The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) has bought Google Search to drive an enterprise-wide research project.
The solution will be deployed and implemented by Faritec.
Dr Daniel Mashao, chief technology officer of SITA, says one of the greatest challenges facing organisations today is the rapid escalation of data volumes.
"I would like to be able to say that all this information is useful in solving problems and addressing the future, but the truth is that every company is in dire need of tools to access all this data quickly and easily, and to make sense of it," he says.
"We chose Faritec to do the deployment and implementation because it has invested significantly in Google skills development since being appointed as a Google partner in June 2008. Our goal is to elevate the entire search process from focusing on data to focusing on information. We will be using Google Search as a user interface in a research project which goes beyond the typical enterprise search function."
Enterprise search is defined as indexing enterprise sources of data file systems, intranets, document management, email and databases. The objective of SITA's research project is for Google Search to instruct these sources to take action. In addition, the project will focus on enterprise-set policies which enable compliance to document management requirements. In this area, the goal is to use the Search technology to make those policies redundant.
Google Search was chosen by SITA for its ability to change the nature of data: from unstructured to structured, and from pure data to useful data. For example, with Google Search SITA employees no longer need to archive their emails; they can keep them where they are. Similarly, it is not necessary to store documents by type – they can be stored in a folder and be found by filename or contents.
"It's all about efficiency," Mashao says. "For example, when I want to book leave or find out how many days' leave I have, I don't want to know the name of the application, I just want to do it. Google Search makes this possible."
Google Search adheres to each customer's existing security policies. By supporting governance tools such as ActiveDirectory and Novell's eDirectory, Google Search ensures that users only gain access to information they are allowed to view.
Furthermore, Google's search engine reads more than 220 different file formats. Just as the Google Internet search engine allows users to view Open Office documents or PDF files online with nothing more than a web browser, it does the same in the organisation.
Google also integrates with content management solutions – although after it has indexed and catalogued the enterprise's information, the need for a content management solution often falls away. As a result, the business gains the immediate ability to identify search trends and can compile collections of information accordingly.
Because Google Search is appliance-based, SITA's IT department simply plugs in the appliance and gives it the required access to the organisation's information – the rollout is that simple.
The appliance has built-in redundancy to curtail against data loss and the failure of certain components. From the outset, it is scaled to provide a guaranteed 25 queries per second – and scales up according to the size of the business.