Since news about Google retiring GSA broke, a number of articles have been written about it, including a series of great articles on CMSWire advising GSA customers on what to do next. (You can read them here, here, and here). There were a few key points they touched on, some of which I had also written about in a recent post:
- You need a search strategy to succeed
- Enterprise search is not about software; it’s about ensuring “your employees have the information they need at their fingertips — without searching 20 separate tools.”
- GSA customers who were attracted by Google’s plug and search capabilities might not have the resources to evaluate their next steps and search requirements
- The clock has started ticking for GSA customers and it is critical to begin the review process now
Whether you plan to enlist the help of an external consultant or look for the next enterprise search solution on your own, I’d recommend you include these criteria in your vendor evaluation:
Team of experts to help you optimize your search strategy, pre- and post-implementation
If you have limited resources in-house to review and refine your search strategy and requirements, a vendor that can hold your hand throughout the process will be immensely valuable. A search solution partner or system integrator that has a team of experts to work with you to review and tune your program – from collecting user requirements, deciding on your strategy, pre-implementation to post-implementation measurement and support – can help you get your program off to a great start.
Leveraging these external resources will help you understand the type of resources you want to have on your team to ensure your program’s continued success and support your organization’s digital transformation.
A technology roadmap that is in line with your plans
To avoid another surprise announcement from your next vendor, make sure your partner’s technology roadmap is in line with your enterprise search plans. At Coveo, we believe that the future of search is in the cloud, and the increasing demands on cloud security and the capabilities of intelligent search will make that happen. But we know that transforming your digital workplace is a complex process, especially for large, global organizations. Companies will continue to leverage information in their on-premise and legacy systems for a long while. When you speak with the search partners on your shortlist, ask about their technology roadmap to be sure your next partner will be able to help you unify your on-premise and cloud data so your users can have all the information they need at their fingertips, regardless of where it resides.
Able to provide a seamless transition
If GSA’s limited crawling options have forced you to compromise on how information is indexed, make sure your new search partner offers broad connectivity options. Similarly, if you used GSA Feeds to index some of your sources, ask your shortlisted partners if they have dedicated connectors to index those feeds, to create a longer term and more robust solution. You’d also want to select a solution that offers a very flexible UI layer in order to seamlessly replace the GSA’s UI.
Evaluating your search needs and getting your stakeholders on board could take a few months, so plan accordingly. Feel free to reach out to me or one of my colleagues to get started.