Replacing Google Search Appliance – What Every Customer Needs to Know

MC+A welcomes Daniel Cadoch from our partner Coveo for a guest blog post.

By: Daniel Cadoch (@DanCadoch)
Replacing your Google Search Appliance does not need to induce panic. Yes, we’re less than 18 months away from its sunsetting – but there is still time to identify your options, select your replacement and deploy it to your organization. You just need to work quickly and efficiently in your selection process.

To make it easier, after consulting and speaking with companies in similar positions, I have a few recommendations for IT leaders and project managers who are still at the beginning stages of their GSA replacement journey.

  1. The enterprise search market has changed. The evolution of enterprise search is here. Thanks to advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, enterprise search vendors made significant strides in meeting users’ expectations for personalized digital experiences. Instead of returning a basic, keyword matched list of results, machine learning is can automatically learn from your users and then deliver the most relevant content based on their context. Powerful analytics can provide your content team with the insights they need to identify content gaps and knowledge issues among your staff. In fact, Gartner now refers to the field of enterprise search as “insight engines,” and Forrester now uses the term “cognitive search.”
  2. Stop thinking of search as just a search bar. Search is the foundation of your users’ digital experiences, and your users are probably using search more than ever before. Your employees today have their expectations set by their experiences as consumers with relevant and personalized search, and your digital workplace needs to deliver that same caliber of experience through search. Not only that, search can serve as a fundamental piece of your digital workplace, whether it’s a search-driven digital assistant like Siri for the workplace or in-product intelligence to upskill your employees. Search will serve as a strategic driver of your initiatives, but not if your search solution cannot scale with your team or requires a lot of manual tuning. It’s crucial that your team view your GSA replacement with this future in mind.
  3. Accommodate the reality of where your data lives. Data and content are everywhere – and even in places that may surprise you. Perform an audit of your knowledge ecosystem and map out your system. Don’t cut corners on connectors and don’t make assumptions about your connector needs. Your replacement needs to unify and index your full ecosystem of information, wherever it lives.
  4. Start with your user and business requirements first. Take advantage of the opportunity for improvement. You’re going to have to do this project because GSA is going away – why not capitalize on this by looking for more than a replacement? While it may be tempting to tick off the boxes of the features included in GSA, it will be more strategic to find a solution that provides more business value than what you have today, which you can build on to increase the ROI of the budget that you’re going to have to use anyway. For example, if your company has a goal of expanding to new markets but consistently faces issues with onboarding new employees in your call center, your GSA replacement can play a bigger role in automatically upskilling your employees and even lowering the barrier of skills needed for new hires. (This happened to a Fortune 50 medical device company.)
  5. Don’t wait. Proven, AI-powered search, which is enterprise-ready, is here. Google has set its sights on the cloud, but not every enterprise can abandon its on-prem systems. The good news is you don’t have to with today’s insight engine market. You also don’t have to wait for the next announcement to see the technology that is pushing the envelope; Gartner and Forrester have both identified Coveo as a leader in the market. Coveo’s AI-powered search will help you not just replace GSA, but upgrade to a more relevant and personalized digital workplace.

Interested in learning more or have questions about GSA? Share them with me on Twitter (@DanCadoch) or reach out to me via LinkedIn and I’ll be happy to help.

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