The state of enterprise search in Scandinavia in 2019

IntraTeam was established in 2000 with a vision of creating and supporting a community of intranet managers in Denmark. There are 23 communities in Sweden and Denmark that meet quarterly to exchange experience and ideas. Every Spring members of these communities come together at the three-day IntraTeam Event in Copenhagen. From the very beginning IntraTeam has carried out surveys among community members to help them understand the opportunities and challenges of intranet management, including search applications. The benchmarking initiative started in 2005 and over recent years has been extended to become a much wider ‘digital workplace’ benchmark. There are 26 categories against which participants can be benchmarked.

At present over 270 organisations participate in the survey including:

  • 80 Danish companies
  • 51 municipalities (local administrations)
  • 23 Government departments
  • A handful of not-for-profit and educational institutions
  • 90 companies from other countries

Because this is a community exercise, we have confidence in the quality of the information that is given by each organisation. On request we can provide benchmarks for specific industries and sectors. In this summary the focus is on the outcomes of the search questions included in the survey. The percentages in the boxes may not add up to 100% as some very low response values have been excluded for clarity.

 “It is easy for users to find the information they need to do their job”

This question is not specifically about search as there are many ways in which employees can, in principle, find information. Search is likely used when all other channels have been exhausted.

Response %
Very hard 3
Hard 25
Neither easy nor hard 44
Easy 18
Very easy 3
Don’t know 8

The core outcome of this survey question is that almost a third of respondents (28%) find it hard or very hard to find the information they need to do their job. This outcome is similar to surveys that have been carried out by Findwise, AIIM and Net-JMC over the last few years and this indicates that there is a fundamental problem within many organisations.

“It is important to improve the findability of the information that the employees need to do their job”

The good news is that the participants recognise the importance of being able to find information.

Response %
Important 33
Very important 63

The challenge is how to go about providing this improved findability!

 

“Users are satisfied with the internal search functionality”

If, as seems likely, search applications are a final resort in finding the information, they need to be trusted and easy to use.

Response %
Satisfied 22
Neither satisfied or dissatisfied 30
Dissatisfied 30
Very dissatisfied 10
Don’t know 8

Only 22% of organisations are users satisfied with their search application, with almost half (40%) being either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. This is not a good situation. Again this is similar to the outcomes of the Findwise surveys.

 “Investment in search technology will…:”

Response %
Don’t know 12
Decrease 1
Remain unchanged 43
Increase 40
Increase substantially 4

 

Although 44% of organisations are planning to increase their investment in search technology (which is good news for search software vendors), a similar percentage report that there will be no change in the level of investment. However, investment in technology is not a complete answer.

Other questions in the survey show that where search is delivering, there is usually someone with specific responsibility for search support. None of the organisations in the survey currently have two or more people with search performance objectives.

“What value has the digital workplace created re finding relevant people inside the organisation?”

Response %
Very high value 21
High value 32
Some value 30
No value 4
Don’t know 5

This table shows that there is a very strong interest in finding people within the organisation that have specific skills and/or responsibilities, and this could be an important element in the business case for investing in search. However, finding employees with specific skills is not the complete solution. Inside many organisations as there are substantial barriers to ensuring that there is a culture of knowledge sharing.

One of the interesting outcomes of the survey is that search performance is closely related to the commitment of senior managers to the digital workplace.

In conclusion

At present, our survey is mainly rolled out to Scandinavian organisations. Although the benchmarking project is gradually expanding in geographic coverage, the numbers are too small to make direct comparisons. However, the fact that these outcomes are very similar to surveys with less detail but a wider geographic coverage suggests that the differences will probably be small. The survey does show differences between organisations in different sectors and sizes. We provide much more detailed benchmarking of each participant up against their industry and size. This has great value to participants in making a business case for search investment. We do not charge a fee for participation in the benchmarking survey and would welcome the participation of any organisation that would like to assess the scale and performance of their digital workplace.

You can find out more about the survey here: https://intrateam.com/benchmark/

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