate if a desktop search product could be such a tool?

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Moving forward

If you want to test out desktop search, there are a few vendors in the desktop search space with products that you can choose from. We have created a small set of questions that you should consider before selecting one product over another:

  • What are your business needs, and how does each vendor solve them?
  • Do you already have a search product in place that you can build on, or do you need an additional desktop search tool?
  • Is the product stable, easy to use, easy to install, easy to maintain?
  • Are search queries and results speedy, relevant and customizable?
  • Is the product modern and ready for tomorrow?
  • Is the price model predictable and attractive?
  • How is the security of your information safeguarded?
  • Does the product offer additional desired functionality?

Some desktop search products you can try out:

Exselo with its Exselo Desktop. Windows. Mac version coming in the next release.

Copernic with its Desktop Search. Windows only.

X1 with its X1 Search. Windows only.

Lookeen Desktop Search. Windows only.

Exselo is creating the next generation Business Productivity tool.

We are executing on a vision to help people and organizations perform work in a different and significantly more effective way using search technology as a key ingredient in our solutions.