Managed Services for Search Applications


Search Technologies provides Managed Search Services. An overview of of the services we provide is detailed below.

The Benefits of Managed Search Services
Managed Search Services provide:
  • Ongoing search excellence supporting business processes and objectives
  • Cost savings when compared to building and maintaining search systems in-house
  • Low risk. Entrust the ongoing health and productivity of your search systems to the experts.
Many search engine implementations fail to deliver to their full potential. This is caused by a lack of applied expertise and proven processes. Even where organizations find the skills to complete the initial implementation successfully, those resources often move on, leaving ongoing system management to general IT staff.

Data sets and user requirements for search are continuously evolving and this causes search productivity to degrade with time.  Eventually, users desert the search system – unless they have absolutely no alternative.  Any search system that is important to the business requires ongoing configuration.
Through Managed Search Services, optimum search system performance can be maintained.

Applicability

Supported Search Engines: Search Technologies is an independent IT services company and maintains expertise in a range of leading search products.

Managed Search Services are currently available for:
  • All versions of Microsoft FAST including ESP, FSIA, FSIS, FS4SP, FIS-E
  • The Google Search Appliance
  • Solr Lucene, the leading open source search platform
  • Rocket NXT for professional publishing applications
  • Other search engines, by request
Server Location
Managed Search Services can be provided regardless of server location. The search application can be:
  • Running behind the customer’s firewall (appropriate access will need to be arranged)
  • Based in a commercial cloud or hosting center
  • Hosted at one of Search Technologies’ specialized search application hosting facilities
Existing Search System or New Build?
Managed Search Services can be used with existing search implementations, or with new applications built by Search Technologies.

Types of Application: Managed Search Services can be used for both internal systems such as Enterprise Search or Intranet Search, and for public-facing search applications.

Custom Search Applications: One size does not fit all. Search Technologies builds and maintains custom search solutions designed to meet customers’ needs head-on.
Managed Search Services adhere to this approach.  Through these services, we take total responsibility for the administration, maintenance and support of search applications that are uniquely designed and configured for the individual customer.

Custom Support Levels: Every customer and engagement is different.  The following sections illustrate a range of service options available within Managed Search Services, from which customer-specific services agreements are built.

24 / 7 services are available.

Managed Search Services Packages

The menu of Managed Search Services provided can be categorized into three functional areas; Application Support, Search Quality Management, and Strategic Search Services.

Search Application Support
: These services focus on system administration, monitoring, maintenance, support and routine upgrade tasks.  Search Application Support typically comprises the following:
  • A Designated Technical Account Manager. A senior-level technician acts as Search Technologies technical lead and is responsible for maintaining an in-depth knowledge of the search application and the customer’s environment and business objectives
  • Administrative Tasks, likely to include:
  • Ensure the continuous operation of the search system
  • Implement scheduled software upgrades, including service packs and patches
  • Monitor system health, including query performance and logfile rotation
  • Provide weekly status briefs and early heads-up for developing issues
  • Provide regular status reports and attend quarterly status calls with the customer’s team
  • Maintain documentation describing the current system configuration, recording
  • Start / stop, suspend / resume the service as necessary
  • Align maintenance and upgrade work with the customer’s corporate plans, schedules and priorities
  • Ensure indexes are backed up and easily restored in case of hardware failure
  • Configure and maintain indexes to ensure optimum performance from the available hardware
  • Test upgrades and system reconfigurations prior to “going live”
  • Provide first line email and telephone support
  • Diagnose and broker bug reports and other problems, including liaison with the software provider (or fixing bugs directly where open source is used)
  • Provide round-the-clock support cover
Search Quality Management
There is a huge difference between a search system “working” – delivering some results in reply to a query – and a search system working to support the business.  Search Quality Management services ensure that the system delivers against user needs and business objectives:

Search Quality Management services include:
  • Search Relevancy Evaluation and Maintenance:  The relevancy of search results against a range of popular and important queries is monitored, and appropriate adjustments made to maintain and improve the relevancy ranking of search results
  • Ingestion Auditing:  The indexing process is periodically audited for index completeness and timeliness.  Adjustments are made to correct index pipeline faults
  • Search Intelligence:  User search behavior (via search log files and other available means) is monitored for trends, challenges and exceptions, and regular reports are provided to the customer
  • Semantic Support:  Maintainance of vocabularies, dictionaries and other semantic resources to support search quality through spell-checking, auto query completion and synonym expansion.  Where appropriate, this is extended to taxonomy management to support document categorization
  • On-site Support:  Search Technologies staff are based at the customer’s premises to provide local system administration, programming support, or other services
Strategic Search Services
Strategic Search Services provide expert consultancy and services to ensure that the customer’s search strategy fully supports long-term business objectives, and that the capabilities of search software are exploited to the maximum practical extent to create business advantage for the customer.

Strategic Search Services can include the following:
  • Data Model Design (DMD):  Data Model Design is a schema for how the customer’s various data sources are parsed, enriched and indexed to provide search functionality that supports business objectives.  DMDs evolve with time, and are important change-control mechanisms around which consistent, transparent processes are built, and through which challenges are efficiently resolved.  DMDs are the foundation on which search systems provide consistent excellence throughout their life
  • Search Application Development Support:  Organizations who prefer to retain full internal control of important search applications use the Search Application Development Support service to cover gaps in their knowledge, and to provide additional bandwidth to meet deadlines or resolve specific challenges.  Search Technologies provides a range of staff, from senior architects to systems programmers, under cost effective subscription agreements, or at competitive daily rates
  • Search Software Strategy:  Search Technologies provides independent, pragmatic advice on search product choice and licensing, including consideration of open source alternatives where appropriate.  Through combining search market expertise with an in-depth understanding of the customer’s requirements and business goals, Search Technologies helps customers to make the right strategic decisions