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Enterprise Search Surveys

This article provides a summary of the most important studies of enterprise search effectiveness that have been conducted since 2001.


AIIM Search and Discovery Survey, 2014
More than 400 participants, primarily from large organizations in North America and Europe, completed this American Institute for Information Management survey, which can be downloaded from the AIIM website.

Key findings include:

  • 72% are very concerned about enterprise search security
  • 71% thought search to be "vital" or "essential"
  • Yet only 18% had cross-repository search capabilities
  • And, even in 2014, more than half showed little or no sign of reaching search maturity

Mind the Enterprise Search Gap
A survey of more than 2,000 directors and managers in the USA, United Kingdom, France and Germany, conducted in 2011 by MindMeter, on behalf of categorization software vendor Smartlogic.

Key findings:

  • Over half of users cannot find the information they seek within an acceptable amount of time
  • US respondents have the highest expectations, and also perform better with internal search systems than the others

This report can be freely downloaded via the Smartlogic Web site.

Enterprise Search - Discover the Next Opportunity for Growth

Conducted by the Aberdeen Group in 2009, this was a survey of 188 organizations that had already implemented enterprise search. It compares the top performing 20% of companies in the survey with the others.

Key findings:

  • At top performing companies, 67% of searches listed the most relevant results on the first page, compared to 42% amongst others.
  • 67% of top companies were striving to create a single view of all enterprise content, compared to 27% of the others
  • Executives at the top companies saved six hours a week looking for information. The figure for other companies was only one hour
  • Staff not in executive roles at the top 20% companies saved an even larger amount of time

This study can be purchased from the Aberdeen Group.

Enterprise Search & Retrieval
A 2006 report from London-based Butler Group.

Key findings:

  • Typical information workers spend up to a quarter of their time searching for information
  • 10% of salary costs are wasted searching for information

The Butler Group is now a part of Ovum.

Older Reports

  • A survey of 6,300 knowledge workers in the USA, conducted in 2001 by Outsell Inc, concluded that 10% of knowledge workers spend more than twenty hours per week looking for information
  • In the same year, a major survey by IDC called "Quantifying Enterprise Search" found that searchers are successful in finding the information they seek 50% of the time or less

To our knowledge, neither of these enterprise search surveys are currently available.