Here’s the thing when it comes to search: Searchers are human beings. They’re not looking for “data” or irrelevant search results. They’re looking for the right information in the fastest time possible. And they usually want it yesterday.
This applies just as much (if not more) to enterprise search as it does to general search. If you’re over the age of 30—heck, I remember the Dewey Decimal System—you’ll recall manual, hard copy searching. While Intranets have been around since the 70’s, for decades there wasn’t much of anything you could call innovation.
Having onsite hardware was expensive and something only the largest companies tended to invest in. And it didn’t function all that well, which wasted a ton of time that could have been spent on more productive (and financially beneficial) work.
Thankfully those days, for the most part, are over—Google, cloud computing, and big data have been three key drivers in the evolution of enterprise search. The humble Intranet of yore feels positively archaic compared to enterprise search systems of today: cloud based, instant, individualized, and predictive.
But as technology catches up to consumers’ habits, those habits evolve, and the technology needs to follow—or better yet, lead the way.
Welcome to the Future of Enterprise Search
There are exciting days ahead for the future of enterprise search. Let’s take a look.
Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing: While machines haven’t taken over just yet, machine learning is creating systems that can identify relationships between search terms and words that pre-defined word/grammar rules-based tools miss. Basically, “teaching” the system how to be human. In the case of collaborative (or conversational) search, the computer effectively learns enough about the searcher to create a feedback loop of search results, allowing the system to “assume” the searcher is looking for X or Y based on the context of previous searches. The result? More accurate search results and less time wasted wading through “not quite right” content.
Visual Search: What with the Internet and the social web, videos, pictures, graphs, and memes, our world has become exponentially more visual. And whether you’re searching for diagrams, tables, images, data plots, people, or—in the case of medicine—a diagnosis, image recognition technology is going to see some real growth.
Voice Search: “Siri, what time is it?” You’ve done it, and so have 50 percent of American teenagers, and more than 40 percent of U.S. adults. Digital assistants are fairly commonplace these days, and tech companies are tripping over each other to be first out of the gate when it comes to making voice search smarter, more functional, and more responsive. Artificial Intelligence technology is also “learning” to understand intent and context in voice search and to take into consideration variables such as location and search history.
So what’s next for enterprise IT?
Zorawar Biri Singh is kind of a big deal when it comes to the future of search related tech, having worked as head of cloud for IBM, HP, and CTO of Cisco. He sees “people-centric digitization,” or being able to “look across enterprises and uncover deeply embedded human workflows, both implicit and explicit—the ‘contracts’ that determine how organizations and culture transform” as a natural next step.
Enterprise search software should be considered a critical part of your organization’s functionality. The overall efficiency of your corporate policies and procedures—not to mention your employees’ productivity levels—depend on having a robust enterprise search platform in place.
Want to learn more about how enterprise search can make your team more productive than ever before? Request a demo with the Swiftype team today and they can walk you through it!