driving demand for intelligent search paper

This paper explores why Intelligent Search has become such an in-demand technology within the energy sector and what steps you can take to transition to intelligent information management within your organisation.


Energy transition to Net Zero

Moving away from exploration

There has always been a focus on exploration for the typical carbon-centric energy company, which is reflected in the underlying taxonomies and features of energy search solutions.

A taxonomy is a means of classifying information within an organisation using a system that allows definitions, meanings and relationships to be easily stored, updated and applied to information objects.

As the industry transitions, it will require extensions to taxonomies that can describe the information and data of the new operations.

However, even though your organisation may shift its operating model away from fossil fuels and exploration search requirements, you will still need to maintain legacy taxonomies and data structures to manage your current commitments, and later, to support regulatory audits and decommissioning strategies.

But there is unquestionably a shift away from oil and gas exploration within the energy sector, driving the need for a more holistic and capable search solution.

Moving away from exploration
Energy Industry Brain Drain

The energy sector ‘Brain Drain’

There has been a steady decline in search and information management expertise within most energy organisations, which is not likely to change soon.

As search specialists, we’ve operated within the energy sector for three decades, and it’s fair to say today’s information management team structure and knowledge pool is markedly different from earlier years.

With the advent of outsourced IT services, many energy firms lost experienced staff with information expertise.

In addition, search technology had historically dropped down the CIO/CTO agenda, so information management as an internal capability has lagged behind other disciplines.

This lack of expertise means some energy organisations are faced with legacy capabilities that just can’t adapt and deliver what the business needs now and in the future.

Hence the need for more Intelligent Search solutions that can still serve legacy needs but with the flexibility and adaptability to cope with different search behaviour across a more diverse information landscape.

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The promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning

There is considerable chatter within the energy sector about the rise of AI/ML and how it will radically transform modern search capability.

As a result, we’ve indeed witnessed an uptick in conversations with energy organisations looking to apply AI/ML to improve search usability and performance.

A sense of caveat emptor should prevail with any innovation, and AI/ML is no different. We believe that AI/ML can augment a carefully crafted search solution, but a high degree of pragmatism around the capabilities of AI/ML needs to be adopted.

The push for Digital Transformation

It feels like most of the energy organisations we consult for or have chatted with lately are actively planning or implementing some form of Digital Transformation.

Digital Transformation is about embracing rapidly evolving technological innovation to improve your business model.

It’s this shift, sometimes subtle, other times seismic, that creates a knock-on impact with your search and storage architecture. New sources of information (and new search requirements) invariably drive a demand for more Intelligent Search solutions.

Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation
Elephant in the room

What are some of the most common search challenges cited by energy organisations?

Failure to demonstrate the ROI and value of Intelligent Search and taxonomy implementation to internal sponsors

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – improving search isn’t the most attractive innovation to sell internally.

Senior leaders are unlikely to be overcome with heady excitement at an invitation to a briefing on the merits of effective taxonomy design.

Many will openly ask:

“How is this any better than other search solutions, including our current legacy approach? Won’t it cost a fortune but for little return?”

Selling Intelligent Search requires you to align the strategic aspirations of the business to the unique capabilities and outcomes that Intelligent Search presents. This type of alignment requires deep, Intelligent Search expertise of its architecture and technical abilities, in addition to its impact on commercial, operational, and regulatory use cases.

It helps to share relevant use cases from across the energy industry to help you make the case and demonstrate the sea change within the sector.

You also need to understand the urgency and efficiency gains associated with Intelligent Search so that your business case is compelling and relevant.

Struggling to find the correct information

We’re often asked to review an existing search implementation, and it’s clear that many users are struggling to find the information they need.

There can be many reasons for this:

  • Users are unclear which information repositories or systems to search
  • Poorly designed search interface with multiple systems often confuse users
  • Lack of tuning and refinement to the distinct language and terminology within the energy industry
  • Incomplete and inaccurate search results due to a lack of knowledge about the relationships between different information items, terms and concepts
  • Too many results (many with limited relevance to the intended search)
  • Overall lack of trust in the search results returned

The cost of search is too great

We introduced the ‘lack of budget’ issue above, but sometimes the total cost of ownership with a legacy search solution is too great.

Part of the challenge is that most energy organisations operate a siloed IT and search architecture, resulting in disparate systems that are difficult to integrate into a cost-effective Intelligent Search capability.

Struggling to find the correct information
What outcomes do energy organisations seek from a more Intelligent Search capability?

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With the correct architecture, you can extend your information management capabilities to transform your value proposition in many exciting directions.

“We want to reduce the time spent looking for trusted information”

Energy staff want the correct information, but they also want it in a timely fashion. Many roles rely on time-critical access to information, so they can’t spend hours, or even days, trawling endless information sources.

The appeal of Intelligent Search is that it is a system that interprets your search intent more effectively, combined with a high-speed retrieval system to give energy staff the desired outcome – the right information at the right time.

“We want to simplify the integration and administrative ‘bloat’ of our current search architecture to reduce our TCO”

Technology leaders tell us they’re tired and frustrated at paying too much for their existing information management and search solutions.

Many energy organisations have grown through acquisition and have inherited a somewhat ‘bloated’ search infrastructure, with multiple point solutions and plenty of duplicated functionality.

All of this adds up to an inflated cost of ownership coupled with an unnecessary administrative burden.

We want to reduce the time spent looking for trusted information

Next Steps

Interested in exploring the benefits of Intelligent Search within your organisation but need some help on how to get started?

Reach out to arrange an initial discussion where we’ll explore your challenges and explain how our next generation Intelligent Search capabilities can help address your commercial and operational needs.

exploring the benefits of Intelligent Search
Driving demand for intelligent search in the Energy Industry

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