InformationWeek did a big story on enterprise search, and used NI as their lead example! Note all the system info in the article that I fed them. And we’re getting a lot of fun out of Graff’s quote about how it’s easy to sign off on more resources forus, we’re including that in every purchase req now. 🙂
One of the reasons that our FAST enterprise search program has been so successful here is that the programmers and the Web Admins have worked pretty much 50/50 on the platform. Also, FAST is a great product and has great support (we’re waiting with bated breath to see if Microsoft screws it up; we’ve been with FAST since way way before they got bought), and we have some very visionary search business folks who saw its potential early on.
Nowadays, search is more than it was considered traditionally. We have a normal “search box”, of course. But we also run our faceted navigation off search (e.g. our Data Acquisition product line page), pull things like related links and other resources (see resources tab on this page). Search, in many ways, can be used the way people have used databases in the past. With some metadata added, a search index is kinda like a big database, highly denormalized for speed, focusing on text search. In fact, I think there’s a master’s thesis in there somewhere as to when search makes sense vs. when a database makes sense. Databases make sense with lots of numerical information, but on the Web that’s frankly a fringe use case! On the Web it’s all about text, from name/address to links to articles to product info… When we did things like query related links out of a database table, and I mean an oracle database table on a big ass Solaris box, it was painfully slow. Pulling from search, it’s 15 milliseconds.
As a result, our internal search use is even more killer. We pull Intranet pages, documents from Notes repositories, data from our Oracle ERP system, files off file shares, etc. all into one place and let people delve through it. They’ve even implemented “screens” on top of some of the data (mainly because Oracle ERP is painful to use). Our entire sales force is gaga over it.
Anyway, so yay to modern search technology, yay to FAST, and yay us!