Search tools gain importance in the enterprise

A report by The Yankee Group states that 75% of US businesses with more than 100 employees have some sort of enterprise search...

A report by The Yankee Group states that 75% of US businesses with more than 100 employees have some sort of enterprise search technology in place.

The study found that 91% of companies with more than $1bn in annual revenue had enterprise search capability.

In 2001, a similar Yankee Group survey found that 63% of businesses employed search technology. In that year, enterprise search technology suppliers generated $400m in revenues.

"Content is growing exponentially," said Yankee senior analyst Rob Lancaster. "New digital content is being created or repurposed and paper-based content is being scanned, digitised and stored."

Record-keeping regulations in some industries are also providing momentum for enterprise search tools. "The amount of information that organisations have to deal with is getting huge and extremely difficult to manage," Lancaster said.

"There's a lot of impetus for the executive level to increase the amount of attention that their IT group is putting into search, records management and content management technology."

Just over half of the companies surveyed used search with their content management system. Portals ranked second for search capability as 37% of companies had integrated those two components.

"There is a segment of the market that recognises the need to manage information more efficiently, looking at the technology they use externally and going to their vendor and asking, 'How can we apply this technology to our internal system?'"

Lancaster added that while three out of four companies use enterprise search is in one way or another - frequently for customer-facing applications - many still do not recognise its value as an internal resource.

By 2005, some 90% of companies will adopt enterprise search technologies, Lancaster predicted. Many of those companies will also demand some sort of search tool for rich media (audio, video and images). However, he warned, companies should be wary of market consolidation and select suppliers carefully.

"There are some extremely strong technologies on the marketplace. It's difficult to sort through the mass of vendors. The turbulence in the market is something to be aware of."

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