Enterprise search can be a powerful tool to help your organization become more efficient, due to its nature of indexing, searching, and displaying different types of data from multiple sources in one convenient solution.

An enterprise search does not necessarily fit every organization. While everyone needs a search on their website, it may be overkill with an advanced search solution. However, if your organization has large amounts of data stored in several sources, enterprise search is probably the right choice. And here are some benefits you can expect.

The importance of enterprise search

Today there is more data than ever, thanks to automation, business intelligence, and other capturing methods. The enormous amounts of information poses many challenges, and one of them is the timely retrieval of relevant data for employees and decision makers.

AIMultiple highlights the high cost of finding information by referencing three studies from SearchYourCloud, McKinsey, and IDC. The results from these studies speak volumes:

  • 80% said it takes on average 8 searches to find the right document
  • 20–30% of a workday is used to look for relevant information
  • 35–50% of enterprise information is not centrally indexed
  • 60% of executives felt that time constraints and lack of understanding of how to find information were preventing employees from finding the right information

The needs for an enterprise search should be clear.

See also: Proud of the cloud - what Enonic's planning »

Business advantages of enterprise search

Boosting team productivity

When your digital team spends up to 30% of their workday looking for information, a lot of productive activity is lost—and consequently potential business results and bottom line.

If just cut in half, the aggregated number of man-hours saved each year would correspond to hiring several new colleagues. Let's say you’ll save on average one hour each day per person in an enterprise of 5,000 employees. That’s 25,000 productive hours saved each week.

Increasing profitability

Scale the number from the previous example up to an entire year, and it is evident that a strong enterprise search solution will save your organization money in a relatively cost-efficient manner.

But boosted productivity in terms of saved man-hours is not the entire story. Another important factor for the bottom line is an improved environment for informed decision making. When negotiating large contracts or researching potential investors, timing is of the essence.

Finding the right financial report or legal document in just the right time could prove decisive for your business—and an enterprise search browsing through multiple sources in a heartbeat could prove to be the turning point.

Improving the customer journey

According to Maginfo, customer experience is one of the main business advantages of implementing an enterprise search solution. This can be achieved by flipping the enterprise search coin from not only working internally, but externally as well.

An enterprise search solution can make it even easier for prospects and leads to find what they are looking for on your digital experiences, potentially enabling them to spend more quality time in your channels and moving them further down the sales funnel.

In addition, an enterprise search can be used to build a quick reference database, gathering the most commonly asked questions and answers for a customer support solution. This will serve to minimize friction with your customers, making them happier and turning them into potential brand ambassadors. As a bonus, a smart customer support fueled by enterprise search also frees up manpower, again relating to the boost of productivity.

Lowering cost by centralizing information

Findwise points out another business advantage, in the form of cost-saving by having one central access point to information, as opposed to many. Many large organizations have acquired multiple IT systems over the years and decades, such as intranets, collaboration portals, CMS, CRM, DAM, and ERP systems.

Traditionally, the setup has been characterized by having separate search tools for each system—increasing the overall cost of implementation, licensing, support, and maintenance. By gathering all the siloed search solutions in one enterprise search, your organization can save time and money in regard to the mentioned factors.

Unraveling the hidden value of existing tech

Another perk is to make smarter use of what your organization is already in possession of. As we have seen, an enterprise search solution can save you money by reducing the need for separate maintenance, licensing, and support for every existing IT system your organization already has.

But that’s not everything you can take advantage of in terms of your legacy systems. As there is much information hidden deep down in the recesses of these old platforms, this can now be retrieved by the enterprise search solution and made use of in new combinations and contexts. This will increase the ROI of the old systems, as well as the new.

Handpicking sources

Yet another business advantage of enterprise search is the possibility of selecting and combining widely different sources for your purposes. Depending on your business and industry, your organization can for instance mix search results from your own site and other sources—be it public tenders, legal data, postal code registers, and so on.

The strength with this approach should be apparent. Not only can you get your own data on specific topics, but also be augmented with related data from reliable external sources that are either open to the public or made available through an agreement.

Consider this in relation to enterprise search: Why go headless with a hybrid CMS?

Examples of enterprise search

Norway Post is an example of having an enterprise with a combination of sources. Their external search engine displays both editorial content from Posten.no, as well as addresses and postal codes. For instance, a search for “Oslo” leads to articles involving Norway’s capital, listings of postal offices in the vicinity, and the postal codes associated with the city—all in one fast search.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health makes heavy use of enterprise search capabilities, displaying both single items and larger items where the search phrase is included as a reusable component. The Directorate’s content model breaks down content into both small and large independent parts, enabling visitors to find both granular and general items.

Accenture mentions several industry use cases for enterprise search, including generating product recommendations in e-commerce, identifying oil and gas locations based on reports, studies, and geographic shape filters, and finding relevant research, and similarities in patient profiles and chemical structure in genomics and biotech.

Intergator SE lists several functional use cases for enterprise search. Their examples include searching for experts and contact persons, candidate profile matching, information on employee services, user-generated search, competitor monitoring, and compliance monitoring.

Enterprise search vendors

There are many vendors offering enterprise search services, but AIMultiple lists the following major providers in the open source sphere:

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