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News Release

A third of us spend between five and 25 minutes searching every time

- Only one in five searches is right first time -
Released: 5th November 2013
Publisher: RealWire

The research, conducted in both the UK and the USA, found that on average workers in both markets spent up to 25 minutes looking for a single document in over a third of searches conducted. Furthermore, in 80 per cent of cases it took up to eight attempts to find the right information. Only 20 per cent of 300 respondents reported first time successful searches.

Simon Bain, CEO, Simplexo, stated: “Now, I’m sure we’ve all been there. You search the desktop then open up a word processor app still not finding that document. You then search for the template to use or the toolbar to click on to, or the file open button. All second nature, but what happens when we can’t find the document? It is the same human emotion as if we had lost set of keys. But there is a difference – search apps on the desktop or mobile device do not remember where you last had that file and this is adding to lost productivity within the workplace.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • It takes workers up to eight searches to find the right document and information, according to 80 per cent of respondents
  • When the responses are broken down further, 67.52 per cent of searches take at least three attempts
  • Just over 30 per cent of searches conducted take up to 25 minutes per document
  • 57.56 per cent of the entire sample responded that they could not search for work related information on their smart device, a figure that rises to 62.69 per cent in the UK and falls to 48.18 per cent in the US
  • When asked if this inability reflected a threat to IT security, just over 50 per cent said that it was
  • Despite the restrictions on remote smart device access to the corporate network, 56 per cent of the entire sample spent up to 20 per cent of the work week away from the desktop
  • Of those working remotely, 46 per cent needed access to the corporate network almost continually throughout the day.

Simon continued: “The drive for mobility is creating a revolution in search of that there is no doubt. However, we need to be clear this is a revolution that not only needs to simplify the search process, but do it securely. What appears to be coming out from our research is that despite the mobile revolution, search is still proving a complex and time consuming exercise which can only hit workplace productivity. The responses were similar in the UK and US except those reflecting differing attitudes to BYOD and mobile security between the markets.”

“Search complexity remains because online search engines familiar to the average consumer typically deploy Boolean search techniques, in which the key words or phrases must be present in the underlying commands searched for. In Boolean search, the number of results delivered will therefore correspond to the number of instances a particular phrase occurs in the underlying data – e.g. the World-wide-Web. What is needed is a transformative secure search application that not only speeds up the search process itself, but one that dramatically improves accuracy,” he continued.

Semantic search technology, on the other hand, retrieves answers based not on specific words or phrases, but on the overall relevance to the query. It seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable database, whether on the web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results.

“The benefit for users is clear: accurate information at one’s fingertips as and when needed either at the desktop, or as is increasingly the case, via smart devices while on the move in a secure and safe environment,” concluded Simon.


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