Choosing the right enterprise search platform: what’s important?

Website search engines are no longer simply a tool for pulling up search results and presenting requested information from wherever it may be residing on your website. Now, the right type of enterprise search system has become one of those things that can absolutely make or break your business.

To win customers and employees alike, your enterprise website search today must be a personalized experience that has the ability to evolve along with individual user knowledge, and also take into account their earlier interactions. Having the right enterprise search platform can undoubtedly make a measurable difference in your metrics.

If you’re looking for the best enterprise search software to ensure the success of your site, it pays to do a little research to ensure that you can confidently make the right buying decision.

When looking at prospective enterprise search solutions, it’s important to first consider the significance of effective modern, intelligent search in the big picture of your business success, both for your customers and your employees and contractors. You want to prioritize enterprise search as a pillar in your customer and employee experiences.

Why is this so critical? Because it’s a proven strategy that can have a ripple effect. It can deliver vastly improved business outcomes, such as:

  • More-accurate data, which can then be used to better inform your teams’ sales and marketing decisions
  • Personalized experiences for customers: Better data means you can then more accurately customize the customer journey in terms of relevancy
  • Better customer conversion rates: More-personalized user experiences can lead to a higher percentage of people taking a desired action 
  • A unified approach to data usage, which frees information trapped in siloed repositories and facilitates smooth collaboration among team members
  • Excellent analytics capabilities, which means access to high-quality data for better decision making

Before we consider some of the important search features in an enterprise search platform, let’s define exactly what “enterprise search” means. 

What are enterprise search solutions? 

Enterprise search is, on the surface, simply a search engine for indexing your web pages. It’s functionality that allows end users to search for and immediately find information and products faster than, for example, if they were navigating diligently through document management systems by using menus.

You might think classic searching ability in terms of content management is all that an enterprise search engine supplies, but you’d be wrong. An enterprise search service goes considerably further than simply plucking and displaying relevant results from a database. 

Search and discovery experiences on consumer platforms that people use every day, such as Spotify, Google search, and Netflix, are continually improving. That means people expect more from your site search, too. If you covet brand loyalty but your search experience isn’t up to the standards your customers are enjoying on other enterprise sites, there’s probably no way you’re  going to attain that loyalty.  

Did you know that the new generation of search applications can predict what users are looking for before they even enter a second letter in their autocomplete search query? These solutions can recommend items people might be interested in and even suggest reordering regularly purchased products right when customers begin to need them. This level of tailored personalization has become the gold standard. 

Enterprise search need-to-knows

Here are some of the most important concerns to keep in mind when you’re scouting for a solution that will meet your goals for your company. 

API vs. homemade

First consideration: do you have the time, money, and expertise to build your own search solution?

While a custom-created search and content discovery tool might provide more freedom to adapt and evolve, it can also require significantly more resources to build and maintain. So for many companies, it doesn’t make economic or practical sense to go that road.

If that’s you, the next question is: Would a professionally designed and created API be the best enterprise search tool option?

APIs designed, built, and maintained by search experts tend to be more economical than assembling a solution on-premises. Search APIs can also often outperform homemade enterprise search solutions because they have an entire organization dedicated to making them better.

Data integration

One of the crowning features of enterprise search is the ability to pull details from multiple data sources, such as Salesforce or HubSpot, to inform interactions. If your platform has limited data integration, you might not be able to connect your organization’s chosen CRM, CMS, or KMS, leaving any hope of providing omnichannel interaction dead in the water.

Artificial intelligence capabilities

AI is used to manage most search engine algorithms, but it can also be used to improve other important functions. 

Smart search and discovery tools use AI to process data from various integrations and either inform marketing interactions with customers through relevant search or deliver relevant information to employees searching on their intranet (via an API dashboard). 

Smart discovery

 Most search engines supply discovery functionality. If you’ve ever had music or videos recommended by a streaming service, or notice products appearing on your Amazon home page, then you’ve experienced a smart discovery tool use case in action.

Discovery tools use data from your enterprise search platform to suggest products and services to customers that they might be interested in. It’s a great way to build on the foundation of capable enterprise search with more diversely positioned targeting.

Analytics capabilities

Analytics is a key function in enterprise search. It gives your marketing, sales, and customer success teams valuable data about what customers are seeking to help inform their approaches. 

For example, if a business shopper on your B2B site has already made a purchase and has subsequently been browsing several similar products, it might be productive to set up a sales call with them and offer some discount pricing. 

Some analytics functions go further. If you employ — or want to create — an omnichannel strategy for your ecommerce site, you can use data analytics to target customers more accurately, and with more-personalized and engaging interactions. 

For example, let’s say you find that an increasing number of your customers’ searches are being done in pursuit of a particular product offered by your online store. With the help of your faceted discovery software, your marketing team could create a campaign to promote related items and show them to your shoppers, either on your site or in apps. 

Need a complete enterprise search platform? Check out Algolia. 

  • The world’s leading SaaS companies trust our search APIs
  • Our search engine uses advanced machine-learning algorithms
  • We rely heavily on open-source software and benefit from the contributions of forward-thinking individuals
  • Our hosted search capabilities and discovery API provides the search and recommendation services to create amazing customer (and employee workplace search) experiences

Our software allows you to pay only for what you use, which eliminates the need to hire a dedicated search team. This means you can deploy your solution fast, and easily scale it as your business grows.

Want to know more? Connect with our team or sign up for free to see firsthand how we can help you grow your enterprise business.

About the authorCatherine Dee

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

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