The GSA replacement deadline is just around the corner. Project managers and developers are starting to sweat (and maybe even panic) about the looming deadline this year.

Feeling the pressure? You’ve come to the right place. Since the announcement of GSA sunsetting back in 2016, we’ve worked with our partners to help guide GSA customers through this process, from the initial decision-making to the migration – and we’ve also helped answer some of the same questions from GSA customers.

Frequently Asked Questions about GSA replacement

#1 What happens if I don’t migrate?

The end of the license renewal period is this year.

Choosing to “do nothing” or “wait” is not really an option. You will not have a functioning search and potentially suffer some very serious consequences for your organization. Keep in mind that these projects are not immune to all of the setbacks and hurdles that other software migration projects face; don’t underestimate the need for a buffer before your final launch.

Get started today by checking out these resources to learn more about the deadline:

#2 What is Google offering as an alternative?

They announced Springboard Search, which is a cloud-based search option for Google apps. As of yet, there is no indication if additional sources outside Google Apps will be able to be indexed in Springboard Search.

For on-premise customers or those with content outside Google Apps, this obviously will not work as an alternative. Luckily, the world of search and relevance has a lot of options and there is definitely something out there to meet your needs. The market has evolved beyond enterprise search to powerful insight engines to reflect how powerful providing relevant and contextually aware insights to your employees, customers and partners is. We recommend reading through the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Insight Engines to understand more about the market and how to evaluate vendors.

"}" data-sheets-userformat="{"2":513,"3":[null,0],"12":0}">
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Insight Engines July 2018

#3 Since we have to replace anyway, is there an opportunity to get more out of it?

Absolutely. The time, labor and investment you are making in your migration is going to go to waste if it’s not for a solution that will last.

In addition, your competitors and peers are not losing sight of this opportunity. GSA was a great solution for its time, but the fact of the matter is users’ expectations have risen to demands that GSA and like-for-like Google Search Appliance replacement solutions cannot meet. Basic keyword search without predictive recommendations or relevant results will no longer make the cut. Plus, virtual assistants, chatbots and other search-driven emerging technologies are just around the corner – but you will be left behind if you just go for a replacement from GSA, rather than an upgrade.

Find out where you are with your relevance solution and understand where you want to be by reviewing the Coveo Relevance Maturity Model. This will help you benchmark yourself against the market and understand your next steps for your GSA replacement.

Becoming More Relevant to Your Customers, Communities & Staff

#4 Should we build or buy?

This is a tricky question, and it depends on your individual situation. For some organizations, going with an open-source solution makes a lot of sense. However, we caution that you need to be fully aware of the realities of open-source projects. We’ve seen quite a few project managers jump into these difficult projects…only to quickly realize that the projects were not scoped correctly to fully realize the benefits.

The truthful answer to this question is “it depends.” Your expectations, team, and IT roadmap play a role in your decision. Make sure you know exactly what you are deciding when you decide to go with an open-source or out-of-the-box solution.

In our recent blog post, Coveo Senior Product Marketing Director Diane Tetrault busts some myths about the decision to build or buy. Read the blog post here.

#5 How should I approach this project?

There are two recommendations for approaching this project. The first is to use an experienced partner who has completed GSA migration projects before. The sooner you start engaging with a partner, the better you are. The evolution of the market, changes in users’ needs and more need to play a role in your evaluation and selection of an upgrade/replacement, as well as ongoing guidance once you get into the implementation. We strongly advise that you do not attempt to “go it alone” without the experience and knowledge of a partner every step of the way.

The second answer is in response to the more philosophical question project managers ask about the project itself. Is your search solution really that critical to your business? Can we just use a like-for-like replacement with the goal of no one noticing the switch?

Here’s the problem with this thinking: your users’ expectations have changed for what they expect out of digital tools, and search and relevance is a critical part of their experience. Since the advent of Google and the explosion of digital content, no one goes page-by-page through a website, browsing to find what they need. The first instinct is to search.

So what happens when you give these users a search and relevance solution that can’t personalize search results or use their context to narrow results? You’re failing them, and their patience for these experiences is growing shorter and shorter.

Rather than put a like-for-like replacement in place now only to have to go through another painful replacement in a few years, take advantage of this opportunity to learn about how AI and machine learning can provide a more effective experience to your users.

For your project, we created a GSA checklist with a series of best practices to help you get started on your project.

Best Practices for Your GSA Upgrade

Replacing something as critical as GSA is a daunting project, and with the timeline looming, it’s easy to start panicking. We’re here to help, along with our trusted partners. What other questions do you have? Tweet them to us @Coveo and we will do our best to answer!