A businessman searching for work documents with her smartphone. In the background there is a desktop with a tablet and laptop computer on it - Enterprise search concept
PHOTO: Adobe

Knowledge is power. This is especially true after the disruptive events of 2020, which caused a dramatic shift to remote work. Employees need to find information on their own quickly. Organizations have an obligation to ensure that this information is readily available at the point of need.

 

Yet the reality is often not the case. Employees struggle to find the information they need to make informed decisions. There are a number of reasons for this. Employees may need to search across multiple repositories. Information could be stored in the form of unstructured data, making it hard to find. Multiple versions of a single document could exist, making it difficult to find the source of truth. Oftentimes, it can be all of the above. Knowledge-centric organizations know that tools such as intelligent search are critical for cutting through the noise and making relevant information discoverable. However, many executives don’t prioritize these types of tools. 

 

Why is enterprise search important to have? What advantages does it give to a business? By understanding why and how employees search for information, you can make the business case for a robust enterprise search solution that gives employees access to the information they need effectively and securely. 

Understand What Employees Need

Before you can make the business case for enterprise search, it’s important to understand what employees need in a search solution. What information do employees need, and why do they need it? 

 

According to Martin White, enterprise search expert and founder of Intranet Focus Ltd, there are three specific use cases for enterprise search. While not exhaustive, they cover the majority of the reasons employees look for information. Understanding the why will help you make the business case. The three cases are:

 

  1. Locating applications and business-specific information.
  2. Locating corporate announcements and policies. This can be challenging to do when multiple versions and languages exist. 
  3. Locating information that adds to what they already know about a particular product, process, or technology. (1) These can be searched using a broad range of terms, while the end user is expecting very specific responses.

Searching for information falls under the sphere of employee experience, and investing in this is fast becoming a business-critical priority. Improving the employee experience can boost productivity, which in turn leads to lower cost and higher margins. On average, employees spend nearly 2 hours a day (almost 10 hours a week) simply gathering and collecting information. (2) If businesses can provide tools that reduce the amount of time employees spend searching for information, they’ll be well-positioned to boost employee productivity. 

Give Employees Access to the Right Information

In a recent survey, nearly half of all respondents said it was challenging finding the right information when they needed it. (3) And the trouble doesn’t end once it is found. Employees must then confirm that they have the current version of any given document and ensure the data hasn’t been superseded with any newer information. 

 

It’s important that employees trust the information they receive from enterprise search. A survey found that only 28% of employees were happy with the performance of their current enterprise search applications. (4) This lack of performance can lead to low productivity and erode employees’ confidence in the technology. Your enterprise search solution can address this lack of confidence by delivering robust information quickly and effectively, through an easy-to-use interface that takes user needs into account.

Don’t Neglect Security

While making data accessible to all who need it is the goal of enterprise search, it shouldn’t come at the expense of security. Next to your organization’s specific products or services, knowledge is the most valuable asset in your organization — too valuable to ignore security.

 

Any enterprise search function should take data security into account. The most robust enterprise search solutions include strong security provisions to prevent corporate knowledge from getting into the wrong hands. With cybersecurity attacks on the rise throughout 2020, security is something that anyone looking to add an enterprise search solution to their business should take into account. (5)

Conclusion

We all live online as well as off it, both in our personal and professional lives. With institutional data being increasingly digitized, organizations need a better way to make their data accessible to employees who need access at their point of need. At the same time, organizations need strong security measures in place to ensure that data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. A robust enterprise search solution can do both: giving access to only those employees who need it.

 

Learn how Sinequa can help at sinequa.com.