More enterprise users demand search

Singapore's workers are demanding enterprise search tools similar to what they are used to on the Web, says local systems integrator, NCS.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

Singapore's workers are demanding enterprise search tools similar to what they are used to on the Web, according to local systems integrator, NCS.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia in an interview at Google's offices, Lyndy Ng, director of SaaS, infrastructure management and solutions, NCS, said the company has received more interest in search from its enterprise customers.

She said the use of enterprise search through documents on a company's intranet used to be limited to staff with the appropriate technical know-how, but more workers are interested in searching through documents to speed up their work process.

Internally, NCS's project managers use enterprise search to identify appropriate staff to recruit from its 7,000 employees based in the Asia-Pacific region, she said.

Foo Nian Chou, group general manager of NCS's infrastructure management and solutions group, said "traditional" enterprise search products alienated the mass worker base because they were difficult to use.

These products tended to categorize information in a rigid taxonomy of metadata, requiring users to know the "code" in order to search effectively, he explained.

Giving users natural language search would allow them to use search as they would "google" the Web. "The idea is for everyone to use [search]," he said.

Google on Thursday launched version 6.0 of its Google Search Appliance product in Singapore. The product was launched in the United States earlier in June.

Ng said NCS has received seven orders for version 6.0 already, from an even mix of new sign-ons and customers wanting upgrades.

Cyrus Mistry, product manager, enterprise search, at Google said the main plus of the new version is its ability to be stacked modularly, so that a company can upgrade its search architecture when its number of documents grows.

A feature similar to what consumers get on Google's Web search, search query suggestions, is also another new feature, he said. This is hoped to offer closer searches based on previous successful search results.

Bee-Loon Tan, Google Southeast Asia's head of enterprise, said enterprise workers tend to spend about 25 percent of their time searching for information. Better search is thus aimed at increasing productivity, she said.

The impact of user familiarity with search has been in the spotlight of late. Some players have touted the benefits of semantic search, as a step beyond keyword search--which Google has dominated. Yahoo and Microsoft have pushed semantic search's concept of deciphering users' search intentions behind their queries to churn out more accurate hits.

However, an analyst, citing mass user unfamiliarity with semantic search, said conventional search is not likely to go away for the next few years.

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