My Take on ESS NY 2011

What a search summit!  Always interesting to meet people with whom you can exchange tips, tricks, and techniques.  A lot of familiar faces, a lot of familiar products, but also a few new comers trying to shake up the industry.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really see any new ground breaking technologies or complete game changers. I did however see a lot of small possible improvements to the solutions we deploy every day.

For me the summit is first and foremost a place to listen to experienced speakers and industry analysts talking about trends, and what to watch for in the coming years.  This year, mobile seemed to be the theme.  People monitoring their web logs will see that more and more people are on the go and are accessing a lot of content from their mobile devices.  This isn’t really news to most, but search interfaces will have to catch up and adapt – we’ll have to continue to figure out better ways to satisfy people using mobile devices. Current single line search box interfaces, with 10 results, just won’t cut it on these platforms.  New and creative means of drilling down through information will have to be considered and created.

Another re-occurring theme was search base applications.  This is to me the next “big” thing (whether it’s for mobile applications or the still familiar web based or desktop applications).  Vendors have been selling search platforms for years, but it seems as though we still haven’t been able to use those platforms to their full extent, to help provide innovative and engaging information access experiences (not only a good search experience).

The most interesting talk at the summit for me was definitively the one from Booz & Co. I really liked hearing about their experiences with selecting and implementing different search engines within their company, and how hard it had been to provide a “Google” like experience to their enterprise users (even while using the Google Search Appliance).  I really gleaned a lot of useful information from this talk, that I plan on using in our day-to-day discussions with clients explaining that the tool is not the end but rather the means, to delivering great search results.

While I’m on the topic of the summit, I would like to thank the entire team behind this event. You guys made it possible (again) for us to all get together and participate in discussions and learning, that ultimately helps all of us do our job better.

Until next time.

David serves as Vice-President of Professional Services at Norconex, where he currently leads our team of highly qualified enterprise search specialists. Mr. Gaulin manages projects across North America for clients ranging from law firms to government agencies, helping them select, architect and implement enterprise search solutions tailored to their needs.