As Published In
Oracle Magazine
March/April 2007

From the Editor

Do You Feel Lucky?

By Tom Haunert

It's not just lucky people who find the right information when they need it.

A major Web search engine has a button labeled "I'm Feeling Lucky" on their home page, right next to the regular Search button. The "Lucky" button takes the searcher right to the "best" page for that search, rather than presenting a list of pages and other links.

I think that using the Lucky button for a detailed, multiple-word search is a bit like buying an almost-free lottery ticket: The only price you pay is the time it takes to press the button, see the one result, and click the Back button. You know that the odds are against you finding the exact page you're looking for, but the investment of a few seconds is trivial enough that it's sometimes worth taking a chance. And the idea of getting lucky and finding exactly what you're looking for in one click is especially appealing given the time it can take to find the right information on the Web—or in the enterprise.

Searching Is Not Finding

I recently looked at coverage of two surveys about the satisfaction level of people looking for and finding business information. One of these surveys (from Information Mapping) is mentioned in Did You Know, on page 15 in this issue, and the headline for our item covering it is "Employees Unhappy with Their Information." Information Mapping reports that of the employees surveyed, 55 percent say that they are not easily able to find the information they need, and when employees do find the information, 45 percent report that the information is not accurate, complete, or up-to-date.

Another survey, this one by Accenture (and reported by IDG News in the January 4, 2007, edition of Computerworld ), reports that managers spend up to two hours a day looking for information, and that more than half of the data they find has no value to them.

Given these survey results, the appeal of the Lucky button in an enterprise search is clear, but what is really going to improve searching—and finding—in the enterprise?

Controlled Search

"Find It" by Alan Joch, describes how enterprise search technology produces faster searches and better results for the people doing the searching and, therefore, better return on investment for the companies using the technology. Joch describes how Oracle Secure Enterprise Search can provide searches across a variety of datasources including relational databases, word processing documents, e-mails, multimedia files, and instant messaging content. Oracle Secure Enterprise Search also provides security to keep unauthorized users from finding and viewing certain information. Making sure that searches deliver results customized to a user's role can help a company meet compliance regulations regarding access to information and provide better, more-focused search results to all users. Security can leverage identity management solutions such as Oracle Internet Directory and Microsoft Active Directory.

Users can run federated searches over both Oracle Secure Enterprise Search repositories and other datasources that use their own crawling and indexing, and they can even search local desktop content via integration with a popular desktop search product. Oracle Secure Enterprise Search also allows users to broaden or narrow the focus of a search to different corporate data repositories. If you run a search on, for example, you can direct Oracle Secure Enterprise Search to search all of the sites available (seven at this writing), or you can focus your search in any one repository.

Next Steps

READ more about Oracle Secure Enterprise Search
Secure Search Returns Best Results"
Finding Information on Demand"

Making a Difference

Since its rollout on the Oracle external and internal Web sites, Oracle Secure Enterprise Search has saved me time in my searches. Being able to expand and narrow the focus of the search to different Oracle data repositories as needed has produced more successful results much more often for me than pressing the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button in a Web search.

When I read the survey information about the employees who are unhappy with their information and the managers who were finding their information searches useless, I didn't identify with the unhappy employees or managers. My preferred way to find the right information on the Web is to ask experts who know that subject to send me the best links. However, my preferred way to find the right information on Oracle Web sites is to use Oracle Secure Enterprise Search, and I'm happy to do it.

Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief

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