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Integrate Enterprise Search with Social Intelligence for Enhanced Customer Experience

Data storage and retrieval system

The scientific community, as far back as the 20th century, recognized the need to properly organize data and that led to the development of these significant systems. The data retrieval software is empowered to dig through large amounts of data and bring out results relevant to the query.

However, an important aspect has been forgotten. What if the data in question was never present? Or what if the data present is in abundance but not integrated for proper use? What happens in case of data silos?

Enterprises use a variety of apps that individually collect and store data. This individualism ignores a need to integrate similar data, filter contrasting data and organize a central storage for all the collected data.

Corporates have openly embraced Enterprise Search because it provides employees immediate access to relevant information thus, helping them increase efficiency. Moreover, you can also reduce your maintenance, support and license cost if you provide one centralized platform to manage all information access requests. It also mitigates the problems of Data Silos as the information is kept under one umbrella – on a centrally monitored platform.

Let’s begin with the very basic.

Understanding the Concept of Enterprise Search

Enterprise search is simply the ‘practice of identifying and enabling specific content across the enterprise to be indexed, searched, and displayed to authorized users.’

There really is no point in having the best data or content in your organization if it cannot be accessed easily and on-time. Unfortunately, the presence of powerful search tools has made many organizations underestimate this.

Retaining your customers depends significantly on how well you are able to provide the needed information at the right time. And often, the information that needs to be made available to users may go beyond needed information.

Quite a few times, you may begin with a simple search on “How to engage employees to create a better environment” and end up on “Do I have the right talent on my team?” or “What should be the next step of my career?”
The point being, you begin from A intending to reach point B but your searches might lead you to point F, for that matter.

You are anticipated to provide related information to your customers who may not even be aware they need that piece of data until they come across it. It is when you are able to do this that you can truly boast about satisfying your customers’ queries.

How important is the Search Box?

The invention of the search function is probably one of the most remarkable developments in the evolution of digital technology. It was this simple invention that led to the birth of one of the largest tech companies today; Google.

Truly, Google has successfully taken the search function to a much greater level. Google detected our hunger for information and satisfied this appetite by providing a brilliant navigation tool.

But let’s focus on the fundamentals here.

Imagine how lost your visitors would be if they wanted to search for an old blog post on your website and there’s no search panel to help them. You might argue saying they can search through the archives but both of us know how arduous the task would be.

What happens when organizations fail to properly organize their data or contents?
Management, employees, and customers have a hard time retrieving information that was posted some time ago. Efficiency and workflow of employees are greatly disturbed as they are bound to take more time to search the previous record of documents, information or data. Whereas in case of visitors, customers would be unsatisfied with the results which might result in frustration and ultimately no sales of the service or product.

Functions of an enterprise search application 

  • Benefit of Enterprise Search – Helping customers in their search for data

Enterprise search applications are made to achieve this.

Customers or visitors to the organization’s website regularly require information beyond what is displayed on the pages. It is the job of enterprise search to fetch the required information from the website’s data bank and bring it within the reach of visitors. This is usually done by using right keywords and metadata tagging.

  • Benefit of Enterprise Search – Helping employees retrieve content when needed

For bigger organizations, enterprise search does more than simply bringing information within customer’s reach. Today, big and small companies create more content than ever before and keeping track is proving to be really difficult.

Employees also need information to carry out their duties efficiently and effectively. But accessing stored information could prove trickier, especially for employees. This is due to the proliferation of company data over the past few decades.

A report from SanDisk shows that the volume of business data in the world doubles every 15 months.

Enterprise search should help employees keep track of this vast amount of data and bring it to their fingertips when needed.

  • Benefit of Enterprise Search – Search analytics to understand the user and provide other option intelligently

A good search enterprise platform should also help the company with search analytics and insights.

This would include monitoring of search trends and effectiveness of the search methods. This information is needed to make informed decisions about what kind of data should be presented to users. Providing relevant data would peek customer’s interest and predict or prescribe information to aid them with their search or tasks.

Most tools such as Elasticsearch (ELK), SolR, Lucidworks, Coveo or even Lucene help with this feature added with specific bells and whistles added to differentiate their value proposition.

Does enterprise search application also have any limitations?

The tasks mentioned above are a necessity for the smooth functioning of any organization. But organizations are coming to the realization that this is no longer enough.

Here are some of the limitations of current enterprise search applications –

  • Limitation of Enterprise Search -Failure to provide results beyond the search term

Current enterprise search applications are only useful in relevance to a need. They hardly serve an expanded role and they should be capable of achieving so much more.

Enterprise search platforms should be able to provide vital intelligence on customer behavior and work direction. The information provided could inform future search results.

For instance, what happens if an employee or customer does not remember the right keywords or Meta tags? The enterprise platform should still be able to provide meaningful results based on the related searches and past behavior of the individual initiating the queries.

Most of the available applications fail to do this.

  • Limitation of Enterprise Search – Failure to socialize knowledge

Another major problem is the failure of enterprise search platforms to socialize knowledge. Corporate knowledge is usually an aggregate of contents contributed by various individuals.

In the process of assembling this content, enterprise search applications often fail to acknowledge the contributor of this content in the database. This mitigates an organization’s efforts at socializing knowledge.

Estimates show that knowledge workers in large enterprises spend as between 6.5 hours and 8.8 hours in a week to search for information. A fair amount of this time is wasted simply because the employee doesn’t know who to ask and a comprehensive enterprise search platform needs to address this.

Observations have shown that Enterprise social tools are capable of this but the business space yearns for collaboration between enterprise social tools and enterprise search tools.

  • Limitation of Enterprise Search – Data silos

The inability to effectively gather enterprise data across various platforms is another limitation of the current enterprise search tools.

Large enterprises have been shown to employ an average 500 different applications in the running of their business. These applications all gather and store data individually with little or no collaboration across platforms.

This, unfortunately, creates data silos and makes integration of company data difficult. Invariable, enterprise search tools cannot perform optimally because they can only work with integrated data.

The problem of data silos is further compounded by the numerous storage means available to organizations. The proliferation of data storage avenues means companies now employ multiple storage avenues.

Cloud storage is increasingly popular since data can be stored at a much lower cost. Combining cloud storage with the already numerous hardware storage would mean making the process more difficult for enterprise search tools to gather data and provide it when needed.

How can you integrate Enterprise Search with Social Intelligence?

You can follow the below steps to combine Enterprise search and social intelligence –

  1. Merge the attributes of enterprise search tools and socialize with engagement tools.
  2. Bringing SaaS tools and integrations is almost a given for any tool these days.
  3. Synchronizing data from these transactions and understanding search/crowdsourcing patterns is needed to reduce delays and enhance productivity.
  4. Crowdsourcing can also bring in incentives and rewards making the user engaged in contributing to the corporate knowledge store.
  5. The business must employ the power of AI and analytics to record and predict search trends.

This will ensure consistent suggestions that are relevant to the search term but different from the direct queries.

References

  1. http://www.docurated.com/knowledge/enterprise-search/
  2. http://www.kmworld.com/Articles/Editorial/Features/Enterprise-search-What-is-it-and-where-is-it-headed-98790.aspx
  3. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.847.7859&rep=rep1&type=pdf
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