Searching for corporate data on an internal company network has always been a difficult challenge, and with the recent proliferation of cloud-based services, the problem is only getting worse.

But providing a powerful, comprehensive enterprise search tool should be a priority for every business. If employees can’t quickly find the answers or content they need, they become frustrated, less motivated and significantly less productive.

This isn’t good for company culture or the bottom line. So, what are companies supposed to do when their data volume is exploding, and the number of disparate services storing that data is multiplying?

4 Ways to Improve Search

Here are four traits of a better enterprise search experience — one that will improve employee happiness and efficiency.

Relevancy remains king

The most important part of a search experience is the need to deliver relevant results. To meet your employee’s expectations, a company’s relevance model needs to be strong right out of the box, but it also needs to learn over time. As employee usage behavior gets collected, the relevancy model must automatically evolve to deliver more personalized results.

Search once

For companies using platforms like Salesforce, Atlassian, Google, Box and SharePoint to house corporate data, having one destination to access all of this content is essential. One way great search accomplishes this outcome is through a robust set of options for ingesting your content.

At minimum, an enterprise search system should have a web crawler for browser-based sites, a rich set of connects for common repositories of data and a flexible developer API for custom datasets. The average business has important data spread across a large number of different sources — unless the internal search provides visibility into all of those sources, it will fall short of expectations.

Control and customization is critical at scale

Getting all of the data into the system is critical, but it is only the first step. The importance of different repositories and types of data will vary from department to department. To properly address this, department leaders and knowledge management professionals need powerful yet intuitive ways to customize the experience for different use-cases.

Great search is a moving target

Finally, at the enterprise level, high-quality search is never solved forever. Data, workflows, and employee behaviors change, and a sophisticated system will provide the insights necessary to adapt.

Rich analytics are key to knowing which parts of your system are performing well and which parts need improvements. With a sufficiently robust enterprise search analytics system, administrators are able to notice inefficiencies as they arise and address them with ease.

Search Should Be Fast, Efficient

Employee efficiency will only increase if the enterprise search experience delivers on its original promise: to help users quickly find the content or answer that they’re searching for, regardless of where the data resides.

Getting ahead of this issue will not only lead to happier employees but also a more productive workforce.

Title image "Arthur" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by h.koppdelaney