You’ve convinced the powers that be that a search solution is a necessary strategy for success and competitive advantage. Congratulations! Nice work. Think your job is done? Not by a long shot.
Ask your staff–what would a good solution look like to them? After you’ve decided to move forward with a search solution, it’s important, no–it’s crucial that you consider strongly the end user. If you have a web portal that you manage, it’s worth polling your typical customer to gather vital data on how they want their experience to be. If you are looking at an enterprise search solution, you need to spend time exploring what your staff wants and needs out of a solution, and ensure your search solution addresses design for them….not a boilerplate solution that only meets some of your needs. Search is an expensive endeavor, if you’re spending the money, you might as well get exactly what you want.
The truth is that if your end user of the solution doesn’t like the solution, they won’t use it. So getting the end user involved in the planning stage of the search project is vital to it’s overall success. If they have input to it’s overall features and design, they will be more invested in using it. Involving users manufactures all kinds of good-will collateral that can help develop better morale and a positive workplace. Doing this early in the process also introduces change more slowly to users–and people rarely react well to lots of radical change. Making them a part of the process and doing it early with lots of prepping for change can affect overall satisfaction rates with the search implementation after it’s complete.
Once the implementation actually goes live, you’ll need to ensure a training plan is in place and executed to ensure ongoing success. A successful search solution isn’t just done once it’s implemented. You need to work to include your whole team in the training process, and allow them to see for themselves how the solution is going to help them in their day to day tasks. If you included your staff in the planning of the design from the beginning, you’ll be much more successful once the solution is deployed, because they were part of the solution all along.