There is a new report on 2011 enterprise search trends from Forrester, Enterprise Search: Six Key Trends to Watch by Leslie Owens with Stephen Powers and Anjali Yakkundi. The report indicates that despite the fact that only 10% of IT leaders will upgrade or expand their information access implementations this year, search experts are optimistic about their ability to deliver search solutions that are both usable and useful.

What is the source of optimism?  Search technology is now well established, and the standards set by Consumer Web search  simplifies design decision and training. As Leslie and her colleagues write, “First-generation enterprise search was not easy to use and produced unsatisfactory results from a usability and relevance standpoint. Today’s knowledge workers demand role-specific, contextual search everywhere they work.”

As the industry standards for search evolve, the report predicts that vendors will change their products to adapt to new customer investment trends with changes in semantics capabilities and increased usage of search-based applications (SBA). Cloud and mobile are certain to have an impact on search programs as well, but plans for standalone enterprise search services in the cloud lag far behind cloud-based email or collaboration.

Here are the six trends:

Search managers will initiate business conversations, not gather requirements. This is a position that all parts of IT should take.

IT will apply search to reveal aggregate workplace patterns. It will be become increasingly recognized that the knowledge and insight revealed on social platforms and enterprise 2.0 via technologies like idea management and micro-blogging tools is strategically important. So access to this great content will be necessary.

Business leaders will dictate the scope of search. Business should have a role in all IT issues as search becomes a more pervasive part f enterprise technology.

Quality content will be the focus, not additional metadata. You want to search technology to narrow results as content explodes.

Knowledge workers will demand transparency and democratization of the search experience. This is part of the general enterprise 2.0 movement.

The enterprise search UI will no longer resemble the consumer Web. Enterprise search will be embedded in business processes rather than in a standalone white box. This is an excellent move. Embedding other functionality such as activity streams in work processes will also help productivity.

There is more on each trend and you can find the report on their web site.


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