Enterprise search – business case, use cases and requirements

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Dear all,

Does anybody have any documents to share, insights or recommendations on business case, use cases, and requirements for enterprise search solutions? Any experiences with specific solutions? We would want it to search our ECM, intranet, network drives and MS Exchange at a minimum.

Thanks for your help in advance!

There are multiple options out there depending on how much you want to spend, what the primary data source platforms are (ex. what is your ECM platform), what you are best equipped in terms of your IT dep’t to implement and sustain (ex. if 80+% of your environment is Microsoft, it might not make a lot of sense to implement something from Oracle or SAP, etc.).

If you can provide some additional details in those respects it would help narrow and improve suggestions/recommendations.

In terms of requirements here is an excerpt from the search section of an RFP I created for a client (the assumed ECM platform in this case is SharePoint):

  • Integrate with all SharePoint Online/Hybrid (2013 and 2016) Search functionality including (but not limited to):

  • Full-Text Searching.

  • Wildcard Searching

  • Searching on multiple criteria.

  • Allow for use of Boolean operators in search criteria.

  • Multiple content repository/content sources search

  • Allow the ability to save search results per authorized user.

  • Solution allows to view digital-stored and physically-stored content in a single search

Classifications can be written:

  • directly into the SharePoint search index

  • into SharePoint managed metadata fields

Native SharePoint search is OK, but to really get value out of it as an enterprise search platform you need to do extensive work with it. And even then it still has some serious limitations. I have some personal favorite solutions if you want to reach out directly.

@Zsuzsanna Tozser Milam – also did a quick search for you in AIIM’s Buyers’ Guide under the News and Resources section which has a library of vendor case studies and white papers. Found these under enterprise search: http://directory.aiim.org/newsandresources/blog-search/enterprise%20search

Hope this helps!


Thank you Jessica. I tried to open the two on top but neither was accessible.

Thanks for letting me know! Looks like the older content has been removed from some of the vendor sites. 2017 and 2018 articles would definitely be better to review under. Sorry about that!


Thank you Lorne. We do not really use SharePoint, but I can translate it to our environment. Do you by any chance also have any well-developed arguments/justifications i.e. a convincing business case? Thanks!

Unfortunately not specific to search. Sorry!

I’ve done some research on some requirements for enterprise search

which you might find helpful. Here are the links to two blogs based on that research:

How Machine Learning is Changing Search
Tech remove preview

How Machine Learning is Changing Search “By building learning systems, we don’t have to write these rules anymore,” said Google’s John Giannandrea, “Increasingly, we’re discovering that if we can learn things rather than writing code, we can scale these things much better.”In the past, Google Search relied mostly on algorithms that followed a strict set of rules set by humans. View this on Tech >

Search engine optimization begins with relevance testing
Tech remove preview
Search engine optimization begins with relevance testing Relevance, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. Two users performing the same query often have different ideas about which documents best match the query. Customers coming to your Web site will leave if they can’t find a product in the color they want.
View this on Tech >

Thanks Mary Ann, These are useful!

It’s been a few years, but at the AIIM Conference 2016 I co-presented with Charley Barth from Cummins a session entitled “Where to begin? Establishing a Global ECM Program at a Fortune 500 company”

“This presentation will explore how Cummins responded to a Records Information Management Internal Audit and how they were able to establish an ECM Program that includes a strategic ECM roadmap, governance plan, audit response, and domain capability model.”

AIIM Conference 2016 – Where to begin? Establishing a Global ECM Program at a Fortune 500 company

While the software solutions have continued to improve since our session in 2016, the approach still provides a solid way to build your business case for ECM.


Are you ready to handle enterprise search? Or is Jack Nicholson looking over your shoulder?

Folks like me have generated lots of fees by implementing enterprise search for clients who just aren’t ready for it.

If your organization isn’t ready for it, then don’t make the attempt.

Focus first on getting your content house in order. Without authoritative, well-governed content available in the source corpus, enterprise search can actually make things worse (by exposing things that are better left obscure).

There are those who will try to sell you magical beans (er, machine learning tools) that promise to separate the wheat from the chaff without you having to lift a finger.

Don’t believe them. ML tools have their place, but they can’t avoid the necessity of ridding your corpus of decades of accumulated detritus.

Get to the desired enterprise end-state from the bottom up. Build to a target enterprise-grade search architecture, using competent tools, but start at the individual group level. Get the content right in the places that are appropriate for the group’s business processes. Then make it searchable across those places. Then use searchability to create ‘virtuous cycles’ that improve those same business processes, producing even better search.

When other groups learn of your target group’s success, they’ll be beating down your door to get some for themselves. When they’re coming to you, you know you’ve got something.

Effective enterprise search is an ’emergent’ phenomenon. It won’t happen from a big-bang project. It happens because lots of small successes come together to result in something special.

Good luck!

(P.S. – There’s nothing wrong with the other commentaries on your question – I just wanted to suggest looking at the forest first.)

OfficeOptimus, LLC

Article in CMS Wire today. Fairly generic but gives a good overall perspective and has some helpful links –

Buying an Enterprise Search Solution? Don’t Forget an Integration Partner

Granite Solutions Groupe

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