Girouard Claims 90% Win Rate in Enterprise Search

See this CBR (a UK publication, nee Computer Business Review) article entitled Google Dismisses Noise and FUD in Enterprise Search for some great quotes from Google’s Dave Girouard, head of Google Enterprise and Applications.

“There are three things that IT departments and users want in the enterprise. They want the results fast; they want relevance, in that the results they are looking for are in the first few hits they get back; and they want security so it searches what they are allowed to and nothing else.”

“If we can get those right,” said Girouard, “and we believe we have, then we know that everything else the competition can sling at us is just noise and FUD.”

And the topper:

Girouard said that in competitive tender situations, the customer chooses the Google Search Appliance 90% of the time.

Wow. That’s a big claim. And if it’s true it validates everything I’ve been saying about enterprise search being caught between a rock and a hard place. Reinforcing this, the article ends with the statement that Google has 10,000 customers for the enterprise search appliance.

Aside for Marketers and Spokespeople
As a general rule, I always love reading the UK trade press because I think they are often able to “get the story” more effectively than the US trade press. Why?

  • Because I think UK trade press journalists see themselves more as reporters, in the classic sense of the word
  • The UK trade press therefore use more hard-ball techniques in extracting the story from spokespeople (e.g., buying the question, fake end of interview)
  • US spokespeople inexperienced in dealing with the UK press therefore often make major mistakes because they are unaware of these cultural differences.

For example, since Girouard isn’t double quoted in the story above that means that words “the customer chooses the Google Search Appliance 90% of the time” most likely didn’t actually come out of his mouth. I’d bet you $10 that the actual interview went down something like this:

DRAMATIZATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES

CBR: “Dave, how often do you beat your competitors in customer evaluations?”

DG: “Well, I’d rather talk about us than them. And we think three things matter in enterprise search — ” [Trying to stick to party line.]

CBR: “But — let me dig into this for a second — would you say you beat them most of the time?” [Setting the trap.]

DG: “Well, yes, but I’d like to talk about what –” [Regretting having opened the door, but still trying to hold line.]

CBR: “Well does ‘most’ mean 51% or say 90%” [Tightening the noose.]

DG: “Well, of course it’s hard to put a number on it, but I’d say closer to the latter than the former.” [Thinking he’s saying it without saying it.]

CBR: “OK, so you’d say that in evaluations customers choose the Google Search Appliance 90% of the time.” [Going in for the kill.]

DG: “I suppose so. Yes.” [Buying the question.]

2 responses to “Girouard Claims 90% Win Rate in Enterprise Search

  1. Funny dramatization, probably true.Having looked at the Google appliance, I can say that it’s a black box that doesn’t work so well in the enterprise context. You can’t tweak it like you can other search technology, and it’s very black boxy. Good for maintaining, bad for the users who need better internal search .

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