Finding needles in haystacks – Can you do it?


I deal with a fairly large number of organizations (suppliers, clients, correspondents).                     Haystack

I like to track e-mail exchanges but some of the time there is overlap between threads so no point trying to define and organize messages under Outlook folders.

Microsoft Outlook, in my opinion, has terrible facilities for organizing e-mail messages. If you are using folders and inadvertently drag and drop a message to the wrong folder, it can be frustrating to find it. The message search facilities in Outlook are not particularly good either.

I just noticed I have 17,405,808 messages sitting in 30 .pst files across 4 hard drives that host some 10 Tb of data storage.

Today, a colleague wanted to find a contact at TEAC, so I typed in the model of a TEAC field audio recorder that I use and immediately got 5 hits, two of which gave me the name of my contact. The last time I spoke to my contact was 12/31/2012.

My search environment is a little Outlook add-in software called Lookeen. I have no clue how I found it.

I went to the web site just now (http://www.lookeen.net/) and was astonished to find that it costs less than $100. I hope they are selling truckloads of this product.

There is a point to this little story.

I find that CEOs today are more receptive to “connect-the-dots” activities.

My theory is they have come to realize that staring at a fixed set of KPIs (Key Process Indicators) carries with it the risk that, because of the fast pace of business, they may be looking at the wrong KPIs. The ability to initiate investigations on their own becomes important.

The traditional approach to “connect-the-dots”, of course, has been to invent questions to put to assistants who then go away and come back with answers, leading to a new round of questions.

If you want/need to “connect-the-dots”, you will quickly find that a free-form search capability in a Knowledgebase is the way to go.

Before visual search/results display capabilities, reading through long listings of relational database (rdbms) search results was non-productive and suffered from the great deficiency that non-visual searches only tell you what the search algorithm was able to find, not what it was not able to find.

Visual searches let you see across 10,000 or more documents (all on one computer screen) what the search algorithm found and what it did not find.

Consider McDonalds, looking to add a new fast food outlet – they may be looking to add a new outlet at a location where Wendy’s has an outlet, but it could be they want to add a new outlet at a location where Wendy’s does NOT have an outlet.

The huge difference is you need to engage two searches in an rdbms to get the required information whereas in a Kbase environment you get to see the required information with one search.

The model used in Kbases is pretty straightforward:

Type -> click -> find

Kbases, in my view, are changing corporate landscapes.

In a cake-bake, the CEO with a Kbase will be the fastest, best-informed CEO in the north, south, east and west.

If you want more information on the role Kbases can play to increase your competitive advantage, take a look at “Where, oh where, have my documents gone?” at

http://wp.me/pzzpB-zb

Needles_in_Haystacks

About kwkeirstead@civerex.com

Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, healthcare, connect-the-dots law enforcement investigations, job shop manufacturing and b2b transactions. (C) 2010-2017 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
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