2018 planning (8 of 9): Content and Search

We are almost done going through Gartner’s planning guides for 2018. The last deep-dive topic valuable for our clients is around collaboration, content, and search. In this guide, Gartner shares key ways IT can:

  • Handle a growing SaaS portfolio
  • Improve enterprise search
  • Manage Office 365 more effectively

Here are some highlights of things they recommend you tackle in the coming year.

Manage SaaS solutions in a hybrid approach

Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are on the rise, and IT cannot realistically staff experts in every solution that the business might want to use. So Gartner suggests a hybrid approach to ownership of SaaS applications. Basically, IT ramps up on the SaaS solution enough to figure out how to deploy and integrate it with other systems, like single sign-on. But then IT can hand over the admin role to the business group who will be using the solution. In this way, IT becomes more of a trusted broker, rather than sole provider.

Invest in an insight engine

Enterprise search has a well-deserved bad reputation. Too often, I find myself having to go on a hunt for some file or deck—only to come up empty-handed. And I am not alone. Gartner says that only 19% of users even bother to try enterprise search these days. And of the brave souls who do search, they find what they are looking for less than half the time.

But it does not have to be this way. If people in your enterprise cannot find the right data, that data might as well not exist. So you need to find ways to leverage your valuable IP and help people make connections. To that end, Gartner suggests we stop thinking about it as a search engine and invest in an insight engine. It is no longer about retrieving a list of files. It is about helping people see patterns in large sets of data.

Take the opportunity this year to evaluate how your internal search is working. Is it meeting user needs? If not, explore new search solutions out there. Get demos of solutions that use cognitive search and machine learning to figure out a user’s intent. Check out insight engines that can organize and find patterns in your data. It’s time to stop settling for sub-par search.

Know where your data lives

SaaS solutions bring a myriad of data architectures that you need to account for. For example, Office 365 might store your core customer data (such as from Exchange) in one data center. But then it stores other data (such as Skype for Business and Yammer) in a completely different data center, maybe even in a different country. This can make it more challenging for you to follow data sovereignty rules for your country or even to meet some requirements of the upcoming GDPR. It can also cause performance issues.

So your job in 2018 is to understand where your data lives and how that might affect compliance and the performance of your systems.

Get help administering Office 365

And one more key action item here that Gartner touched on: They talked quite a bit about how the architecture of Office 365 can be complex to administrate. Even though Microsoft markets Office 365 as a single product, it’s really made up of many different workloads. And there is not a single dashboard from which you can control every workload. So IT admins often have to go on a hunt for the controls they need.

Contact us to learn more.


The 2018 Planning Series