I come to Coveo after 30 years in the consulting world, having worked as an engineer in the design of a wide variety of major projects. During this time, I also managed many information technology projects, worked as a manager in one of the company’s business units, and spent five years managing IT. This broad background has given me a unique perspective on how technology needs to operate in order to add measureable business value.
In the industry I come from, success depends on a firm’s ability to fully leverage its own information, knowledge and expertise. We have always understood this, and so with the introduction of computers in the last twenty-five years, we completed many information systems projects that attempted to solve this challenge. Most of these systems organized our information and knowledge in databases and document repositories. However, despite these attempts at organization, the most valuable information continued to migrate into less structured and more transient sources like email. And despite repeated attempts to consolidate the number of information sources, the number keeps growing, and information continues to be dispersed. Since most of these systems failed to fully achieve their goals, every few years we have embraced with renewed hope the next new database or document management software.
Several years ago, I found that enterprise search 2.0 could solve the problems we were repeatedly trying to solve with databases and document repositories – but unlike those past projects, enterprise search was rapidly and widely adopted. My former company achieved 100% adoption, payback in months, and significant financial benefits that continue to grow.
So why did Enterprise Search 2.0 succeed when so many others had failed? Partly because it addressed two of the key impediments that have limited the success of many past information systems projects: namely that this solution provides all of the information people want, without our staff having to do added work, or to change how they work! Think about it – have you succeeded in getting all of your staff to feed databases, put information into standard document repositories, or to change how they manage their electronic information?
Through a series of blog posts over the next few months, I will explore why information technology projects have a history of low adoption and underperformance, and how we might use this understanding to ensure success in our future projects. I look forward to reading your posts and know that by sharing our experiences, we can find ways to make all of our future technology deployments widely adopted and of great value to our businesses. I welcome your thoughts, experiences, and comments.