Woman typing on a laptop keyboard.

Is enterprise search the next killer app?

by Julia Stuhltrager

There are many business advantages to having better access to enterprise information, but challenges remain in getting the right information into the right hands at the right time.

This flow of information impacts virtually every process of the modern enterprise; from invoices in Finance, contracts in Legal, onboarding in Human Resources, design documents in Manufacturing and Engineering, and on and on.

Virtually everyone would agree that enterprise search is a key component of optimizing this flow of information – some would say the single most important component. In fact, an AIIM1 study found 71 percent of the organizations polled to have said search is vital or essential to the productivity and effectiveness of their employees.

The not so good news

Yet that same study revealed the enterprise has a long way to go in achieving true enterprise search:
Infographic illustrating the importance of enterprise search.
Only 18 percent have some kind of cross-repository search capabilities. For the vast majority, 82 percent, enterprise search is limited to within disparate repositories (aka silos) or only basic search tools across silos of content.

And, overcoming the challenge of incorporating more content repositories for searching is not getting any easier. Besides the increasing volume of enterprise data, more and more customer information in particular resides in rising amounts of unstructured data from social media channels like Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., flowing into and out of the organization.

The study suggests that the success of content search is hugely dependent on the degree of content management in place. To me, this doesn’t go quite far enough. There are in fact an abundance of content management applications: Sharepoint, ECM systems, web content management, even content management systems born out of enterprise departmental functions such as salesforce automation, ERP financials, marketing content management, etc.

Most of these applications include some form of search mechanism specific to the way they index and store information; indeed, it is these systems that give rise to the silos of information in the first place! Some, like SharePoint, can be extended to connect to multiple content repositories. But these applications are not designed to be unified search solutions across disparate repositories, and rarely can they accommodate all company sources of information.

The more successful enterprises are already engaging experienced partners to help them re-engineer business processes, specifically to better the flow and integration of valuable information.

Team working on a project

Laying the foundation

How do we advance the state of enterprise search to foster more data-driven decisions, provide customers the information they want (in the format they require) and help increase employee productivity?

A good first step is a close examination of your business processes; the automatic classification, tagging of information and extraction of data that will make valuable enterprise content more findable. Enterprise IT definitely has a role to play. They must work closely with Line of Business managers and domain experts to help identify requirements, existing information gaps and, critically, how these new sources of information will help them be more productive.

Solutions will require more flexible infrastructure and new information applications that are adaptable and can scale quickly. But technology alone is not the answer. And how many businesses have that kind of expertise on staff—or the broader perspective, time and resources to look across and optimize their different information systems and processes?

The more successful enterprises are already engaging experienced partners to help them re-engineer business processes, to better the flow and integration of valuable information. Partners are helping companies improve customer service by linking customer-facing information systems of engagement, such as email, scanners, multifunction products, smart phones, MS Office software and more—with enterprise systems of record, such as ERP, ECM, CRM and other line-of-business applications.

Partners with deep, cross-functional experience in business processes are also well positioned to re-engineer processes with enterprise search in mind. Leveraging a partner’s expertise in the intelligent capturing, automatic classification and better integration of information into your business processes can also help you realize productivity benefits faster, without diverting your resources from revenue-generating initiatives.

And the right partner can also help you find productivity right under your nose. 

Get the right information in the right hands at the right time

Enterprise search is a key component of optimizing this flow of information – some would say the single most important component.

Recommended for you


Recommended for you

Photo of the inside of a stadium. Case Study: Philadelphia Eagles Taking information management practices from good to great
automate your busywork Article: Automate busywork to improve productivity Three focus areas for business process automation
Workers in modern office Article: Empower your digital transformation with a modern office refresh Update your workplace with the right digital technologies
1 AIIM. 12 September 2014
Close Chat
HelpChoose A Topic