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The customer

Wellington is New Zealand's center of government and the world's southernmost capital city.

After discontinuation of support for the Google search appliance, Wellington City Council looked at using other site search products. Funnelback was chosen as the platform and vendor of choice. 

Squiz presented an ambitious timeline, with just 22 days between day one of the project and the start of the short go-live process, so efficiency was of the utmost importance. Despite the pressing timeline, Squiz worked with Wellington City Council and quickly and painlessly changed the search tool, making it a smooth transition to Funnelback.

The challenge

Wellington City Council found themselves in a common predicament—a looming deadline for the replacement of their Google Search Appliance, with a short timeline for a replacement.

This was no small GSA implementation. With an implementation across multiple websites including the main council and library website, along with vital search features that were used by up to 3000 people an hour, search was an essential feature of the website. A service disruption or degradation of the user experience was simply unacceptable.

The approach

One eye on the clock, the other looking ahead. Given the timeline, Wellington City Council took a sensible and conservative approach; a like-for-like replacement of their Google Search Appliance, ensuring neither end-user search features nor administrative controls were lost in their migration to a new platform.

Despite the pressing timeline, council staff were also looking to the future and were keen to ensure that their new search platform would grow with their anticipated needs. Specifically, they wanted to know their chosen platform had the capability to provide:

  • A significantly enhanced search experience to end-users with robust useful search functionality and user interface features
  • Greater administrative controls, empowering both the content teams and the development teams alike
  • The capability to scale licenses up seamlessly to provide search across additional websites and content repositories.
The results

It was important that website users experienced no decline in the search service; we were quickly able to get search results for all of Wellington City Council’s most common site searches that were equivalent to or improvements upon the results from the GSA. Through the use of Funnelback’s automated relevance tuning and a collection of training data provided by the project team, this was achieved in short order.

Furthermore, Funnelback’s Content Curator allows the content team to link specific search results to any given keyword based on simple to use business rules, ensuring the right message is delivered every time.

Going beyond this, end users now have a range of new search functionality they can use to rapidly find the right information, and Wellington City Council’s web team has new administrative tools to manage, understand, and fully leverage their information.

With their new website search safely in place well before their GSA license is due to finish, Wellington City Council now has a future-proofed search solution that empowers end users and search administrators alike.

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