I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Where's my Phone?

  • 'Mom, where's my jacket?'
  • 'Did anyone see my phone?'
  • 'Where is the remote control?'
  • 'Where are the keys?'

These are questions that I tend to hear on a weekly basis around my house, and I am sure I'm not alone.  Even though my wife has painfully worked to organize all of our belongings and educated myself and the kids where the appropriate place is to put things, we still inevitably find ourselves coming up empty when trying to find what we need, when we need it.  If it is any indication of just how bad things can get, I have to admit that I have used the 'Find iPhone' app on more then several occasions.

Let's face it.  Not being able to find what you are looking for is very frustrating.

Search, Search, Search

Since the advent of Google, search is now the new norm to help us find things.  There is a search bar on just about every system that I can think of.  But one quickly realizes that all search is not created equal.  In fact I can think of many search experiences that are just plain awful.  When you are in a crunch searching for things is not fun.  Finding things is.

In the 'just plain awful' category is the search experience that we tend to find in our corporate environments. Especially when it comes to finding things in the mounds of data that we store in files on the department, personal, or shared drives. It leaves one to ask why it is easier to find things on the Internet then trying to find things within our own company. 

What If?

What if it was easy to actual find stuff I was looking for among the 1M+ files that are presented to me?  What if I could find the expert on a particular topic so I can ask them a question? What if I could find the top people in the company who read or contribute on a particular idea?  These are exactly the What If's that we start to think about and solve for at DataGravity.  My colleague, Michael White, calls this Hunting for Treasure.  

Finding What I Need

I will save the architecture design discussion for a different post (or perhaps a couple), but one of the core tenants of DataGravity is maintain a full searchable index of all the data that we store.  This is the foundation for providing an experience that allows you to find what you are looking for quickly.  This is not limited only to content search, but also the people/experts who create, read and contribute to that content as well as how that changes over time.  DataGravity ties together content, people, & time. 

I like use cases and pictures to help articulate value, because I think that is helpful for everyone. Here is a very simple scenario, but all too common:

Jack: Hey did you get a chance to go to VMworld this year?

Jill: No, I didn't but I heard they came out with a bunch of cool stuff.

Jack: There was some pretty cool stuff there for sure, but sure a lot of name changes.

Jill:  Really, what products did they change the name for?

Jack:  Too many for me to remember actually.  I'll send you a link to presentation I wrote last week recapping the event that I put up on the IT share. It outlines all of the product announcements and name changes.

Jill: Thanks.  I appreciate it.

Jack: No problem.

Several days go by and Jack still hasn't shared with Jill the recap that they were talking about because he has taken a few days off, and got busy with other things.  Jill would really like to read the recap and thinks it shouldn't be hard to find since they work in the same department.  After several searches on the IT share, Jill just can't seem to find the presentation.

DataGravity Approach

Let's take a look at how Jill might have been able to use DataGravity's search capability to find what she was looking for.  There is no need to have to remember document names or titles.  In fact, Jill can use what she knows to help find what she is looking for - a file about VMware on the IT share.

She can then use the search facets to narrow down the results to show only files that Jack owns and that were created in the Past Week.

Once the result list comes back - the first result looks promising - she can perform a preview of the file and verify that it is the document she is looking for.  

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In fact she can also check out who else has been reading by looking at the user activity for the file.  That is something that might be beneficial to both her and Jack - giving them both an idea of who read and possibly contributed to the recap.

Stay Tuned

This is just the tip of the iceberg in being able to find answers quickly.  What If I could help you also answer some of these questions?  We will save those for another set of posts.

  • What percentage of my data has not been accessed over the last 12 months?
  • Who just used up 10 terabytes of storage to hold his personal music collection?
  • What was the last piece of data Joe accessed right before he resigned?
  • Perhaps more importantly, what files did Joe access in the last two weeks before his departure?
  • I invited 12 people to the meeting this afternoon and asked them all to read my report beforehand. How many of them actually did so?
  • Are customers’ Social Security and credit card numbers stored in places we shouldn’t have?
  • How is a particular topic trending across my data over time?
  • What file types are most popular/prevalent?
  • Who was the last person to update the annual sales presentation?
  • Which staffers have the most expertise with customers in the financial services market?
  • Who reviewed the quarterly marketing report?