My first post back after too-long a period of time off. I wanted to jump back in and share some concrete thoughts on best bet governance.
I’ve previously written about best bets and how I thought, while not perfect, they were an important part of a search solution. In that post, I also described the process we had adopted for managing best bets, which was a relatively indirect means supported by the search engine we used for the search solution.
Since moving employers, I now have responsibility for a local search solution as well as input on an enterprise search solution where neither of the search engines supports a similar model. Instead, both support the (more typical?) model where you identify particular search terms that you feel need to have a best bet and you then need to identify a specific target (perhaps multiple targets) for those search terms.
This model offers some advantages such as specificity in the results and the ability to actively determine what search terms have a best bet that will show.
This model also offers some disadvantages, the primary one (in my mind) being that they must be managed – you must have a means to identify which terms should have best bets and which targets those terms should show as a best bet. This implies some kind of manual management, which, in resource-constrained environments, can be a challenge. As noted in my previous article, others have provided insight about how they have implemented and how they manage best bets.
Now having responsibility for a search solution requiring manual management of best bets, we’ve faced the same questions of governance and management and I thought I would share the governance model we’ve adopted. I did review many of the previous writings on this to help shape these, so thanks to those who have written before on the topic!
Our governance model is largely based on trying to provide a framework for consistency and usability of our best bets. We need some way to ensure we do not spend inordinate time on managing requests while also ensuring that we can identify new, valuable search terms and targets for best bets.
Without further ado, here is an overview of the governance we are using:
The one interesting experience we’ve had so far with this governance model is that we get a lot of push back from site publishers who want to provide a lengthy laundry list of terms for their site, even when 75% of that list is never used (or at least in a twelve month period we’ll sometimes check). They seem convinced that there is value in setting up best bets for terms even when you can show that there is none. We are currently making changes in the way we manage best bets and also in how we can use these desirable terms to enhance the organic results directly. More on that later.
There you have our current governance model. Not too fancy or complicated and still not ideal, but it’s working for us and we recognize that it’s a work in progress.
Now that I have the “monkey off my back” in terms of getting a new post published, I plan to re-start regular writing. Check back soon for more on search, content management and taxonomy!
It’s now been slightly over a year since my last post. Yikes, time flies!
Where have I been? Well, mostly, I’ve been getting myself comfortable in a new position. Tomorrow marks my first anniversary as an employee of Deloitte. I took on the role of Portal Program Lead for the Global Consulting Knowledge Management (GCKM) group. This position carries a lot of the same responsibilities I had with Novell – I manage a small team of great people taking care of a portal and its associated search solution, its taxonomy and also interacting with and supporting a lot of people within the GCKM group and in the practice at large.
One big difference is that it’s not the “enterprise” portal and search solution I used to manage – instead, it’s the knowledge management portal specifically for Deloitte’s consulting organization. Another big difference is that it’s a portal targeted at an audience that is many times larger than Novell’s employee population. So a relatively small scope but a relatively much larger audience. Definitely a much difference organization then the one I had been used to!
It’s been an interesting year – learning a lot and getting used to a new organization, new technical solutions, new business problems, and more.
This is probably as much rationalization as anything but I’ve been feeling like I wanted to wait until I had been at this new position long enough to begin writing again. As in the past, I will mostly write about my own perceptions and learnings and thinking based on my experiences. Given that I did not feel comfortable writing about what I had learned at Novell after I left, while at the same time, I did not feel like I had enough grounding at Deloitte to write about that experience, I have been in a holding pattern.
With tomorrow being my one year anniversary, I figure it’s time to jump back in. As always, opinions expressed here are mine and do not imply any belief on the part of my employer.
My first post back will be on Best Bet Governance. Look for it shortly!