Posts Tagged ‘search technology’

Elasticsearch Evaluation White Paper Released: Promising for Big Data

by Karen Lynn

There are many new technologies emerging around search, and we’ve been investigating several of them for our clients. Search has never been “easy” but Elasticsearch attempts to make it at least easier. Elasticsearch is billed to be “built for the cloud,” and with so many companies moving into the cloud, it seems like a natural that search would move there too.  This paper is designed to show you just how Elasticsearch works by setting up a cluster and feeding it data.  We also let you know what tools we use so you can test out the technology and we include a rough sketch of code as well. Finally, we make conclusions about how Elasticsearch can help with problems like Big Data and other search related uses.

Elasticsearch is an open source technology developed by one developer, Shay Bannon. This paper is simply a first look at elasticsearch and is not associated with an additonal product or variation of elaticsearch. The appeal for big data is due to elasticsearch’s wonderful ability to scale with growing content, which has largely been associated with the “big data problem” we all keep hearing about. It’s very easy to add new nodes and it handles the balancing of your data across the available nodes. It handles the failure of nodes in a graceful way that is important in a cloud environment. And lastly, we simply evaluate and test the technology. We really don’t believe there is a one size fits all technology in the realm of enterprise search, it is really highly dependent upon your systems, how many documents you have, how much unstructured data you have, and how you want your site to function. But that said– in terms of storing big data, it is as capable as any Lucene based product; it can handle a much larger load that the current Solr release as the notion of breaking the index up into smaller chunks is “baked in” to the product.

Here is an except from the paper:

“Products like Elasticsearch that lack a document processing component entirely become more attractive. In fact, most projects that involve a data set large enough to qualify as “big data”³² are building their own document processing stages anyway as part of their ETL cycle.”

If you are interested in downloading this free White Paper, sign up with us here.

If you would like help using Elasticsearch with your search project, contact us.

Mobile Search: Good UX means fewer touches, simple design

by Karen Lynn

Mobile phones are rapidly taking over the scene of web development, significantly impacting commerce, advertising, gaming, entertainment, banking and news. 77% of the world’s population or 5.3 billion people are mobile subscribers. China and India lead the way in overall mobile growth. Virtually every measurable metric concerning mobile phone growth indicates entire economies being influenced by mobile technology. It’s not surprising that search technology is powering mobile growth just as it has it’s larger cousin the desktop.

Mobile search used to be clunky and a pain to use. Until recently, the answer was to miniaturize the website. For a time, people thought mobile search would never be as good as the desktop search. But, as people use their phones for more and more, it has forced designers to consider how to make search, as well as all mobile apps, simple and powerful and built for end users.

The Mobile Only World

Outside the US, countries like India, South Africa and Egypt are  leaders in mobile only--meaning users do not or infrequently use a desktop or laptop to access the Internet–making mobile search their primary mechanism for accessing queried information. Since these are also the countries sporting the most mobile growth, they are driving the need for quality relevant search for the mobile market.

Young and free

Another driving metric in the mobile game are young people. The under 25 crowd use a cell phone as their primary mode of accessing the Internet. Mobile phones, smart phones in particular, are used to do nearly everything. Younger people are more open to conducting transactions online via phone than any other demographic. Shopping, banking, GPS, social media, gaming–mobile access allows mobile subscribers to do everything they need to without restricting the user to an office.

Key differences for UX Impact

Key difference between mobile search and desktop search seem obvious. On a cell phone, the screen is much, much smaller. Users are on the go and may access the Internet between tasks or meetings, instead of being in one area. Access needs to be quick and simple. Mobile search must be designed for a minimum number of touches before users arrive at the end result. If it takes more than 2-3 touches, the user will look elsewhere for answers. Fewer touches mean a simpler design, engineered for the user without a lot of fanfare or complication.

Huge Growth

Google reports that 1 in 7 searches are now done via mobile vs. desktop. Mobile searches have increased fourfold in just the last year. Businesses need a mobile application to ensure they are reaching the inbound web traffic looking for their services and products. Mobile applications need a strong search technology to ensure the consumer can connect with the products or information they are looking for. The companies that build their web solution for the mobile market are the companies who will gain more market share and capture that 14% of customers searching for their products on the mobile web.

For the enterprise, accessing important information inside and outside the firewall is vitally important as more content is built within businesses and accessed digitally. With the mounting demand placed on mobile phones and devices, the performance we’ve come to expect from out desktop needs to be scaled to a smaller screen by simplifying wireframes with sophistication and well thought out design.

Our View
TNR Global’s expertise lies in deep back end knowledge using powerful search technologies to give users fast, relevant search results for enterprise sites and large web portals. Recognizing the need for search to work as powerfully for a mobile application as well as a web application, we have teamed up with talented UX designers specifically in the field of search application design for web and mobile. Whether you are looking for a customized UX front end for your search solution or an out of the box answer for mobile search, TNR can connect you with a total solution to answer your web based and mobile search needs. For a free consultation, contact us.

Search Fuels Business Intelligence for Decision Making

by Karen Lynn

“The jungle is dark, but full of diamonds.” said Arthur Miller. The same can be said about the invaluable data inside your business. It’s there, ready to be mined. But unless you have the right tools, you’ll never get to those diamonds.


Content is expanding at an exponential rate. I don’t know anyone in any business who can keep up with the pace of content growth, without the use of powerful search engines to find and extract relevant information. Business analysts expect content to grow 800% over the next 5 years. Business intelligence requires extraction of the right information, and most enterprises have both structured and unstructured data. Structured data is easy for most search engines to search. The rub is in unstructured content–of which there is abundance. Unstructured content is said to account for 70-80% of data in all organizations. This type of content is often in the form of documents, email messages, health records, HTML pages, books, metadata, audio, video, and various other files. All these files have to be “cleaned up” before feeding them through a search engine in order to get results with any kind of value or relevance.


Mining this data is going to be essential for not just the success, but the survival of many businesses. James Kobielus, an analyst at Forrester Research, reports in an interview with ComputerWorld that businesses will increasingly turn to a self-service BI throughout 2011 and beyond. “Increasingly, enterprises will adopt new Web-based interactive querying and reporting tools that are designed to put more data analytics capabilities into the hands of end users,” he said. A good search engine that can find data quickly and easily can “take the burden off IT and speed up the development of reports to a considerable degree,” Kobielus said. The information mined by a search engine tuned to the specific business needs facilities better decision making for people a every job function within the enterprise. “Because every business is a little different, and so many organizations house so much unstructured content, most search engines can’t cover everything that is needed without some customization” said Michael McIntosh, our VP of Search Technologies at TNR Global. “Data conditioning is vital to unstructured content. Without someone paying attention to filtering out the garbage in unstructured content, you’re not going to get a good search result. The last thing a business needs is it’s search results working against them.”


“The jungle is dark, but full of diamonds.” said Arthur Miller. Can your search technology find the gems buried inside your own business?


For more information on how data mining and a customized search engine can move your business forward, contact us for a free consultation.


Living with Bad Enterprise Search: The Costs of Not Finding What Your Business Needs

by Karen Lynn

Do you remember TV Guide? There was a time when TV Guide sat on nearly every coffee table in every living room in America. If you didn’t have a subscription, you would grab it in the checkout line at the grocery store every week. If you wanted to plan out your evening in front of the tube, you would pick it up, thumb through it, read the synopsis of the show, and make an informed decision about watching Dallas or Falcon Crest that evening.


Then everything changed. Not overnight, but let’s fast forward to today. If you are 20, you don’t know what TV Guide is. Most cable packages have a guide built in so you can plan your viewing, record shows you will miss, or call up ones you want to watch, even from last season. Schedules for networks are posted online. And it’s a good thing, because back when TV Guide sat on our coffee tables, there were three networks. How many are there now? Imagine how thick that TV Guide would be.


The explosion of content is not exclusive to television. Businesses have had an estimated 60% growth in digital content per year, and it shows no signs of stopping. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses haven’t upgraded their cable box, so to speak. They are looking for crucial documents and data on a manual dial. The truth is, companies have been living with bad search for a long time. And they’ve been paying for it.


The IDC estimates that 2.5 hours a day per employee are wasted looking for information they need to perform their job, or recreating that information altogether. Additionally, making sound decisions depends strongly on having valid information to make those decisions. Without access to information, bad business decisions are made, and bad business decisions are deadly to the enterprise. Business intelligence efforts can fall short without the right search platform powering fast relevant results. Worst of all, if your customers cannot find the product or service they need on your system, they will go somewhere else for it.


Content Management Systems are gaining in popularity, but what’s powering the search? How well does it deal with unstructured content? Does it give results with the relevance you need to make the best decision? Can your employees find what to need to execute their tasks? Can customers find your products?


Search technology is critical to the mission of any business. It facilitates cash flow, revenue, Business Intelligence (BI), productivity and employee satisfaction. It has an immediate impact of the bottom line of the business. It is an essential ingredient to the successful enterprise on so many levels, to run a business with inadequate search technology is like using an old copy of TV Guide to try and find and decide what to watch.

If you are assessing your search platform and it’s bottom line impact on your business, contact us.  We can analyze your systems and provide a free consultation on the best enterprise search solution for your company.