05.07.2021 | Blog Myths about Enterprise Search

Many prejudices circulate about enterprise search: Costly acquisition, complex implementation, nothing for medium-sized businesses. IntraFind CEO Franz Kögl highlights the most common misconceptions and dispels them.
The “enterprise Google” and other prejudices

Although enterprise search software has long been established at many companies and government agencies, misconceptions about this tool still prevail elsewhere. Here are the most common of these:

1. Enterprise Search is an "enterprise Google": For example, many equate enterprise search with the search engines they know from their personal lives. At first glance, there are indeed some external similarities. However, on closer inspection, the two are fundamentally different. An Internet search engine crawls websites and ranks its hits according to link frequency, among other things. Enterprise search, on the other hand, determines its hits according to real content relevance. In addition, it searches not so much Internet pages, but primarily various internal data sources such as file servers, email systems or intranets and linked external sources such as specialist databases. Modern enterprise search offers more than the basic full-text search of web search engines. For example, it determines its autocomplete suggestions from the content and not from other users' search queries. Other important differences: The search algorithm of an enterprise search is not a black box, but transparent and can be influenced by administrators. Last but not least, it must meet significantly higher security requirements. Employees are only shown hits that they are authorized to see.

2. Many data sources must be connected immediately. The motto "think big - start small" often applies here. For the sake of successful implementation, it may be advisable to start small and index only a manageable amount of data, i.e., to connect it to the search engine - for example, only some parts of the file servers. Even then, enterprise search can be of great benefit. Subsequently, additional data sources can be connected step by step and the enterprise search application can be rolled out to more and more colleagues.

3. The implementation is time consuming. Professional enterprise search software has numerous standard connectors that enable uncomplicated connection to a wide variety of data sources. It can be installed in a few hours and, with normal requirements, can be connected to the desired data sources very quickly thanks to its standard connectors. As peak values, there are cases where within four hours the software was installed and two million documents were indexed. After the installation, only the administrator had to be briefly trained.

4. Enterprise search is costly. The acquisition of a high-quality enterprise search of course means an investment. However, there are clear ROI calculations that show that the acquisition costs are quickly recouped through increased employee efficiency. In addition, the operating costs are low with a professional solution. A real-world example: A company introduced an enterprise search application for service employees. Internal measurements showed that even experienced service hotline employees who already knew where to look found the necessary information up to eleven times faster with the help of the search engine. This one use case alone amortized the costs for the entire acquisition within nine months. For new and inexperienced employees, the results are even more positive.

5. Enterprise search is only for large companies. The central added value of enterprise search lies in enormous time savings, better use of existing knowledge, and thus in more efficient work. Even in medium-sized companies, there is usually far too much data for every employee to always know where information is stored or what its current status is. In addition, modern enterprise search software is AI-based and can therefore not only find information, but also analyze it and create meaningful links between it. Thanks to these features and the possible lean implementation projects, medium-sized companies can benefit from enterprise search just as much as large companies and corporations.

If organizations rely on the right software and the right provider, implementation is neither complicated nor time-consuming, and the acquisition costs are quickly amortized. Enterprise search enables companies and government agencies to efficiently manage knowledge across all enterprise data sources and is an indispensable part of any digital workplace.

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The author

Franz Kögl
Franz Kögl is co-founder and co-owner of IntraFind Software AG and has more than 20 years of experience in Enterprise Search and Content Analytics.
Franz Kögl