Evaluating and selecting a suitable enterprise search engine for your organization can be an onerous task. The selection process has become even more challenging recently with the enterprise search revolution that has been kindled by cloud, advanced machine language learning techniques (ML), data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.
But we must give these technologies their proper dues—modern enterprise search engines (also known as cognitive search engines) have evolved into sophisticated tools that provide intelligent responses and thoughtful insight based on hard facts, rather than simply delivering an endless list of search queries results.
Enterprise searching – simplicity with smarts
The best enterprise search solutions will expedite finding specific information and records within large repositories of data distributed onto different databases and data sources—all linking the intuitive relevant information across multiple back-end indexed files.
And all of this transpires without the end-user having to separately log in to each and every data source to perform a judicious search—with the sole enterprise searching access point being the true source of authorized entry.
‘Must-have’ enterprise searching features
The following list is an overview of the prime features and capabilities an organization needs to ponder when researching a powerful enterprise search experience.
- Enterprise Search Capabilities: This is the core ability everyone needs to work properly—keywords and key phrases are familiar segments of the searching experience, and a query parser will translate these parameters into a sophisticated algorithm that will intelligently search across multiple data stores.
- User Interface Experience and Capabilities: While a powerful enterprise back-end search engine is vital for its operational ability, end-users will only see the front-end user interface. There are enterprise search offerings that provide customizable UI functionality and even import features that can define a UI from older searching systems instead of having to create it afresh.
- Data Import: Data source connectors are an essential piece of the smart searching function. An important question for any searching solution is not whether the solution supports the most data connectors but whether it will support the data sources an organization is likely to deploy in the future.
- Operational Abilities: Capacity and scalability are important differentiators among enterprise search solutions. Can the system successfully scale to the current and planned end-user base, and will adding resource capacity be completed without notable downtime? High availability, disaster recovery for continuity planning, and remote system monitoring capabilities are all important too.
- Authentication and Authorization: Enterprise search connectivity to influential security technologies like LDAP, Active Directory, Kerberos, and SSO supporting systems is crucial to a solution’s security capabilities. Role-based authorization and document-level security rules must be available, configurable, and accountable.
- Data Analytics Capabilities: End-user usage analytics will allow system implementers and monitoring staff to examine and investigate how users interact with the enterprise search – and even drill down to the individual user level. This aptitude will allow the implementation team to understand how well the enterprise searching engine achieves its conversion goals and how changes in such metrics occur over time. All this information will basically feedback into the process of ‘fine-tuning’ the enterprise engine, so it can maximize its capabilities to the end-user base.
In addition to these features, identifying and selecting the right vendor with a proven track record and experience supporting organizations to deploy enterprise search solutions is necessary. A vendor is more than an implementer but a business partner that will help design and configure an enterprise search solution that will suit the organization’s needs.
It’s all well and good to intelligently search enormous quantities of data and information—but how do you define the added value that enterprise searching can provide?
The successful implementation of a suitable enterprise search solution will guarantee an increase in employee productivity. And an increase in employee productivity will always be a blessing to any organization, its shareholders, and the economy.
A substantial initial investment will be required for a new data management enterprise search system, and it may not initially appear to be attractive at first, but the short and long-term benefits will far outweigh the costs.