Search v Organization: Battle for Efficiency Infographic

 In All Things Productivity, Blog

The massive amounts of data businesses now have at their disposal has seen effective data retrieval take on increased importance. Companies, awash with content, have started to utilize cloud storage services. While these cloud services have come with many benefits, they have also created yet another location where data gets stored.


Underprepared corporate infrastructures mean today’s knowledge worker must navigate through an intimidating mass of dispersed data to retrieve relevant content. Traditional tagging and naming convention measures were not necessarily designed with Big Data in mind.

Given the situation we find ourselves in, we took some time to develop an infographic that highlights the differences between an organizational approach to document management and a search-based approach.

Search v Organization Infographic

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Search Vs Organization: Battle for Efficiency

Organizing Documents is a waste of Company time and money despite widespread organizational methods such as:

  • folder structures
  • file naming schemes
  • document tagging

Knowledge Professionals spend 5-15% of their time reading information, but up to 50% looking for it. On average it takes 18 minutes to find each document. 7.5% of all documents get lost. 3% of the remainder get misfiled.

A Typical enterprise with 1,000 knowledge workers wastes $2.5 million – $3.5 million per year:

  • searching for nonexistent information
  • failing to find existing information
  • recreating information that can’t be found

28%-45% of US workers are knowledge workers. $113.4 billion wasted annually nationwide. Cloud storage options have improved collaboration and mobility for Enterprise workers, but has also exacerbated the “where did I put that slide” problem.

Each week, employees filing with the traditional file/folder and tagging method spend:

  • Content creators:
    • 3.5 hours per week Filing documents
  • Retrievers:
    • 5 hours per week searching for documents
    • 2.25 hours per week searching and not finding documents
  • Content consumers:
    • 2 hours per week recreating lost documents

Search > Organization

The first search engine “Archie” was released in 1990.
IBM Research on Email usage discovered that people rely on one of two behavior types.

  • Preparatory organizers:
    • Manually create folder structures
    • Spend 10% of email time filing messages
    • Create a new email folder every 5 days
    • Assumption that preparatory actions expedite future retrieval
  • Opportunistic managers
    • Scrolling, sorting or searching through all emails to retrieve desired email

Results from IBM study:

  • Folder access – 58.8 seconds
  • scrolls – 25.8 seconds
  • searches – 17.2 seconds
  • sorts – 14.0 seconds

Most likely to successfully find the email: Opportunistic Managers

Searchers [Opportunistics] remembered content, purpose, or task related information best, correctly recalling over 80% of info that was months old.
Filers [Preparatories] remembered less about their email messages. Filing away too quickly sometimes made it hard to remember properties or even its existence.

Don’t make organization better, make search better

Traditional Search vs Next Generation Search.
Next Generation Search:

  • Visual page based results
  • No tagging
  • Organized file structures not necessary
  • Results delivered from all content repositories
  • No duplicate results


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