CBC finds enterprise search tool for employee intranet

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is in the process of rolling out a search engine for its intranet portal to allow employees across Canada and in foreign bureaus better access to information.

The CBC’s intranet has been in operation

since 1999, said intranet manager Rhoda Gryfe.

“The site has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. When you’re managing a site that big, no matter how intuitive the navigation, how well designed your pages are, it’s going to be difficult to find all the content without an effective search engine,” she said.

The company required a search tool that could meet the needs of a portal that had grown to tens of thousands of pages, but also be used on its publicly-available corporate Internet site. Another stipulation was that it be able to handle queries in both English and French.

The CBC choose Quebec City-based Coveo Solutions Inc., which also has offices in Palo Alto, Calif.

“We have some pretty unique technologies as far as our ranking of items work,” said Richard Tessier, executive vice-president of products. “They are based on document summaries and concepts extracted from documents using our own proprietary technology. That’s something that sets us apart from other search engines.”

The companies search tools are available in English and French, but also support other languages like Italian, Portuguese and German.

“Once you get past these features, the main differentiators are ease of use, ease of deployment and capabilities to get these systems up and running in a matter of days instead of weeks and months,” said Tessier.

CBC has deployed the search engine using its own IT department. CBC us currently testing the tool on its corporate portal, which is much smaller than the intranet site, but it will be added soon, said Gryfe.

It was becoming clear that a new search engine was necessary, she said, since employees were having difficulty narrowing searches down to the desired results. “If you’re wasting time searching for stuff, that costs an organization,” she said.

“You can never anticipate how people look for information anywhere, in any organization, on any Web site. No matter how good your information architecture is, you have to have a tool that allows people to put in various search terms . . . that allow them to find things that are buried, that are not obvious of them.”

CBC is working to continuously improve its Internet and intranet, said Gryfe, and the search engine upgrade is part of that process. Last year, CBC rolled out identity management software from Novell to simplify account administration for its 10,000-plus employees.

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