Summary: Google Search Appliance end of life is approaching, meaning businesses need to seek out a new search solution. We discuss 3 with pros and cons..
Over the last year or so, Google has switched direction with some of their commercial search options, bringing both GSS (Google Site Search) and GSA (Google Search Appliance) to end of life. This forces businesses to seek out a new search solution, particularly for their intranet where about two-thirds of deployments occurred based on user surveys. Are you one of them?
A similar proportion of clients have come to us either had no previous intranet, or an in-house solution. Quick fixes are implemented to improve findability of documents, information, and resources from an array of (often static) sources. They are meant to enhance what was in place with minimal change. If you have been using Google Search Appliance, you must be thinking about how to address this liability. Lets’ discuss where the winds are blowing and what to consider.
In a nutshell, their focus is on revenue generating channels, such as the cloud, the G-suite, and advertising. Their game is to make information universally accessible and monetize the intelligence in the data they manage. Your intranet and corporate documents/communication in private settings are not the best areas to capitalize on this. At the same time, most companies would rather pay to not see ads in this setting, and demand increasing customization. On the office productivity war, they’re taking on Microsoft but are relatively small in market share. They’re placing bets here, which unfortunately means trade-offs that leave people behind.
Naturally, the first category considered are the tech giant cloud search services such as Google Cloud Search or SharePoint Search. These will be contingent on your end users already having adequate licensing in either product suite. If you’re not already a customer, this will be a costly transition.
Pro: Greater consolidation on a single office productivity platform.
Con: Challenging user experience that requires skilled technical knowledge, and poor customer support.
The second group of products is dedicated enterprise search products, such as ElasticSearch, SwiftType or Solr. These are super powerful engines, and support high customization meaning you can create bespoke solutions. That will require additional resources with the expertise and IT capacity to implement and maintain.
Pro: High level of customization, integration, and scalability
Con: Complex, fast-changing, and requires advanced technical expertise.
Lastly, there are turnkey intranet products with tailored search included, such as Intranet Connections. The draw here if you currently have a home-grown intranet, or none at all, is that you easily could jump into a larger scale solution set, and benefit from search designed specifically with an intranet in mind. This means relevancy, security, content selection, result categorization, faceting, content previewing and analytics with zero coding, often built on enterprise products like ElasticSearch.
Pro: Seamless user experience, unlimited product support, .
Con: Larger solution implementation requiring content migration.
Could a Turnkey Intranet be Right?
Below are some questions help answer this.
Findability is a key focus of a successful intranet, and search is a ubiquitous feature that needs to work well in the context of your workplace.
If this finds you at a crossroads, hopefully, this will support you in moving forward. I’m happy to chat more or hear how you’ve tackled this problem, feel free to contact us or leave us a comment below.