A man working at his laptop with a search bar superimposed over the image - Enterprise Search Content
PHOTO: Adobe

In some shape or another, searching for information has always been a part of work. Analog processes have slowly given way to digital ones, and now search engines are ingrained in both our personal and professional lives. Yet while commercial search engines are perfectly adequate for looking up information we need in our personal lives, businesses need more.

Business information is often much more complex. Enter enterprise search. Designed to cut through both the structured and unstructured data within an organization to find relevant and accurate information, enterprise search tools are powerful technology solutions that support employees with the knowledge they need to do their jobs. When employees can find the right information at the right time, the organization benefits through increased employee satisfaction and productivity. (1)

Employees at all levels and departments can benefit from enterprise search capabilities, whether they need to look up information about a product, retrieve the resume of a potential candidate or support a customer. When exploring potential use cases one thing becomes clear: enterprise search touches, supports and benefits all organizational functions.

Use Case #1: Knowledge Management

The most obvious use case for enterprise search is locating information and gathering data. This could include primary information about a certain product or service or secondary information that complements what an employee already knows. (2) Also, as business-critical information can be fragmented across different digital platforms, it’s important that an enterprise search platform be able to find the right information across disparate systems.

All employees need the tools to do their jobs effectively. Sometimes those tools are more ephemeral — the knowledge of how to perform an action, perhaps, rather than the tool to perform the action itself. While the information might be neatly tucked away in a folder, sometimes employees need information from gathered unstructured data. Knowledge isn’t useful if it’s locked away where no one can access it.

Use Case #2: 360-Degree View

Information on issues, projects, and very specific topics can often live in silos. Without a 360-degree view of these specific topics, poor decisions are made that can have dire consequences. A pharmaceutical company developing a new drug needs to have full access to regulatory information. An investment bank needs to offer employees full access to customer and market information. A manufacturer needs to provide field engineers a unified view of issues related to a part. The biggest obstacle blocking a unified view is data scattered across systems and organizational silos.

Enterprise search can break down these silos so that an employee can quickly and easily search for a given topic, and surface all available information that they need in order to make the right decision. You don’t need a completely separate system or a custom-built data lake in order to make sense of massive amounts of disorganized information. You need a search solution that connects all of these systems, organizes data, and makes information discoverable.

Use Case #3: Locating Expertise

A recent study found that 42% of institutional knowledge was unique to individuals, meaning that when those employees were unavailable or had left their job, their co-workers were unable to do 42% of that employee’s particular job. (3) With so much knowledge and information resting with individuals, it’s imperative that workers be able to identify and connect with the right expertise. Business-critical information needs to be accessible digitally. And experts need to be found to answer questions and work on specific projects that require their skill set or knowledge.

Employees can use enterprise search to find very specific expertise within their organization who are able to speak to the data employees are looking for. By connecting employees with experts, enterprise search can still match employees with the right data — even if that data isn’t fully digitized.

Use Case #4: Customer Service

Enterprise search also has applications whose effects ripple beyond simply gathering data. One such use case is around customer service. Customers who have purchased a product or service from the businesses need to be understood, and their history with the company known. Moreover, with businesses gathering unprecedented amounts of data on their customers, there’s no reason for businesses to treat customers like strangers. Thus, customer support has an overwhelming effect on customer service. This makes enterprise search invaluable to customer support teams, who need to access information on the customers they interact with.

To give customers the attention they deserve, support teams need access to customer data, which starts with enterprise search. By making information available, businesses can take their service to the next level, combining personalization and preferred service. Customer loyalty will continue to be a major differentiation point over the coming years, as businesses fight over a limited customer base. By giving support teams easy access to information, businesses can set their customer service apart from the competition.

Use Case #5: Employee Onboarding

Employees’ onboarding experience is critical to their satisfaction. It’s also critical to the organization that they ramp up quickly and can start working in their role.

Providing new employees with a search tool that allows them to quickly surface information can help speed up their onboarding process. Time to proficiency decreases as new employees, and even existing employees learning new skills, have ready access to the expertise needed to take things to the next level.

Conclusion

Enterprise search has the power to affect large areas of the businesses. When employees can find the data they’re looking for they can better service customers, attract high-potential talent and preserve institutional knowledge. By giving the tools they need to gather information quickly and efficiently, your organization will be well-positioned to boost both the customer and employee experiences.

Learn how Sinequa can tackle your biggest use cases at sinequa.com.