Leadership is the principal quality needed for any infrastructure technology to succeed; it is no different in the Enterprise Search 2.0 arena. Here, the concept of governance moves to the forefront. For decades, lack of governance has been a barrier to good content management as a shift took place from an era of content being controlled in a place (library) to content being controlled in a virtual electronic space. Governing tangible objects is relatively easy. In the past, physical real estate dictated many of the rules for what was retained, how it was efficiently stored and made findable. Systems of classification for physically browsing collections (Dewey or LC number), and searching specific topics (Subject headings in card catalogs) were devised, applied and curated for special enterprise collections by information scientists.
Governing electronic collections has been much more difficult because they are largely invisible, and hard to conceptualize in their dispersion and scope. Furthermore, there is no easy way to track usage across silos. If a reference book becomes ragged or additional copies are requested for individual professional use, there is clear demand. Content managers and research specialists had an easy path to collection management when they received direct inquiries about topics or specific data to satisfy knowledge workers’ requirements. Requests now are highly diffused across expert domains and via any number of communication and media mechanisms. Getting a handle on what is being asked, used and needed is tough; it begs for a good technological solution but also top notch knowledge leaders to apply the technology as an analytic tool, another perfect use for Enterprise Search 2.0.
The need for better governance of, not only electronic content, structured and unstructured, but also the relationship of that content to people, groups, and infrastructure software, has never been clearer. However, in too many enterprises, defining “who is going to govern” has fallen to an assorted collection of professionals with varied backgrounds and skills.
Listen to the webinar I recently participated in with Coveo and several of its customers, if you haven’t already, and you will understand the need for those with vision, like the panelists. These are professionals with an aptitude for applying Enterprise Search 2.0 strategically and with a deep understanding of the enterprises in which they function. Look to them as models for governance leaders who understand how to put knowledge to work with and across a huge range of 2.0 technologies.