A complete guide to intranet search engines in 2024

Alan Yiu


Efficient access to information within an organization is not just a luxury; it's a necessity. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, employees spend an average of 1.8 hours every day searching for and gathering information. That's nearly 10 hours a week per employee, a staggering loss of productive time. Additionally, IDC reports that companies forfeit almost $2.5 million annually due to employees struggling to find the information they need.

In this article, we'll explore the crucial role of an intranet search engine in addressing these challenges and revolutionizing the way organizations manage their internal knowledge.

What is an intranet search engine?

An intranet search engine is a specialized tool designed to help employees swiftly and accurately locate internal company information within an organization's intranet. Unlike the chaotic expanses of the internet, intranet search engines are finely tuned for precision and relevance within the corporate sphere.

Benefits of intranet search engines

An intranet search engine like Glean offers numerous advantages that significantly impact organizational efficiency and employee satisfaction.

  • Centralized information repository: Glean serves as a centralized hub where all company information, from critical announcements to onboarding materials, is stored in one easily accessible location. This consolidation eliminates the hassle of navigating various websites, log-ins, and passwords. It simplifies the user experience.
  • Organized data: Every piece of content is automatically structured and tagged, making it effortlessly searchable. Employees can quickly find essential information, reducing the time spent on fruitless searches.
  • Content management: Glean's intranet software goes beyond storage; it supports comprehensive content management and the ability to add them as collections. Documents, blog posts, FAQs, and more are readily available, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Data security: Glean ensures that sensitive corporate data remains secure. With role-based access controls and permission management, the right employees will have access to the right information while keeping sensitive data protected.
  • Employee engagement: Glean's intranet solution features employee directories, email addresses, and messaging capabilities. These encourage seamless communication, which helps teams connect and collaborate effortlessly.
  • Efficiency boost: Easy access to information means less time wasted searching for documents or data. This efficiency boost allows employees to focus on what truly matters — productive work.
  • Corporate culture enhancement: A user-friendly intranet, like Glean, fosters a sense of belonging among employees. It's not just a tool; it's the company's digital face. It creates a positive corporate culture.

Challenges of intranet life

Here are some common challenges associated with company intranets:

  • Information overload: This challenge arises when overwhelming amounts of documents and data are stored within the intranet. With such a vast quantity of information, employees may struggle to pinpoint the specific data they need. It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
  • Inconsistent tagging: Metadata tagging involves assigning keywords or labels to documents to categorize and organize them. When tagging is inconsistent or poorly done, it can lead to inaccuracies in search results. For instance, if documents are not tagged consistently, some relevant copies may not show up in search queries, or irrelevant ones may appear.
  • Incompatible systems: Companies often use different software for varied purposes, such as HR management, document storage, and communication tools. These systems may not seamlessly integrate with the intranet. This lack of integration can result in inefficiencies, as employees must navigate various platforms to access information.
  • Outdated content: Intranets require ongoing maintenance and updates. Neglected intranets can accumulate obsolete information over time. Accessing outdated content can lead to errors, confusion, and wasted time.
  • Lack of cross-referencing: Cross-referencing involves linking related pieces of information together. Users may miss valuable context or related content when this is not done effectively. For example, an intranet might contain a training manual, but without cross-references, users may not easily find related FAQs or updates associated with that manual.
  • Disorganized search results: Well-structured and relevant search results are essential for a positive user experience. Poorly presented search results may frustrate users. They might have to sift through irrelevant information or struggle to understand the order of results, which can hinder productivity.
  • Time-consuming search: A slow or inefficient search function wastes employees' time. They may need to wait for search results to load or spend excessive time refining their queries to find what they need. This time waste can accumulate across the organization, impacting overall productivity.
  • Irrelevant results: Search results should be tailored to individual roles and information needs. If search algorithms do not consider an employee's specific context or responsibilities, that person may receive results that are irrelevant to his/her job. That can lead to frustration and inefficiency.
  • Lack of search expertise: Not all employees are proficient at using search functions effectively. Some may struggle to formulate queries or understand how to use advanced search features. In such cases, even a well-designed intranet remains underutilized due to a lack of search expertise among users.

These challenges highlight the significance of having a robust intranet search engine and actively managing and optimizing the intranet's content, structure, and user experience.

Doing so will address these issues and provide employees with a seamless and productive knowledge-sharing environment.

Key features of Glean's intranet search engine solution

Glean's intranet search engine offers a range of vital features that empower organizations to take control of their knowledge management.

  • Comprehensive indexing: Glean aggregates data from multiple sources and presents it in a well-organized manner, ensuring that employees always have access to the information most relevant to them.
  • Seamless integration: Glean connects back-office systems seamlessly with content management, creating a unified and efficient experience.
  • Federated search: Employees can simultaneously search for information across various sources, from executive briefs to cloud-based applications.
  • Speed: Glean's rapid search engine provides instant access to critical information, saving employees valuable time.
  • Customization: Tailor Glean to your organization's specific needs. Ensure that it aligns perfectly with your workflow.
  • Natural language processing: Glean understands natural language nuances and partial word matches. It makes search queries more intuitive.
  • Ranking and personalization: Prioritize search results based on business rules and employee roles, ensuring that the most relevant information surfaces first.
  • AI-driven personalization: Leverage AI-driven personalization to customize search experiences. It enhances employee satisfaction and efficiency.
  • Search analytics: Gain valuable insights into what employees search for, enabling data-driven decisions and improving the intranet's functionality.


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Intranet search engines like Glean are not just tools. They are catalysts for improved efficiency and employee engagement within organizations. By centralizing information, streamlining access, and providing powerful search capabilities, Glean empowers companies to make the most of their internal knowledge. It ultimately leads to higher productivity and enhanced corporate culture. Embrace the future of knowledge management with Glean and unlock your organization's full potential. Get a demo today.

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