A new Confluence Search – 3 steps to software evaluation

To make the test and evaluation of iFinder Confluence Search a success, we provide you with practical tips how to approach your evaluation the best way.
Robby Holtmann
15 min to read

A new Confluence Search – 3 steps to software evaluation

You are a Confluence administrator and would like to test iFinder Confluence Search? To make the test and evaluation of the software a success, we provide you with practical tips: What should be considered beforehand, what should be taken into account during the test and what business arguments can be presented to the management for the purchase of the search if you are technically convinced?

To evaluate a new search for Confluence, you do not need to design elaborate evaluation strategies. However, it is important to get an overview of the different aspects of search evaluation and to decide which of these should be included in your own evaluation. In addition to our recommendations, you should of course consider the specific processes and requirements of your organization.

How to manage the software evaluation in three steps

Step 1: The needs analysis

First, analyze the need, putting the "why" before the "how". You cannot evaluate a new search for Confluence if you do not know what result you want to achieve with it. To know how good the search is, you first need to identify the main problems you want to fix with the new solution. For example, you should ask yourself:

  • Are employees less productive because they can't find the right information?
  • Is knowledge being lost or do we need to redevelop existing knowledge because we can't cannot find it?
  • Are current users unhappy with the current user experience (UX)?

If you understand the "why", it will be easier for you to determine the "how", and therefore also to evaluate what is important to you in your new search. For example, if you want to provide a better UX to your customers, place a greater emphasis on how your users interact with the search interact and how easy it is for them to use the search.

FAQ: What are the most important points to consider before starting the evaluation process?

Answer: Some important points to consider before evaluating a tool are:

  • Who will lead the evaluation process?
  • What are the budget requirements?
  • What approvals are needed to start the evaluation?
  • What is the timeline for the evaluation?

So, it is about establishing a workflow, getting approvals, and distribute responsibilities.

Step 2: The project "test phase" - the proof of concept

  1. Define your project goals before starting the evaluation. E.g., what must be achieved for the project to be considered successful?
  2. Define the group and number of test users. It is recommended to integrate users from different departments and with different technical backgrounds.
  3. Define a binding test period. The test period should neither be too short nor too long. A period of two weeks has usually proven successful.
  4. Present the project to your testers in a kick-off presentation. Meet your testers and explain to your test group the expectations and what you want to achieve with the evaluation. Show your testers how they can access the new search and what data they can find - if you limit the pages or areas during the evaluation. Send all the information again as an email.
  5. After one week we recommend sending a reminder. If some users have not yet had a chance to test, give them a friendly reminder.
  6. At the end of the test period, send your testers a questionnaire. Their feedback is crucial now. It is also a good idea to briefly present your questions to the testers in a team meeting. This way, ambiguities can be eliminated, and the answers will be more precise. As a project manager, you have also made your own experiences with iFinder Confluence Search and IntraFind. Incorporate these experiences into your project completion report.

FAQ: How can I effectively conduct a survey?

Answer: To conduct a survey, identify the most important issues you need to address and consider these as the key issues. Brainstorm these areas and develop questions to address them. The optimal number of questions is between 10 and 15.

Below, we present an example:

In everyday life I use Confluence...

  • Rather rarely
  • Often
  • Daily

My daily search times in Confluence so far are about...

  • 10 Min
  • 30 Min
  • 1h
  • Field Own period

Confluence's standard search...

  • I do not use it
  • costs me a lot of time
  • can manage with it

iFinder Confluence Search helps me find information better...

  • No
  • Yes
  • Exceeds my expectations

Now I find much more, e.g., also existing knowledge...

  • No
  • Yes

What business advantage do you see compared to standard search? Please name two or more, such as...

  • Respond faster to customer enquiries.
  • I can support my colleagues better
  • I can now do my work much faster/better
  • Comment field

How much time per day does IntraFind Confluence Search save me?

  • 5 Min
  • 15 Min
  • 30 Min
  • Field own time period

What other features or improvements would you like to see:

  • Comment field

My opinion about the IntraFind Confluence search:

  • Comment field

Step 3: Final evaluation

Now prepare your final report for the management. At the core is the question of why an investment in this technology is necessary or makes sense. A wide variety of factors can be decisive here. Consider the following as suggestions. Be aware that your organization and business case may have completely different requirements.

Effects on employees

  • User acceptance of Confluence is greatly increased.
  • The innovative workplace is supported. Employee satisfaction is increased.
  • New employees can be trained much better and faster.
  • The quality of work increases, finding better bases for decisions based on correct knowledge.
  • Thanks to the research option, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Projects / content are not created several times.
  • The work is done much faster and is of better quality.
  • The employees' ability to provide information and act is improved. This has an impact on: The team cooperation, The satisfaction of customers / partners / suppliers / increases due to fast and appropriate information, The reaction times are faster, The project quality improves. Shortening of project and development times, Error rates are significantly lower.

Effects for the company

  • Our relationship with customers / partners / suppliers / ... improves.
  • More customers or greater proximity to suppliers due to quick reaction to certain processes and services.
  • Project and development times are shortened.
  • Employee loyalty increases.
  • Employee efficiency increases.
  • The company is perceived more professionally.
  • Reduction of the risk of e.g. contractual penalties in the event of errors by employees

ROI consideration

With a good search function, companies can save working time. Users quickly find the information they need to do their job and can concentrate more on their actual tasks. An ROI consideration determines the months after which your investment will have paid for itself.

Example data:

  • Assumes that 100 employees use iFinder Search daily.
  • Every day, each employee saves about 5 minutes of working time with the new search (a very conservative calculation).
  • Use the value determined from the proof of concept (PoC) according to your user survey here.
  • 220 working days per year and employee are used for the calculation basis. Following the recommendation of German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a company calculates with costs of approx. 72 Euros per person-hour.

Use the following formula:

  • 5 minutes × 220 working days ÷ 60 minutes × 72 € × 100 persons.
  • Personnel costs saved: per year = 132,000 EUR or per month = 11,000 EUR

Now compare the result with the investment and operating costs (licences, software maintenance, Hardware/infrastructure costs, operating costs).

Here’s an example:

  • Investment and operating costs iFinder per year: € 30,000
  • 30,000 ÷ 11,000 = After 2.72 months your investment has already paid for itself.

Statements on ROI consideration of our customers

There are always outliers at the top: For example, the technology group ZF Friedrichshafen confirmed to us that some "power users" have saved up to 60% (!) of their working time since the introduction of the comprehensive search for product data management.

  • The German engine manufacturer MTU AeroEngines was very serious about ROI calculations at first, but quickly backed off. The calculation was quite simple: They took the TCO (Total cost of Ownership) calculated over 5 years, i.e., licence plus maintenance plus training/workshops and additional programming due to special requests. The amount was then divided by 60 months and allocated to the users. The result: a little over 80cts per user and month. So, if users only save 1 min/week, the investment has already paid off. As a result, any further consideration of profitability was discontinued.
  • The German company Bizerba, a "hidden champ" in the production of scales, carried out internal measurements in the service area. Experienced employees in the service hotline for partners, who already know where to search, demonstrably find what they are looking for up to 11 (!) times faster with the iFinder. Tests with new and inexperienced staff yield even more positive results.
  • The measurements of a customer from the banking sector resulted in the following calculation: Due to the specific business, "only" 11 minutes net are saved on average per week, which flow into the work processes in a productivity-increasing way. After deducting holidays/sick leave, this results in about 8 hours saved per employee per year. Valued at 50 €, that is 400 €/year. The financial institute has 950 employees, resulting in an annual savings volume of more than 380,000 €.

Statements from consulting companies

  • Gartner Group: the "information worker" (computer workstation - e.g., service & support team) spends 9 h per week searching. According to Gartner, 6 hours can be saved by using an intelligent search engine.
  • Nielsen Consulting assumes an annual average saving of $600 / person. This results in a full cost calculation based on only 50 € / working hour, i.e. about 15 minutes per week. A rather conservative value.

Do not hesitate to seek support!

We hope you found the steps for evaluating iFinder Search for Confluence as a template helpful. If any aspect is still unclear to you or you need additional support, send us a quick mail. We are happy to help!

Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters from Unsplash

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