The Swiftype Blog / Month: July 2017

How Swiftype Uses Swiftype: Part 3 – Office Management

I’m Lauren, the Office Manager here at Swiftype. I love our Enterprise Search product because it’s useful for so many reasons. I use it consistently throughout my day to find information.

You’d be surprised at how quickly this office goes through food and coffee (…and beer). Though if you follow us on Instagram, maybe you wouldn’t find it so surprising. Everyone has different tastes and most people are pretty vocal about their preferences. We don’t have a formal order request system—people usually just Slack or email me their suggestions and comments. And believe me, they have a lot of opinions. The Enterprise Search web app allows me to quickly reference the requests I’ve received throughout the week before I place large orders for the office, without having to scroll through channels and individual messages.

We recently tapped our kegerator and as an office rule, the person who finishes it ceremoniously picks the next beer to be ordered. But this time around, the selection ended up being a pretty unpopular option (Tecate). The office was about to riot, so I created a poll to let the people decide. After a few hours, and what I’m sure was some voter intimidation, everyone finally agreed on a new option: Racer 5.

When I placed the order, I had to be absolutely certain that Racer 5 was the final winner over Tecate, so I just searched for “Racer 5” in my Enterprise Search web app and all of our Slack and Gmail conversations came up instantly. I was even able to see the poll I created in Slack without having to hunt through our company-wide general channel to find it. Racer 5 beat Tecate 11-9. We now have a keg full of Racer 5 for the win!

On a less alcoholic note, we also get lunch catered every Monday through Thursday by Zesty, and I always let people know what’s on the menu in advance. I put each week’s options into a spreadsheet and a surprising number of people access it daily to stay up-to-date. (I’m 90% sure the most-searched term on our Enterprise Search macOS app internally is actually “Zesty”.)

There are quite a few other processes I’m responsible for in the office, but one of the most important, is onboarding our new employees. We’re constantly looking for new talent, and have been fortunate to find some great people and continue to grow at a steady rate. As a result, I’ve had several new employees to onboard since I joined the team. Because we deal with some very sensitive and secure information, our onboarding procedures also have to follow the requirements outlined by our Security Officer. Our Enterprise Search product helps me uncomplicate this process a lot. We have a shared Confluence document outlining our onboarding processes, but they refer to a number of Jira tickets we have set up, as well as Google Docs, Dropbox files, Slack channels, and more. Not all of the docs are included in the Confluence post, so without Enterprise Search I would still have to do a fair amount of searching through other applications to find the right files. Fortunately the Browser Extension shows me all related onboarding content without me having to hunt through each of our apps individually.

The process looks something like this:

  1. Email our Security Officer to give him a heads up that we’re adding someone new to our database.
  2. Add the new person to our HR database sheet in Google Docs.
  3. Create a new Jira ticket for the new user. Usually I can do this from a template we already have, which is already populated in the Swiftype Browser Extension, so all I have to do is click on the result to go directly to the Jira ticket template.
  4. Conduct a background check—these are housed in a repository that very few people actually have access to. But Enterprise Search uses my credentials and knows exactly which folders I can access and which I can’t so all the background check documents are populated in my Browser Extension.
  5. Set up corporate accounts for the new employee—like Gmail and Slack. Once I set them up in our Google Accounts Directory, Enterprise Search can use that information to populate their contact details, and read them as a user in our organization instead of a lead.
  6. Print out the employee handbook for them. This lives in Dropbox, at the end of a tree of folders. Instead of having to go into Dropbox and click through every single folder, I can run a quick search for “employee handbook” in the MacOS app and find it instantly.

Once all of this is complete, I can hand off the onboarding process to Finance, Tech Ops, and the new employee’s hiring manager, knowing they have everything they need for a smooth first day.

My responsibilities at Swiftype are diverse, span multiple teams, and often need to be completed as quickly as possible. Using Swiftype Enterprise Search everyday helps me stay on top of all of my to-dos by giving me immediate access to all the information and tools I need to get the job done. Instead of wasting time searching for the right documents in dozens of different apps, I can find everything instantly!

Try it for yourself – you can sign up for a free trial here!

Set Your Web Developers Free with Better Enterprise Search

David Walsh is a Senior Software Engineer and evangelist for Mozilla. He also runs a wildly popular eponymous blog for web developers, where he writes about topics ranging from how to create GitHub pull requests to reviews of web hosting services. In a recent post, David detailed his evaluation and implementation of a third-party website search alternative, which you can read here. During his evaluation, however, David discovered the vendor’s enterprise search solution and shared his thoughts.

The Cloud Means (Tricky) Business

The explosion of cloud-based apps and storage solutions is nothing new. Everyone, from retailers to media companies and governments to healthcare organizations, have made the move to the cloud. It’s become so prevalent that it’s no longer a trend, it’s just how things are now done.

However, what the cloud has done, which David so eloquently stated in his quote above, is make it incredibly easy to save content without ever thinking about it’s actual location.

Yeah, it gets tricky fast. In fact, ZDNet wrote that “the average medium- to large-sized business is actually using between 300 and 400 cloud apps.” That’s incredible, and incredibly daunting if you’re trying to find something — or if you’re a developer.

Where did I see that thing about that stuff?

Enterprise search is a fairly recent need, and the prevalence of cloud-based apps makes it even more of a strategic corporate imperative. Enterprise developers are ultimately on the hook, since search is the key to helping every employee work smarter and faster.

In David’s post, he points the finger at the proliferation of these specialized web services for making enterprise search such a bear. Just your marketing team alone might be using Slack, Dropbox, Marketo, Salesforce, and Zendesk. And people today are more likely to just assume search will help them find what they’re seeking. Alexa, where’s the sales development plan for western Pennsylvania?

If only it were that easy!

So, yes, as you’re now considering all the apps your company uses (and that you’re aware of!), you’re likely echoing David’s words: “Where the hell do we find anything?”

Make Search Your Enterprise Productivity Accelerator

As with most technical tasks, implementing enterprise search likely falls to departmental teams initially. Sales Operations or Marketing Operations might take the lead for their teams, but then IT should ultimately get involved. It is enterprise search, after all. And, it is a shortcut to helping employees work faster and smarter.

For developers, working faster and smarter means removing the burden of enterprise search foundational tasks, like API configurations. That’s where a good enterprise search solution saves huge amounts of time and budget compared with trying to develop a search solution on your own.

Packaged enterprise search solutions let you choose from dozens of prebuilt connectors to speed and simplify a comprehensive enterprise search. If a pre-built connector isn’t available, APIs should enable you to create a secure and unique endpoint in just a few clicks. It should be that easy. Enterprise search vendors put their R&D dollars and efforts into making search easier to implement, configure, and administer, and you reap the rewards!

As you look for a vendor, there are two key productivity outcomes of a good enterprise search solution. Your first goal is to help employees quickly find what they need, which increases productivity. Your second goal is giving developers get more control and more productivity for themselves by choosing a search that’s both easier to configure and provides better results for employees.

Solve for Search, then Move On

IT and operations developers struggle to appease the demands of a wide range of internal customers, from sales, service, content, and marketing teams trying to drive revenue and please customers to executives, finance, auditors, and others trying to run the business. But the nirvana of enterprise search hits smack into the reality of integrating dozens and dozens of local and cloud repositories.

While you can build your own custom enterprise search, it’s never going to be as good as a commercial search solution designed to work out-of-the-box with hundreds of existing cloud and SaaS solutions.

“Instead of rolling your own search,” as David put it in his blog post, take a look at some of the available alternatives. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you find, and you might be shocked that the best solution for you doesn’t come from one of the giants who are synonymous with “search.”

Want to learn more about Swiftype Enterprise Search? Watch this video for a quick overview or connect with our team if you’d like to chat live.

Swiftype Through the Eyes of an Intern 👀

Hi, I’m Kara! I am a marketing intern here at Swiftype.

July 12 marked one full month of working as a marketing intern at Swiftype and it has been a very rewarding month, to say the least. This isn’t your typical internship where you show up to work begrudgingly expecting to be at your desk twirling your thumbs all day; or pick up coffee for your supervisor; or simply record minutes at meetings.

To be honest, it has been the complete opposite of that here at Swiftype. I graduated from Cal Poly Pomona on June 11 and flew back that night, then started the very next morning on June 12. I have basically been ambushed with a significant workload since Day 1. (Note: I definitely painted Swiftype as an evil company, but I promise it is not as vile as I make it sound. I was actually excited to start.)

The excitement wasn’t for nothing. Swiftype has far surpassed my expectations. Even though I’ve only been in this seat for one month, Swiftype has already brought me so much knowledge about marketing, tech startups, and marketing at tech startups. Every single person in the office strongly believes in the power of our products and care about my future career. I am very hands-on with projects — including assisting with advertising on podcasts, creating social media posts (and this blog), finding leads and sorting them in Salesforce, monitoring the website using Google Analytics and Moz, creating emails in Marketo, etc — and can confidently say that I contribute to the success of Swiftype. The company has done a great job in marrying personal growth and responsibility into this internship position. Not an easy feat.

Working at Swiftype is not all hard work. I genuinely enjoy coming into the office everyday because of the collaborative atmosphere, beautiful office and view, thrill of a new sale, wall filled with snacks, catered breakfast and lunch, and random Nerf gun bullets flying over my head. Not to mention last Thursday, which was my first Happy Hour/Game Night at the office. There was light hearted music and laughter yet cutthroat rivalry from the company-wide shuffleboard tournament, which more-or-less reflects the company persona.

Swiftype is truly an incredible company and I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to begin my marketing career here.

Think you’d be a great fit for the Swiftype team? Check out our openings and let us know if there’s a position that’s perfect for you!

The Heat is On for Software Developers: Enterprise Search Can Help

Most of us can relate to something coder Sean Hickey posted to his Medium account a few years back. Here’s the gist of it: In Year One, they stick to a very tight and succinct coding style. As the years progress, most coders take things to higher and higher levels, writing longer and more detailed strings of code. Eventually, they become so experienced and efficient that by Year Ten, they’re back to square one, writing short, sweet programs that work like more complex ones.  

But one of his commenters made me laugh out loud, with this response: “The Twentieth Year: “Hey John, can you write me that Hello World program? I need it by tomorrow.”’

Yup, we’ve all been there. The pace of everything in business has increased over the past few decades, and software developers and engineers are not immune to its effects. How often have you heard, “I need it yesterday!”

This Ain’t Your Grandad’s IT Department: Supply and Demand Rules

Higher consumer demand has led to an evolution in all aspects of business. For the modern software developer this means shorter project cycles, improved software tools, a higher focus on team collaboration, and the more prolific use of open source software. And while software development tools have improved, there are now also a lot more of them, and each one does something different.

In fact, the number and types of apps being built today is more than has been built in the last 40 years. Today, there’s an open source library for pretty much everything—and if you can’t find what you need, you create it.

Collaboration Is A Double-Edged Sword: Increased Efficiency AND Increased Data

Project timelines have sped up and collaboration has increased. Whereas most coding projects were solo endeavors 20-25 years ago, today most enterprises function in a highly collaborative manner. Projects filter through many departments and cycles are measured in minutes and hours rather than days and weeks.

Creating “one size fits all” applications from scratch is no longer optimal due to the fact that they can be complex, drawn out, poorly designed, and take years to complete. Instead, developers now look to open-source libraries to create applications that can easily integrate with other solutions, including third-party SaaS services. And while APIs make it simpler to complete these integrations, that also means the numbers of APIs to keep track of and systems to monitor have grown exponentially.

The best part of this “ease of integration” is that it has opened up new sharing capacity: Whereas systems at one time were focused on a centralized database (such as with desktop software), today aggregating to the cloud is the norm, and software is being designed to be easily shared and widely distributed, mostly due to increased demand from consumers and mobile employees.

Needless to say, it can be difficult to keep track of all the content created on a daily basis, as well as manage all the different duties of a software engineer all at once. And that’s where internal search helps increase productivity.

How Cloud-Based, Internal Search Helps Keep Software Developers On Track

As you might imagine, our developers use enterprise search tools frequently. Using our own  Enterprise Search solution internally even allows our developers to address customer service issues in record time, closing some tickets in seconds by quickly cross-referencing with other clients’ information requests via search—surely that’s one for the record books! With tickets in Jira, solutions in Github, and the conversation about it all in Slack, giving developers one tool to find everything can save them a ton of time.

Enterprise search lets developers quickly inspect why certain changes are being made, tracks important and potentially disparate data, and provides the context necessary to rapidly understand a new project. No more wasting time on email streams or knocking on office doors for explanations.

Working with design teams (and their MANY changes) is easier with enterprise search as well. A frequent complaint we hear from developers is that they often don’t know why they are building something or what the end goal is. With all the information about a project easily searchable—from the first creative brief to the final code—no one is left in the dark. Using simple but powerful search queries means hours aren’t wasted wading through Dropbox or Slack. Instead, when a request from marketing comes in, developers can source all the digital assets spread over whichever apps are in use on that project.

The heat is definitely on for software developers, and it’s only getting hotter. If you’d like to explore how Swiftype Enterprise Search could help take the pressure off your team, don’t hesitate to reach out.

How to Win at Business With Real-time Search Analytics

Big Data has definitely grown up and shed its “buzzword” status. The fact that Google processes more than five billion searches every 24 hours is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the reams of data flying around at any given minute, and it explains why real-time search analytics are rapidly gaining importance.

What exactly is Real-Time Analytics and How Does It Relate to Search?

Real-Time Analytics, at its most basic, is knowing—and acting upon—events happening in your business when they are occurring. In the good old days, consumer data was parsed, processed, stored, and analyzed well after the fact. The data was still good; it was just old.

Couple that with the fact that today’s searchers expect immediate results. They want an organization to be proactive rather than reactive. Real-time search analytics allows you to accomplish that by providing a “real-life/real-time” picture of how your users engage with your site and your site search platform.

And since search is one of the clearest ways to determine exactly what your audience wants, having access to measurable and actionable search data, trends, pain points, or issues—in real time—brings huge value to businesses and drives increased, timely competition. Organizations are able to drive new business opportunities and revenue streams  as well as increase profits, grow customer bases and improve overall customer service. So how do you put real-time search analytics to use?

Ensure the Right Content is Reaching Your Customers

With 200+ million people using ad blockers today, getting your messaging to the right eyeballs has never been more difficult. And as for business decision makers? Eighty percent of them prefer to learn about you via content versus ads. Real-time analytics allows you to immediately track what people are searching, and then identify gaps where users are searching but not finding. This info provides insights around what content you should—and shouldn’t—be creating and shows you immediately if information is resonating (or not).

Track Clickthroughs and Conversions

Any good, real-time site search solution should provide you with analytics to track clickthroughs and conversions. This helps you understand what your users are searching for, clicking on, and engaging with—while they are still on your site—and exactly which of those actions leads to conversions.

Here at Swiftype, as you can see in the image below, you can also track which autocomplete queries are most popular, and what content was most commonly chosen from the autocomplete suggestions:


Analyze Patterns and Predict Interest

Real-Time Analytics allows you have the data you need, at your fingertips, while those searches, clickthroughs, and conversions are actually happening. This affords you the opportunity to more accurately and rapidly tease out trends, set business goals and benchmarks, and develop laser-focused articles, white papers, eBooks, or case studies. Setting this trend for proactivity rather than reactivity helps businesses stay ahead of the competition.  

There’s a great quote that tradesmen use: “Measure twice, cut once.” Speed is a wonderful thing, but accuracy is even better. And now, with technology, we can have both. Having access to real-time search data not only helps you get the right content in front of the right eyeballs, resulting in satisfied customers and searchers, but it also helps your teams know what content to produce, when to produce it, and why it’s important to customers. The end result? Greater productivity and efficiency, and content creators have the information and guidance they need to get it right the first time.

Learn more about what Swiftype analytics can do by digging in and starting a free trial today.

4 Steps to Finding the Right Modern Enterprise Search Solution

Evaluating a modern enterprise search solution
Managing your internal data is not an easy task. As your organization’s amount of information grows, productivity can be directly tied to your employees’ ability to find the right information in a timely and effortless manner. With the proliferation of specialized productivity tools, employees are forced to hunt from repository to repository to find the right information – from documents in Dropbox, to customer information in Salesforce, to projects in Jira.

That data is growing at a tremendous rate, and organizations are focusing more of their efforts on increasing employee productivity. 26% of organizations saw their content management budget grow over 10% in the past year.

Having an internal enterprise search solution gives employees the ability to find the most relevant information across all the cloud applications they use on a daily basis, and keeps knowledge workers productive.

4 Steps to Evaluating Your Next Enterprise Search Solution

The Aberdeen Group, widely known as a leader in the research and analysis of information technology and products, has assembled a guide to outline the 4 steps you should take when evaluating an enterprise search solution for your organization:

  1. Let the Search Technology Do the Work
  2. Make It Personal and Secure
  3. Search Using Artificial Intelligence Technologies
  4. Leverage the Cloud to Simplify Administration

The guide is meant to help your organization find the right enterprise search solution to give your employees the most relevant content at their fingertips, whenever they need it. After all, there is a lot to consider with enterprise search. Offering your employees a cloud-based platform that incorporates machine learning and natural language processing technologies, as well as one that respects your org’s role based access permissions and security policies will give them the best chance to reduce frustration and increase their productivity.

You can download the full guide here.

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