What is enterprise search?

Alan Yiu


In the ever-expanding digital landscape of modern organizations, ensuring employees have access to efficient information retrieval has become a cornerstone of productivity and collaboration.

This blog post is a guide to understanding the power of a tool that can transform data chaos into a well-organized collection at your fingertips. We will delve into its evolution, how it works, and its remarkable benefits. We will also emphasize critical considerations in selecting the right enterprise search software.

What is enterprise search?

The primary goal of enterprise search is to enable users to access the information they need to perform their jobs quickly and effectively. It surfaces information and data within an organization's internal systems, databases, and repositories. Imagine it as a personal workplace assistant, sifting through a goldmine of documents, emails, reports, customer records, and product data to retrieve what's needed.

It answers familiar questions like, "Where's that report I need for the meeting?" or "What did the marketing team say about our new product launch?". With enterprise search, these answers are just a few keystrokes away. Companies can enhance productivity, reduce information silos, and improve collaboration. They can ensure critical information is readily available to employees across different departments and functions.

Moreover, enterprise search tools are designed to handle the unique challenges of locating information within a complex corporate environment. They explore solutions with scalability to accommodate large datasets and the ability to connect to various data sources and file formats. 

These tools often provide advanced features like faceted search, content classification, real-time indexing, and predictive search suggestions. These streamline the search process and deliver more accurate results. At its core, enterprise search is the organizational secret that turbocharges productivity and sparks collaboration.

Benefits of enterprise search solution

  • Improved productivity and efficiency: Enterprise search solutions and tools provide quick access to an organization's wide range of information, documents, and data sources. This ensures that employees can find the information as and when needed. It leads to increased efficiency and productivity.
    For instance, a law firm might use an enterprise search solution to locate relevant case precedents and legal documents. That will enable lawyers to provide clients with more timely and practical legal advice.
  • Enhanced collaboration and knowledge sharing: Enterprise search solutions and tools facilitate collaboration by allowing employees to share documents, expertise, and knowledge. It fosters a culture of collaboration and helps avoid redundancy at work. 

For example, a healthcare institution might use it to create a comprehensive repository of medical research papers and treatment protocols. It will facilitate collaboration among healthcare professionals and improve patient care.

  • Better decision-making: Access to comprehensive and up-to-date information empowers decision-makers to make informed choices. They can analyze data, trends, and relevant documents more effectively.
    A retail company can use enterprise search tools to interpret customer data and sales trends. It will help executives make data-driven decisions about inventory management, marketing strategies, and product development.
  • Compliance and risk mitigation: Enterprise search helps organizations ensure compliance with industry regulations and internal policies. This is because they provide easy access to relevant documents and records.
    Additionally, they can incorporate security features to control access and protect sensitive information. Financial institutions, for instance, can use such systems and tools to quickly retrieve and audit financial records to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Enhanced customer experience: Enterprise search solutions and tools enable employees to speedily access customer data, product information, and relevant documents.
    It leads to improved customer service, faster resolutions, and increased customer satisfaction. An example is a tech company using the system to help customer support agents troubleshoot issues more quickly by improving access to technical documents.
  • Cost savings: Reducing costs associated with manual information retrieval, duplicated efforts, and inefficient processes becomes easy. Organizations can achieve cost savings over time by streamlining information management.

For example, a manufacturing company may use enterprise search to eliminate the need for redundant product design documentation, reducing production errors and associated costs.

Enterprise search tools possess the transformative ability to streamline operations and empower decision-makers. 

Like potent instruments that simplify complex tasks, these solutions and tools efficiently connect people with the information they need. It fosters collaboration, compliance, and cost savings. These assets are invaluable in the ever-evolving business and technology landscape. They help organizations achieve their goals and thrive in a data-driven world.

Key factors to consider while choosing an enterpise search solution

Here are eight critical considerations to guide your decision-making process, with added emphasis on privacy, connectors, and AI features.

  • Assess data compatibility: Start by identifying all the data sources within your organization. These may include structured data in databases, unstructured data in file systems, cloud-based documents, and even data within emails and collaboration tools.
    Ensure your enterprise search solution seamlessly integrates with and searches across these diverse data repositories. Privacy and security should be paramount, especially when dealing with sensitive information.
  • Enhanced search experience: Intelligent recommendation features are critical in modern enterprise search solutions. These features leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze user behavior and content interactions.
    They can suggest relevant documents, people, or topics based on the user's context, past searches, and preferences. By integrating intelligent recommendations, you can significantly improve the search experience, encourage knowledge sharing, and help users discover valuable insights more quickly.
  • User adoption: An intuitive and user-friendly interface ensures users can efficiently navigate the enterprise search system. For example, Glean boasts a clean, well-organized interface that provides a familiar search bar and filters.
    It makes it easy for users to initiate searches and refine results. Intuitive features like auto-suggestions, instant previews, and clickable filters can enhance the user experience. Emphasize user-centric design to maximize user adoption.
  • Versatile search capabilities: Enterprise search software should support various search types to meet user needs. These include full-text search, faceted search, fuzzy search, and natural language search. Robust connectors ensure that diverse data sources are accessible within the system.
  • Data-driven insights: Analytics tools in enterprise search software like Glean provide valuable insights into how users interact with the system. These insights can include search query patterns, popular content, user engagement metrics, and more.
    Robust reporting capabilities allow you to identify areas for improvement, tailor search results to user needs, and optimize content organization. Consider whether the software offers pre-built analytics reports and customizable dashboards to meet your organization's analytical requirements.
  • Granular access control: Role-based access control (RBAC) ensures that users access only the information they are authorized to view. Defining roles and permissions based on job responsibilities and data sensitivity levels is crucial.
    RBAC protects sensitive information and aligns with regulatory compliance requirements like HIPAA and GDPR. Evaluate the software's RBAC features and ensure they provide the granularity needed to enforce access control.
  • Data protection: Enterprise search software should employ robust security measures to protect your organization's data. Such protection includes encryption, authentication, and compliance with relevant data protection regulations and industry standards.
    Ensure that it offers data masking and redaction features. It is helpful if you deal with sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII). Prioritize privacy and compliance to maintain data integrity.
  • Total cost of ownership (TCO): Evaluate the pricing structure, including licensing fees, maintenance costs, and scalability costs. Look for additional charges for features like advanced analytics, customizations, or training.  

Assess whether the pricing meets your budget constraints while delivering your organization's required features and capabilities.

Success in implementing an effective enterprise search strategy can only be achieved by fostering uniform practices among all team members, routinely updating documents, and harnessing the capabilities of knowledge management software. This harmonious blend is the key to unlocking a thriving enterprise search strategy.

Wondering how Glean has made its enterprise search solution exceptional? Schedule a demo! Not ready yet? Head over to our resource center to read more.

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