searching
Coveo plans to release free versions of its search platform for other platforms, following this week's Salesforce GA PHOTO: Freddy Marschall

This week Coveo put AI-powered search in the hands of any Salesforce user with the general availability of its Coveo for Salesforce Free Edition.

Coveo has been offering advanced search in Salesforce since 2012 and improving it ever since. This week's announcement marks the latest addition.

Businesses rely on search to deliver the right content to customers, partners and employees. For those business using Salesforce to drive their customer engagement, search plays a fundamental role — after all, content is only useful if it can be found.

Coveo For Salesforce Free Edition

According to the Quebec City-based search and analytics vendor, the free edition allows Salesforce customers access to Coveo's machine learning features to deliver relevant content at scale to customers, partners and employees.

Coveo for Salesforce Free Edition provides what the company calls an easy-to-install search app which embeds AI technology and self-learning capacities inside Salesforce Community and App Clouds. The overall result is easier to find Salesforce content for self-service customers, employees and partners and deeper insights into content performance for companies. 

“We wanted a fast and simple way for any company to experience the power of Coveos’ machine learning inside their Salesforce Community and App Cloud,” David James, director of product marketing at Coveo told CMSWire. 

And the price is right: the solution will remain free. 

“A customer who wants to stay on the Free Edition will never be required to pay. However, if they want to add additional Coveo features and bring in additional external content sources, we have a family of products that will fit their needs,” he added.

That said, the free edition includes a wide-range of capabilities including:

  • Machine learning capabilities: Searches all Salesforce content to deliver the most relevant content to any query
  • Drag-and-drop tools: Allows enterprises to customize their deployment to fit their branding
  • Usage Analytics: Provides insights into how users interact on-site, what they are looking for and what they do if they don't find it
  • Deployment options: Available for any community, with an out-of-the-box integration with Lightning Community Builder or can be added to existing VisualForce pages.

Given that Coveo’s business relies on selling search services and analytics, a free offering would appear to undermine its business model. 

Not so, said James. In fact, he argues the free edition helps get the word out to more companies about the value of AI-powered search.

“During our early access period this winter (where we launched to Salesforce MVPs and select systems integrators), companies large and small tried the free edition and decided to move up to a paid edition because they quickly realized the value of AI-powered search in their Salesforce Communities and App Cloud,” he said.

Once customers see how effective the search is, they start looking for more content sources beyond Salesforce — and that’s where Coveo offers other paid-for services and software, James argued.

Plans for Further Integrations

“While Salesforce has emerged as the leading customer engagement platform and 'application of record' for support teams, many of our customers also use other best-of-breed technologies in their operations,” he said.

Coveo provides connectors to more than 50 of these most common content sources, allowing customers to index these sources, and add machine learning to create a truly unified experience. 

James claims Coveo now has customers indexing Microsoft SharePoint, Jive, Lithium, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Jira, Confluence, YouTube and customer apps, as well as Sitecore.

“We also have a set of integrated apps for Sitecore which allow companies to bring AI-powered search to their Sitecore-powered public-facing websites and internal-facing employee intranets and portals."  

Coveo Looks to the Future

Gartner named Coveo the leader in the insight engines magic quadrant (formerly enterprise search) earlier this month.

In the report, Gartner noted the broad appeal of the Coveo portfolio and how its past success in knowledge management contributed to the appeal. It also pointed out Coveo's shifting emphasis to cloud delivery and suggested enterprises consider hybrid or cloud installations.

Coveo is looking to address two other emerging trends according to James:

1. Voice-Driven Search

He points to the increase in speech-driven search in both the business and consumer market as one area of interest.

“We’ve seen this with Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana. Why does this matter for AI? Speech is unstructured data .... Having a system that can make sense of this data and discern intent will be key for consumers and businesses alike,” he said.

2. Understanding AI Data

AI is all about data, but this data can’t remain in the hands of data scientists and IT. The next big advance for AI is providing user-friendly, but powerful tools to understand how customers are interacting with brands.

“We feel we have a big head start with this using our Coveo Usage Analytics. It frees data from the clutches of just IT and data scientists and lets normal business users make sense of data with customizable reports but also lots of pre-built reports and metrics that demonstrate how customers are interacting with your brand’s content,” he said.

Coveo is taking the free edition on the road, showing if off during the Salesforce World Tours and also presenting it to Salesforce MVPs at their user groups meetings. 

James noted Coveo would be making more announcements around other engagement platforms beyond Salesforce later this year. 

“We’ve proven the value of AI-powered search inside Salesforce, so we think other enterprise applications can benefit from this same approach,” he said.