For many readers of this blog, I suspect that the roadmap to a federated search solution is not clear. How do you get from “We need federated search” to a deployment that meets your organizations needs and that you can feel proud of? Below I present an outline of a process I believe can help you to organize your thinking, your planning, and your actions towards the goal.

Note that the outline below is just that, an outline. The value to you will come during the next several weeks as I discuss, in individual blog articles, each item in the roadmap.

I invite you to share your experiences with any part of the roadmap; did you run into any interesting twists and turns? Did you drive off the road? Anonymous comments or emails requesting anonymity will be respected. I would definitely like to add real world experiences to the roadmap articles but I don’t have enough first-hand experience to do so without your help.

Here’s the road map. If it’s missing something of value to you, please speak now and I’ll be sure to address it.

  1. State the Business Case
       a. Who wants the solution?
       b. Why?
       c. Who is paying?

  2. Identify Benefits
       a. What are you expecting to save?
       b. What are you expecting to get?

  3. Define Requirements
       a. Brainstorm requirements
       b. Create checklist of things to consider
          i. Solicit organization requirements
          ii. Identify user Requirements
          iii. Determine technical Requirements
       c. Produce a requirements document

  4. Create evaluation criteria
       a. Base criteria on requirements
       b. Gear criteria towards simple vendor responses
       c. Produce criteria evaluation document

  5. Perform initial vendor screening
       a. Circulate the criteria (perhaps as an RFI) to chosen vendors
       b. Ask the hard questions
          i. Is vendor’s target market aligned with your organization?
          ii. Can vendor connect to your unique data sources?
          iii. Does the vendor have the resources to support, maintain, and extend your solution?
          iv. Do the vendor’s references check out?
       c. Assess responses; narrow the list of potential vendors

  6. Perform rigorous evaluation of vendor offerings
       a. Request pilots if appropriate
       b. Rigorously test pilots
       c. Select solution

  7. Deploy Solution
       a. Plan and schedule the deployment
       b. Produce needed documentation/web pages
       c. Deploy
       d. Celebrate

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2008 at 9:48 am and is filed under basics, roadmap. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or TrackBack URI from your own site.

3 Responses so far to "Federated search: roadmap to a solution"

  1. 1 gerard
    May 25th, 2008 at 6:15 am  

    this outline is almost similar with the federated search project I did last year. One big difference though, we had our users participating throughout the entire project, from start to finish.

    Also, your chapter 7 makes it look like a piece of cake, my experience is that this was the hardest part of the entire project.

    Oh, and don’t forget chapter 8. Evaluation!

  2. 2 Jodi Schneider
    May 25th, 2008 at 9:48 am  

    I’d make ‘stakeholders’ explicit in 3bi. What would steps 6 and 7 look like with a focus on iterative design?

  3. 3 Sol
    May 27th, 2008 at 3:03 pm  

    Gerard and Jodi,

    Thank you. I’ve noted your suggestions. and will adjust the outline accordingly.

    Other input?

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