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What is enterprise search, and how does it benefit your organization’s employees and consumers?

Feb 8th 2022 product

What is enterprise search, and how does it benefit your organization’s employees and consumers?
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As major search engines like Google, Amazon, and YouTube continuously push the limits of what a search engine can do, there has been a huge knock-on effect on users and what they expect from a search experience. 

With the most used search engines evolving and becoming more advanced, users are naturally coming to expect more: faster searches, intelligent recommendations, intricate personalization, and more, regardless of where they are inputting their queries. 

As such, if your app or website has a poor search experience, you risk damaging brand trust, reducing customer satisfaction, and could even end up losing potential customers. 

Similarly, customer service has become more advanced, leading to an increased expectation of customer-facing processes like sales and support. This is pushing organizations to improve the way they accommodate customers’ needs, as well as the productivity and efficiency of their in-house teams. 

What is enterprise search? 

Enterprise search refers to an organization’s ability to index data, from any data source within the company, and present the most pertinent information to the user. Databases, local intranet, and active directories are included in the search results, and data and information from multiple sources can be found. 

It usually requires either complex custom coding and search expertise, or using a search-as-a-service API platform that you can purchase ready-made. You’ll also need to ensure that your data hygiene and governance is properly optimized and kept up to date, so your search crawlers can scan metadata effectively and find the most relevant content to match each search query.   

The benefits of enterprise search for internal teams

Enterprise search can revolutionize the way your internal teams work. Faster data surfacing, more productive employees, and easier access to older data are just some of the benefits. Let’s take a closer look at what makes enterprise search so powerful for organizations.

Time-saving

Rather than spending time trawling through labyrinthine folder structures, a quick search on your enterprise search software should surface exactly what you, or your team, are looking for in milliseconds. Most software also offers “search-as-you-type” functionality, meaning the results refresh and become more relevant with every keystroke.

Boosts employee productivity

Internal knowledge management is incredibly powerful, and fuels your team’s ability to access the information necessary to be the best they can be at their jobs. Because information is so much easier and more efficient to access, it empowers teams and individuals across the organization to be more autonomous. 

Take, for example, your customer service team. If they are on a service call and a customer  asks a question, traditionally, they may have needed to lean upon the phrase, “Let me get back to you on that one”. With a fast and comprehensive search, information can be pulled in seconds, creating smoother – and fewer – customer care calls. 

Informed decisions

Enterprise search can also make it easier for department heads and leadership teams to make better decisions, based only on useful information. With more access to data, leaders can move quickly and make decisions with much less noise: only seeing the data they need to inform their actions. Streamlining key organizational information helps increase business agility. 

Smoother archive access 

Whether it’s old content or customer data that hasn’t been used in a while (perhaps a returning customer), resurfacing historic information can be difficult. Over time, businesses change their file structures, formats and naming conventions, and employees who once knew where everything was stored, move on. Enterprise search makes the process of finding older information easier and more efficient, so your customer service teams can get back up to speed right away.  

The benefits of enterprise search for your customers

Enterprise search doesn’t just serve your internal teams.You need to leverage your data, content, and product information to help create modern digital experiences for your  customers, as well. This may include personalized suggestions, smart product recommendations, and more intelligent features that leverage machine learning algorithms to ensure customers get the most engaging and tailored experience possible, based on their unique preferences. 

Create more engaging user experiences

Enterprise search provides your customers with a lightning-fast, accurate search platform that allows them to find the exact content they need when they need it. Thanks to features powered by artificial intelligence, such as recommended products and personalization, you are equipped to enhance the customer journey, in real time, at every stage. 

Personalize your customer journey

Analytics can have a major influence on the personalization of your site’s user experience. User behavior data collected from your customer-facing search applications can be used to continuously improve and personalize the user’s experience. This helps to inform further optimization that drives your business results. 

Leveraging your data like this has multiple advantages: it will ensure your site or app surfaces the most relevant information in a search, and it also transforms your site or app into a tool for converting, engaging, and retaining customers. 

Since the average customer consumes approximately 13 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision, quick and easy access to your organization’s available content is crucial. 

In the age of the intelligent search engines, your site or app can be on par with the biggest tech leaders such as Google, Amazon, and Netflix. 

Powerful enterprise search for your organization

How do you harness this powerful search tool? As we’ve already discussed, there’s more than one way to do it, and it really depends on your specific use case. You can build your own, or you can opt for a pre-built search API. But which is better? 

Building an enterprise search function from scratch

While this is a surefire way to get a custom-made enterprise search engine that works for you, it can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. You’ll need in-house search expertise and a dedicated engineering team. There are also material budgetary concerns, such as the ongoing cost of IT and engineering resources required to ensure uptime and expand functionality. 

It can also be less reliable and more difficult to secure. A fully customized search API requires its own security patches and updates – which, in turn, requires more IT resources, time, and money. 

Using an enterprise search API-based model

Using a hosted search API that has been developed by specialists can be a more affordable and reliable way to implement improved enterprise search at your organization. It also scales over time as content or product catalogs grow and change, and consumer and employee expectations become more sophisticated.

Having a third-party search API reduces the need for extensive internal IT and engineering. It also means security and reliability are handled by full-time experts, so your data is always in good hands. You may also find that the total costs are lower in the long run when using a search-as-service technology specialist. 

Smarter enterprise search with Algolia 

Algolia brings the very best in enterprise search technology to your organization, so you can evolve your search along with your consumers and employees, and continue to provide an excellent all-around service. 

Learn more about Algolia’s Enterprise Search solution, or contact our team with any questions.

About the author
Adam Smith

Sr. Director, Digital Marketing

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