A disconnected/disengaged workforce, broken business processes and an overall decrease in efficiency represent the most recurrent challenges facing organizations today. As a result, digital workplace solutions have grown in popularity as they offer an holistic solution capable of integrating different tools and applications.
A typical digital workplace includes a knowledge management system (KMS), an enterprise social network (ESN), an intranet portal, instant messaging and more. It also integrates different third party software used internally, from CRM to Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS).
For better usage and efficiency, a digital workplace needs to collect data from all these data sources and make it widely accessible to users in a centralized place – thus the importance of the enterprise search engine.
In this blog post, we will dive more into what constitutes a good enterprise search engine, its benefits and the advances made in this field.
Enterprise search: definition
Enterprise search is the process of making content from different data points available and accessible to users across the whole organization. Although a straightforward concept, implementing an effective search engine is not an easy task. Organizations have to properly plan and prepare their different sets of data to assist the search engine in extracting accurate results.
The popularity and widespread use of consumer search engines like Google put extra pressure on organizations to deliver a search engine capable of meeting the high expectations of their users. With this in mind (and with budgets barely comparable to consumer search engines), businesses try to come up with the best solution to make life easier for their employees. Which brings us to this question. What makes a good enterprise search engine?
What are the criteria of a good enterprise search engine?
To answer this question, we have to understand what users expect from the search engine. A typical user expects to find exactly what he/she is looking for in a quick and timely manner. Fairly simple right? Not quite. To achieve great levels of accuracy, sets of data from KMS or ESN, for example, have to be structured and indexed to allow the search engine to locate and extract files. This is a long process, especially for organizations dealing with large sets of data. Below are the main criteria of an effective enterprise search engine:
Connectors gather content from different internal data sources. They browse through these databases to find and locate new, updated and erased content This allows for quick and effective search queries
An analytics function allows the evaluation of search results and knowledge stored within databases. This will guarantee better search results and timely and relevant knowledge availability for employees.
- Artificial intelligence:
A search engine powered by AI provides users with more possibilities when they make search queries. Query completion, related content and AI content classification represent the major advantages offered by AI. With query completion, users can type a fraction of the term they are looking for and the search engine will complete the term. Related search provides users with a list of terms based on their initial keywords. AI content classification represents the process of displaying results relative to the user behavior and past queries.
Security is an important criterion of enterprise search engines. An effective search engine should allow organizations to store data securely and allow access permissions to critical information.
A search engine capable of managing a large number of users and data sets on a daily basis is crucial for the day-to-day running of any business. A search engine unable to handle simultaneous queries can increase the time spent looking for information and thus lead to a decrease in productivity.
Advantages of an enterprise search engine
An effective implementation of an enterprise search engine comes with a number of benefits.
- Employees spend less time looking for information:
Different studies show that the time spent by employees searching for insights is among the most recurrent challenges facing organizations today. The multitude of tools and business applications used daily make access to information a challenging task for employees. According to the International Data Corporation, the knowledge worker spends 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the work day, searching for information.
An enterprise search engine with the criteria mentioned above can significantly reduce the time spent by employees switching between different tools and apps to find what they need. Powerful connectors coupled with AI capabilities allow for easy access to information.
- Improve employee onboarding
Onboarding is often a challenging task for employers and employees alike. A powerful search engine should enable newcomers to access a variety of content available on the digital workplace, from training sessions to company policies, with a simple query.
- Access a rich knowledge base
Quick and easy access to large sets of data help users (especially decision makers) make use of the data stored within their databases. Whether to make predictions based on historical data or to access old documents, search engines with advanced capabilities can be a great tool to improve problem solving, learning and decision making.
Enterprise search engines are crucial for organizations as they help businesses improve productivity by providing access to large sets of data in a quick and timely manner.
Search engine technology has come a long way over the years. The technology grew with the internet thanks to constant innovation from tech giants like Google to become an important part of everyday life. Whether from the comfort of their homes or at their desks, users are constantly searching and scrawling through search results.
Tech companies are investing heavily in new search technologies and new concepts have been developed over the years from artificial intelligence to voice-driven search. The possibilities are endless and we can expect great advances in this field in the years to come.