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Where IT Teams and Business Users Differ On Enterprise Search

5 minute read
Xavier Pornain avatar
When it comes to enterprise search, IT and business teams perceive very different use cases.

The digital workplace puts a crucial set of tools at employees’ disposal. Yet, sometimes, these tools don’t always allow employees to do their best work. If there’s a disconnect between IT teams and business users on why tools are not where they should be, it can cause friction and frustration among users. It forces employees to create less-than-effective workarounds. Further, if IT teams don’t have all the information about how and why the tools are used, there’s a chance that high value use cases will be ignored, leaving users wanting more from their IT team and digital workplace environment.

Earlier in 2022 Sinequa — jointly with CMSWire — surveyed IT professionals and business users to look at this phenomenon in 413 large organizations. We sought to understand what IT professionals and business users thought about how enterprise search is used, their opinions differ and wherein lies the disconnect. As it turns out, these two groups have far to go if they hope to see eye to eye on search for use cases.

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To put it simply: what IT professionals think enterprise search is being used for and what business users are actually searching for are two very different things. IT assumes that search is often used to find business information, corporate information or external information. Yet, the top thing business users search for is “solutions,” which is often a combination of multiple content coming from various applications, and while 53% of business users report using enterprise search this way, only 42% of IT professionals think this is what search is being used for finding solutions — an 11% difference in perception of how enterprise search is used.

Putting More Than Just Keywords Into the Search Bar

There’s a certain set of assumptions around what search can and can’t be used for. Many users are unaware of what a state of the art enterprise search solution can provide.

As the volume of content expands, as systems proliferate in the cloud, and as business users demand ever better digital workplaces, so should priorities to make this valuable information available quickly to everyone who needs it. Advanced searches can come in many forms, including the ability to make search queries in multiple languages or search a variety of file formats beyond text documents — anything and everything from spreadsheets to emails. In our survey, business users identified some key search capabilities. They didn’t have access to but wished they had the ability to return search results from business applications like CRM, PLM, chat conversations from collaborative apps or videos. In fact, 96% of respondents said inadequate search has been the cause of many bad outcomes.

96% of respondents believe they’ve suffered grave consequences from a lack of optimized search.

Further, 41% of business users in large global organizations don’t have the ability to ask questions in multiple languages (another highly sought-after capability). With the majority of business users relying on enterprise search multiple times a week (and sometimes multiple times a day), IT teams should examine how they can upgrade their enterprise search experience with these more robust features that business users crave.

Top performing companies deliver information to business users proactively driving decisions right in their workflow, improving relevance, and quicken the speed to find the right answers. This is so critical that organizations are looking at new AI techniques using Neural Networks. Sinequa has just released an enterprise search solution powered by such technology: Neural Search. With Neural Search, business users get the best, most relevant answers every time.

Learning Opportunities

Getting Leadership Involved

Leaders must do more to bring IT and business together around enterprise search, because the consequences of their inaction can be dire. As proof, 96% of survey respondents believe they’ve suffered grave consequences from a deficient enterprise search. For the majority of respondents, consequences can come in many forms, from mistakes made in work to less effective customer service, and the need to recreate work.

"No mistake costs less than $3 million in delays and penalties." —Senior Knowledge Manager.

On average one of Sinequa’s large manufacturing clients mentioned that any one mistake can cost more than $3M. 80% of this customer’s searches are about technical issues and solutions based on past experience. Sinequa enables support engineers to find solutions and avoid mistakes, saving millions of dollars and enabling projects to be delivered on time.

Conclusion

Enterprise search is a crucial part of the digital workplace, and one that’s essential for companies to get right. With 79% of business users and 80% of IT teams saying that improving the tools and platforms of the digital workplace is a high or critical priority for them, now is the time for organizations to listen and upgrade their enterprise search capabilities.

Leadership needs to be made aware of the advantages seen by advanced Enterprise Search and act accordingly. At the same time, IT professionals must recognize that what they assume search is being used for might not always be the case for the business user.

For full results of this research, read The Gulf Between Enterprise Search, IT and Business in the Digital Workplace at sinequa.com.

About the author

Xavier Pornain

Xavier is in charge of Corporate Development, driving Strategic Alliance, mergers and acquisitions as well geographic expansions.

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