Back in February we announced a contest challenging our customers to show us their Google Search Appliances and share a picture of where their yellow GSA boxes fit into their organizations. The prize? Tickets to the upcoming upcoming Google IO conference, to be held in San Francisco on May 27-28. We had some great entries – but when we saw this picture, from the Web Dev team at Atlanta'sWellStar Health System, we knew we had a winner.

WellStar's GSA keeps "operations" running smoothly

Congrats to Rob and the Web team at WellStar in Atlanta, Georgia. Here's their story:

Before GSA: With five premier hospitals in the Northwest suburbs of Atlanta, 11,000 employees and the largest nonacademic Physicians Group in the State,WellStar Health System has become one of the biggest not-for-profit health care systems in the Southeast. As WellStar grew, it became increasingly difficult for folks to find our stuff. WellStar’s intranet houses a physician portal containing content from over 70 different clinical sites – along with unique portals for 60+ supporting enterprise departments – andeveryone's generic material permeated our content management systems (CMS ). Employee and patient volumes intensified, organically creating a nightmare of a file library, and it seemed that our system needed 20CCs of Findability Stat! The challenge was to efficiently serve everyone at once while minimizing the impact on our own busy environment.

After GSA:
Our previous intranet search limited employees to each of our internal .Net portals, meaning employees would have to be sifting through the right haystack to find a specific needle, which gave them a whopping 1.4% chance of starting in the right place. This all changed with the GSA. The GSA crawls from a central location and provides a single URL to hit when employees need fast results. Its active replacement of cached, dead-end links diminishes wasted search time, and the “Text Only” document display feature is an essential business asset for clinical employees without specific readers.

After purchasing the GSA and performing a minimal setup, our team found that the appliance was pulling several hundred rabbits out of its hat every eight hours. It was finding the one-of-a-kind policy, form, safety, and class information details from long forgotten documents – all without requiring someone to organize the material. Thin-air content was rediscovered, removed, and replaced with current information, and incoming help calls starting with “Where do I find…” have been eliminated.

We had a few other standouts. Here's one.

Two GSAs were all it took to change the "State" of search

Meet Chris with the State of Missouri in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Before GSA: The State of Missouri is made up of 16 executive agencies and various other non-executive agencies, boards and commissions. Prior to the purchasing the GSA, the state was simply a collection of data silos that provided no unified search for our citizens or the companies who wanted to do business with us. The bottom line: it was difficult (at best) for tax-paying citizens or businesses to find the information that they needed on the various State of Missouri web sites.

After GSA:
After implementing the GSA as a centrally-managed device, we made search available to all of our executive agencies as well as to our other agencies, boards, and commissions. The GSA allowed us to index all the relevant information from across all of these entities and provide a unified search option to our citizens. The flexibility of the device also allowed each of the agencies to integrate the search onto their unique agency site and further refine the search capabilities they offered to their taxpaying customers. Not only have the search capabilities greatly increased, from the citizen’s perspective, the data silos are no longer there and results across each agency are much more relevant.

From all of us at Google: thanks, WellStar and State of Missouri.

In the next few weeks we will be releasing their full case studies and if you are interested in knowing how other customers are using their GSAs we have more success stories here. Thanks for your participation and don't forget to register for I/O. Congrats again to the winners!

Dave Kim, Google Enterprise search team