Enterprise Search

Onix's involvement was essential to the success of the project, providing everything from needs assessment and project implementation to training.

Oakville

PROJECT SCOPE

INDUSTRY
Canadian Government
SERVICES PROVIDED
Enterprise Search Services
EMPLOYEES
2,100

The Town of Oakville in Ontario, Canada, is just 30 minutes from downtown Toronto, and only an hour’s drive from Niagara Falls and the U.S. border. As of the 2016 Canadian Census, Oakville had 193,832 residents. The city offers abundant cultural and recreational opportunities, shopping and dining, as well as many trails and parks, to give its residents a well-rounded living experience. Jewels of the city include two harbors and abundant green space.

Whether they're looking for business permits, nearby hiking trails or the latest minutes from an Oakville council meeting, visitors, residents and business users alike need access to relevant, up-to-date information and forms from the Oakville municipal government. In line with its goal of providing easy access to resources, Oakville delivers an increasing number of services online to internal business users and the public. In addition to its main municipal site, the town operates several other websites. A search solution was a must.

On the back end, Oakville maintained diverse in-house content repositories to fuel its intranet and external websites. These included SharePoint 2010 for the intranet and public-facing online forms, custom databases housing information such as council and committee meeting information, by-laws stored in Lotus Domino and online program registration and facility availability search in Active Network Class software.

Although a search tool existed, relevancy results were disappointing to users, so search was used rarely, if at all. In 2010, a new search tool became a high priority recommendation during a web audit. The solution would need to provide relevant results across multiple websites, as well as span several content repositories and file types such as PDF.

City leaders wanted a search solution that could... 

  • Improve web visitors’ access to online information and services
  • Increase accuracy and relevance of the search function
  • Accelerate time to market for new search
  • Enable easy ongoing maintenance for low total cost of ownership (TCO).

Ancillary goals included promoting open and transparent government, providing opportunity for public engagement and reflecting the town’s vision to be the most livable town in Canada

Upon extensive review, Oakville’s Website Steering Committee narrowed the choices for a new search solution to two. Based on its proven market track record, ability to search across the town’s vast variety of content repositories and websites, streamlined deployment and administration and strong ongoing technical and resource support, the committee selected the Google Search Appliance (GSA). After the initial business case was reviewed by town staff, the decision was sealed; the GSA provided the best solution for meeting the town’s list of requirements.

Working closely with leading Google partner Onix, Oakville installed, configured and customized the GSA to meet the town’s unique needs. Initial setup took just one day, basic implementation lasted two weeks and additional functionality and enhancements have been ongoing.

After implementation, this solution searched across four websites,  as well as within the recreational program registration (iris) and facility availability application in Active Network Class and in bylaws files resident in Lotus Notes. The Onix team assisted by implementing a Lotus Notes connector and connecting the GSA to the iris registration system.

Once Oakville implemented GSA, users could search across the town’s many repositories and websites transparently through a single, intuitive search box, resulting in an increase in the number of searches overall. In the first three weeks, there were a total of 18,097 searches made by town staff and the public, a marked increase compared with the previous search solution.

Search relevance also improved, with 1,520 users finding the right result on the first page and 75 percent of users finding the right result within the top three pages. Ease of administration was a chief advantage of the GSA for Oakville.. For ongoing maintenance, the city required less than one-half of a full-time employee. The search solution readily met the town’s need to quickly get up and running with enterprise search. 

Feedback from the town’s web visitors was positive. And since the town wanted to continuously improve service delivery to be more efficient and effective, the GSA solution was pivotal to helping the town achieve that goal.

Onix's involvement was essential to the success of the project, providing everything from needs assessment and project implementation to training. The firm’s configuration and customization assistance helped ensure that the GSA would provide the best return — and maintain a low ongoing cost of ownership for Oakville.

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