The Swiftype Blog / Month: August 2017

Swiftype Goes Platinum for HighEdWeb


It’s undeniable that colleges and universities face unique web and tech issues. A university’s website is an important intersection for its varied audiences who are all looking for different information. These diverse audiences create diverse challenges. Why not learn from and collaborate with other brilliant higher education web professionals to solve these problems?

Why HighEdWeb?

Join Swiftype at the annual HighEdWeb Conference in Hartford, CT this October. HighEdWeb is the premiere event created by and for higher education web professionals. Whether you’re a web developer, marketer, programmer, web manager, designer or writer you’ll be able to take advantage of this event’s unmatched professional development.

You’ll have endless opportunities to learn, share, and expand your professional network over a four-day period. Reconnect and meet new peers at the kick-off Welcome Reception at City Steam on Sunday 10/8. Jump start your conference by selecting from 100+ high-quality sessions, presentations, and keynotes featuring internationally-recognized speakers. Explore the expo hall and learn about the latest tech available to solve web challenges currently facing the higher ed community. And finally pop into the Big Social Event on the final conference evening at the Connecticut Science Center where you’ll be able to explore four floors containing 150 hands-on exhibits.

The HighEdWeb Conference is hosted by the Higher Education Web Professionals Association: an international organization of web professionals working at varied institutions of higher education. While their highly-active community is year-round, everything annually culminates at the HighEdWeb Conference.

Platinum’s have more fun

Swiftype is excited to be a Platinum sponsor at HighEdWeb this year. We know that delivering content efficiently to your website audience can be complicated when your visitors range dramatically from prospective to current students, faculty, parents, alumni and donors. We’re looking forward to sharing why web developers at institutions such as NYU, Azusa Pacific, and St. Mary’s University realized that website search is key to making the right information accessible to these audiences and why they chose Swiftype Site Search to gain more powerful, customizable, and accurate search.

Register today and join HighEdWeb at the Connecticut Convention Center. But if you want to get ahead of the curve, learn more about Swiftype Site Search now

Swiftype Podcast: Our CTO shares his thoughts on Google sunsetting their Site Search and Search Appliance Products

We’re thrilled to present our new Swiftype Podcast! The Swiftype Podcast features informative content encompassing the latest in Site Search and Enterprise Search technology and their applications for your business. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes, and we hope you enjoy.

Today, our host Josue Vital is joined by our co-founder and CTO, Quin Hoxie, to discuss the sunsetting of both Google Site Search (GSS) and Google Search Appliance (GSA). Quin, a veteran in the search industry, shares his thoughts on the pros and cons of GSS and GSA and some alternatives for companies looking to replace Google’s products.

Here are some key takeaways from this podcast episode:

Google Site Search

  • With Google search solutions, you don’t have the ability to tune search relevance
  • Previous GSS users were using it because Google Custom Search was not a viable solution, largely because Custom Search is supported by ads
  • Switching to Swiftype Site Search from GSS is seamless and doing so will give you more control over your website’s search functionality

Google Search Appliance

  • Replacing GSA with your own solution will be challenging and require lots of engineering resources
  • Swiftype Enterprise Search is a cloud-based solution that has a pre-built connector framework for apps like G Suite, Office 365, Box, Dropbox, Salesforce and GitHub that makes migrating from GSA quick and secure

From CTO to CTO: How AI Powered Enterprise Search makes your company more productive

How AI Powered Enterprise Search makes your company more productive

AI and cloud-based technologies are changing the face of the modern enterprise, enabling companies to collaborate more effectively and take on new initiatives that were previously not possible. At Swiftype, we’ve taken our learnings from pioneering hosted site search and used that expertise to build an AI-Powered Enterprise Search solution.

Over the past few months, we’ve generated quite a bit of interest in our next generation enterprise search solution, particularly because it features powerful tech and delivers exceptional ROI. Recently, I spoke at the Silicon Valley Enterprise Search and Analytics Meetup about the many benefits of implementing cloud-based enterprise search within an organization. Here are 7 key takeaways from my talk.

1 – Single point of access for data in your apps, whether it’s in a shared or individual source

“You have customer data [in Salesforce], you have productivity data [in G Drive, Jira and Box], and then you have apps like Evernote, that are individual to a user but still very relevant to their workday. And honestly, if their enterprise search solution is missing [their individual content], then it’s a little bit of a blind spot for them. They may go searching for something that they’re not sure was last saved in Google Drive, Dropbox or in Evernote.  A single point of access to that data is crucial for an organization and an employee.”

2 – Cutting down on duplication of work to improve employee satisfaction

“I would say, of all the different kinds of issues that we solve, probably the most disheartening one is when someone goes out and creates some masterpiece of work. They’re working on a project, maybe it’s a document, they spend days crafting it, and then they go turn it in to their boss, and their boss says, “Oh, we already have this. So-and-so did this a month ago. Did you not find that?””

3 – Enterprise search that proactively surfaces relevant files and information while you work

“And the passive aspect of this is one of the most interesting things that we’ve seen with the product. [They’re] probably some of the best anecdotes that I’ve heard from our customers. My favorite one is a customer upsell story.  A  customer had gone over their limits on a current plan and their sales rep was planning to talk to the customer about an upsell.  The sales rep went into the customer’s Account record in Salesforce to find their email address and started typing up an email in their … They were using, I think, the Google apps and Gmail web client. This pops out and shows them a recent support ticket from that day, where that customer had written in about some issue they were having.”

“So they stopped what they were doing, went and talked to the support team, made sure that that issue got resolved, before they sent an email trying to charge them more money. To me, stories like that are pretty amazing, because again, it’s entirely passive. That interaction wouldn’t have happened. They would have sent the email before the issue was resolved.”

4 – Leverage your enterprise knowledge graph and make useful connections between your siloed data sources

“It’s based on what we call our knowledge graph, which I think is a concept that people are [getting] increasingly familiar with. But essentially what we do is, as we are ingesting content from all these different sources that companies are connecting to, we are analyzing it for different entities that exist in them. And what we do is essentially build up a graph of all the entities and relationships within your organization. And it’s become … Again, one of the most interesting things we have in terms of the view of this data, there aren’t many systems out there, aside from enterprise search, that have such a comprehensive view of all the data created in an organization.”

“And it’s great because some of it’s highly structured, so you have a Salesforce account, [which is] highly structured data. But you also have things like PDFs in Dropbox, and that’s unstructured data. What we’ve done is we have this data pipeline that analyzes all this text, and builds the knowledge graph. It exists in many places, so we canonicalize, we clean, and we store data on a knowledge graph that is unique to your organization.”

5 – More productive meetings through technology: Push notifications before meetings

“The mobile app is frequently used for push notifications but it’s also a full blown search interface. Swiftype will look at your calendar and send you content that’s relevant to upcoming meetings and presentations. This popular feature among our customers is also one that I’ve gotten a lot of value from. I get a notification and I know that I don’t have to go searching for what I need, it’s just going to be pushed to me proactively.”

6 – Tracking progress and pushing projects forward: Searching by a colleague’s name

“Where other than a system like enterprise search do you have a comprehensive view of what someone is doing, like all the work they’ve created? In a lot of cases, and again I’m sure this is something that a lot of you can emphasize with, I’ll be working on something and I’ll be thinking Jason shared a file with me and I remember roughly what it is about and I’ve no idea what he named it and I have no idea where he put it, but I know that I worked on it with Jason. That’s how a lot of people think about this stuff, it’s more about collaboration than what a file is named or where it is stored. So we find a lot of these queries and a lot of the browsing centered around a person.”

7 – A platform for productivity: Quickly access the files and information you need

“Something we didn’t see out of the gate, but it came to us pretty quickly through customer feedback, is that people didn’t necessarily want to click a result and jump to some external system. I had assumed that they were trying to jump to wherever the actual destination was, a file, ticket, whatever it was they were trying to get to.”

“What we found was that a lot of people actually wanted information at a glance. There was information that they could get that didn’t require them going deep into whatever that external system was to get it. And it’s not every case, but it was actually a pretty decent percentage of cases. For us, and for the customer, it’s actually a much better experience if we can serve them more immediately within our interface.”

“In the interface you can click a document. You can get a full version of the document, look through it, and get all this information at a glance. We do a lot of metadata extraction and organization of that metadata, based on what your query is. And so we spent a lot of design and engineering time on this interface to try and make it useful to you in whatever your context is. And so again, that may mean not even jumping into these external systems, because we got a lot of questions where they were like, “Oh, but all I need is this piece of information. Why are you going to make me go to Salesforce and then log in and then go to that page? I just need this little piece of information.” So we’ve invested in making as much information available at a glance as we can.”

See how Swiftype can help your company

Want to learn more about Swiftype Enterprise Search? Visit our website for more information and get started with a free trial.

Why I joined Swiftype: Great people and endless opportunity

Sam Reid

I recently moved from Austin, TX to join Swiftype here in San Francisco. Although I was leaving my family, friends and the great Lone Star State behind, I knew that when Swiftype extended me an offer I had to accept. Here’s why.

Reason #1 – The Founders

Swiftype has two amazing founders – Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie. Matt, the CEO, is also from Texas so we had that in common from the start. Matt studied Electrical Engineering at Texas and was Director of Product at Scribd before starting Swiftype with Quin. Quin, the CTO, studied CS at Arizona and was also at Scribd before co-founding Swiftype. These guys are a pleasure to be around and I’m constantly learning from them.

Reason #2 – The People

When I visited the Swiftype office for my interview, every employee I came across went out of their way to say hello. This really had an impact on me and influenced my decision to pack up my life and move to California. In addition to thoughtful, the people at Swiftype are super smart and dedicated. I’m always picking up new things from my coworkers and find myself impressed with our people on a daily basis. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Just ask Chris, one of our engineers.

Reason #3 – The Culture

Swiftype fosters a culture that is relaxed but fast-moving and focused at the same time. Obviously, results matter at Swiftype but our people also know how to have some fun while crushing their goals. It’s well known that people perform at their highest level when they can be themselves at work. This actually happens at Swiftype, and I think it’s a key element of the company’s success so far.

Specialty’s cookies

Here’s a fact about the Swiftype culture – When a new employee joins the company, we put a box of delicious Specialty’s cookies on their desk so that other employees come by throughout the day.

Reason #4 – My Team

The marketing team at Swiftype is special. We have a great leader in Praveena Khatri who sets the tone and keeps us moving in the right direction. Before joining Swiftype, I had worked at small startups and didn’t have much experience with Salesforce or Marketo. The marketing team helped me quickly get up to speed with these important platforms. Additionally, the Swiftype marketing team is the largest team I’ve been a part of. Nevertheless, I found it very easy to mesh with the team, collaborate on projects and push things forward.

Reason #5 – The Market Size and Opportunity

Our search technology at Swiftype is in a league of its own. Today, we power search for over 500,000 websites and serve great companies like Lyft, Okta, Twilio, Qualcomm, NBC Universal, HubSpot, Cloudflare and Asana. If you have a customer-facing website and you aren’t using Swiftype Site Search, you’re truly doing your company a disservice.

There are around 4,300 publicly traded companies (Source: World Bank) and 27.9 million small businesses in the US (Source: US Gov’t). Considering that most companies need a website these days, we have a large total addressable market at Swiftype. And we’re just talking about the market for our site search product in the US. (My nickname on the marketing team is CrunchBase, so I guess it makes sense that I sized up our market opportunity)

Recently, we launched a new product – Swiftype Enterprise Search. Swiftype Enterprise Search enables a company to search across all their internal data, no matter where it’s hosted, from one search bar. Historically, only really big companies needed an enterprise search solution but that has changed. Over the past 5 years, there has been a proliferation of high-quality SaaS apps and productivity tools.  But these apps have also introduced a data fragmentation problem that is pushing back on that progress — causing frustration within teams, duplication of work, and overall inefficiency. Swiftype solves this data fragmentation problem for both startups and Fortune 500s – helping companies to be more productive and get the most out of their data.

Swiftype Office

Swiftype is Hiring!

I’m a huge believer in both of our products and can’t wait to see how much we grow over the next year. If you’re interested in joining Swiftype, you can check out our careers page for our current openings and apply.

Customers Say It Best

Since Swiftype’s launch in 2012, we have been dedicated to serving search to a wide variety of companies, from large scale enterprises to smaller scale businesses. We are proud and honored that we’ve been able to help so many customers quickly, easily and efficiently maximize their website (and brand) potential with our site search product. Over the years we have been constantly focused on improvements to our offerings, whether through new and updated features or through partnerships with other providers. Our customers are extremely important to us, and we are humbled and overjoyed that they continue to put their trust in Swiftype year after year.

Many have found success and left us some pretty stellar reviews on G2 Crowd, the leading platform for business solution reviews. Each month, nearly 900,000 buyers utilize G2 Crowd for unbiased user reviews to assess which products are best for their businesses. Swiftype’s reviews on G2 Crowd both reaffirm the value of our product to our customers, and allow us to improve our products to make sure each and every user is satisfied with their site search.

Check out some of our favorite reviews below! Our customers constantly tell us they love how Swiftype continuously helps their customers find exactly what they need with our ease of installation, amazing relevance, and stellar support.

 

We would like to say thank you to all of our customers. Read success stories from current Swiftype customers here.

If you also love Swiftype but haven’t gotten a chance to write a review yet, visit G2 Crowd here

Calculate your company’s internal searching costs

Calculate your company’s internal searching costs

“Employees spend 30% of their time searching for information, answers and insights to help them do their work.”

Is that deck ready yet?

You hire a new employee and assign them to work on a presentation for a potential customer. The employee knows their deck needs to adhere to the company’s style guide and that they need to use some company reports for a few slides in the deck. The employee opens up Powerpoint and realizes that they don’t have the company template deck for enterprise deals. First, they open Google Drive and search there. No dice. Then, they open Dropbox and find the template. Now they’re ready to get started.

The employee, let’s say his name is Patrick, is making some progress until he has a layout idea for the 4th slide. Since Patrick is new and wants to make sure the deck is nothing short of excellent, he wants to reference the style guide. Unfortunately, Pat has no clue where the guide is. He had success with Dropbox last time, so he looks there. No luck. Next Pat looks in G Drive. After trying a few different queries, he finds the guide.

Pat continues to make solid progress until he needs to use data from a report created earlier that year. As mentioned, Pat knows the report exists but has no clue where it is. Again, he hops between apps, plays around with search queries and finally finds the report. Eventually, Pat finishes the deck and all is well.

“If your company has 100 employees, your cost of searching each year is 62,400 hours which equates to $2,400,000 if your average employee makes $80k.”

Data fragmentation is costing your company some serious $$$

But all is not well, and it turns out this data fragmentation problem is even worse than expected. According to Forrester Research, employees spend 30% of their time searching for information, answers and insights to help them do their work. Let’s take a moment to dig into this.

If your company has 100 employees, your cost of searching each year is 62,400 hours which equates to $2,400,000 if you’re paying your employees an average of $80k. Ouch.

If you are a very large company with say 10,000 employees, then your employees spend 6,240,000 hours a year searching which equates to $240,000,000 down the drain. Obviously, time spent searching for internal data is a massive hidden cost that needs to be addressed.

Quantify your cost and address the problem

You might be wondering what your company’s cost of internal searching is. Today’s your lucky day. We’ve provided a tool to help you calculate that number, and you can access it here.

Deploy a solution

At Swiftype, we have built a solution to help you combat this growing data fragmentation problem. It’s called Enterprise Search and it enables you to search across all your information from one search bar. Swiftype can be implemented in less than 10 minutes for most companies and works well for teams of all sizes.

Top Site Search Questions on Quora

Swiftype on Quora

Quora has your answer

If you aren’t familiar with the question and answer platform that 190 million people visit on a monthly basis, Quora is a question and answer platform that leverages smart algorithms to curate content. It was founded by Adam D’Angelo (former CTO of Facebook) and Charlie Cheever (early Facebook employee) in 2009. Over the past 8 years, it has replaced Yahoo Answers as the go-to platform for Q&A on the internet.

Quora has questions about literally everything, ranging from “What are the 10 best books you’ve ever read?” to “If Google employees were swapped with Microsoft employees, what would happen?” Since we are experts on search here at Swiftype, we’ve taken to Quora to help answer questions about site search and how to do it right. Here’s an overview of what we’ve addressed.

Topic 1 – Google is sunsetting site search

Google is sunsetting their site search by the end of 2017 and is directing users to their ad-powered site search product. This is not an acceptable replacement for businesses, so the search for a new solution is in full-swing.

There are two popular Quora questions on this topic:

Read Matt Riley's answer to Alternatives to Google Custom Search and GSS on Quora

Read Sanjana Chand's answer to Are there site-specific search services similar to Google Site Search? on Quora

Topic 2 – Site search best practices

As search has become a critical component for almost every website or app, webmasters and product builders are seeking to provide the best experience possible. Recently we answered a question on Quora about site search best practices. Since we power search for more than 500,000 websites, we thought we could provide some helpful insight.

Read Sam Reid's answer to What are the best practices for implementing an internal site search? on Quora

Topic 3 – Top site search providers

A popular type of question on Quora is “What is best solution for X?” or “What company does the best job for Y?”. This type of question can be tricky to answer as a representative of a company because answers can come across as biased. At Swiftype, we’ve taken the approach of remaining neutral. When we answer these questions, we focus on objectively highlighting our feature set and the benefits that they provide. Here’s what we had to say.

Read Sam Reid's answer to Who are the best vendors for site search technology? on Quora
Read Praveena Khatri's answer to What is the best site search to implement on a website? on Quora

What are your site search questions?

Do you have a site search question that you’d like us to answer? Post your question on Quora and then tweet at us to let us know (Our handle is @swiftype). We’re happy to share what we’ve learned about search from serving customers like Lyft, Twilio, NBC Universal, Shopify and many others.

Salesforce Selects Swiftype as a Launch Partner for Federated Search

Swiftype has been chosen by Salesforce as a launch partner for its Summer 2017 Federated Search release. Swiftype’s proven Enterprise Search platform provides Salesforce users the ability to find and access content stored outside of Salesforce from within Salesforce Classic, Salesforce Console, or Lightning Experience. Regardless of where content lives, users can search for documents in Dropbox and Google Drive, content living in Confluence spaces, Jira tickets, Slack and Gmail conversations, and many other files critical to their work, without ever leaving Salesforce.

Swiftype’s extensive connector framework includes Box, Sharepoint, Slack, Google G Suite, Jira, Confluence, Evernote, Dropbox and more. For a full list, view here.  

Companies and their employees benefit greatly from the extension of Swiftype’s best-in-class artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technologies into Salesforce Federated Search. These technologies help identify a user’s true intent for every search, and apply refinements to filter content from external sources, for a precise and desired result output.  

With Swiftype’s search engine powering Salesforce Federated Search, employees are able to search once and see results across all their external data sources in the same Salesforce results page. Swiftype’s backend technology better understands queries and prioritizes content sources based on the search queries themselves, historical search behaviors, and even the individual’s role and most-used sources. For example, support reps work on cases and often reference articles or documentation stored in apps like Confluence or Sharepoint, so, as they search, the system learns to prioritize results from those applications. Likewise, Swiftype’s algorithms learn and understand that sales reps work most in accounts and opportunities and often need to locate contracts or collateral — so it surfaces data stored in Dropbox, Google G Suite or Box. Allowing search to crawl outside data sources and populate results within a Salesforce user’s existing workflow is paramount to maximizing employee productivity and efficiency.

GETTING STARTED

Salesforce users can get started with Salesforce Federated Search by contacting Swiftype here or by signing up for a free 14-day trial.  More details on implementation can be found on the Salesforce blog here.

HOW IT WORKS

Users can launch Swiftype Enterprise Search several different ways from within Salesforce:

1) Directly from the search bar (see Figure 1)
2) From an embedded Swiftype Search tab (see Figure 2)
3) By using an installed Swiftype browser extension (see Figure 3)

Figure 1 (search bars queries will bring you to a results page like this)

 

Figure 2 (search within a designated Swiftype tab in your Salesforce instance)

 

Figure 3 (Swiftype’s browser extension populates results without disrupting your workflow)

 

Centering Your Website Design Around Site Search


Recently, I took a stroll through The WayBack Machine. Launched in 2001, The WayBack Machine is a digital archive of the World Wide Web, a veritable treasure trove of Internet information and oddities. Trust me when I say you will find some deliciously horrid early attempts at website design and user experience (UX).

Check out this Amazon screen grab from July, 2000. Yeesh, that’s bad.

Today (thankfully!), Amazon’s website looks like this:

And what do you see immediately upon landing on their site? Search. Big, bold. Upfront and up-top.

Considering a website redesign? You need to follow Amazon’s lead, no matter your industry. Here’s why:

The Evolution of Web Surfing

2017 is predicted to see more website traffic than in all other “internet years” combined! Gone are the days when a consumer would tolerate a website as poorly designed and laid out as the early Amazon one above. Today’s consumers want results, and they want them fast. They don’t want to waste time clicking through menus and drop-downs, which is why rich search capabilities are key.

Users today also expect to find easy-to-navigate search functionality on their mobile devices. Sixty five percent of mobile users say that when conducting a search on their smartphones, they look for, and expect, the most relevant information to pop up first.

When you mention search today, people immediately think of Google. But the last thing you want is for frustrated searchers to leave your site and head back to Google. If your search capabilities aren’t up to snuff, they will, and they probably won’t be back.

What Makes a Great Search Interface?

A search box is included in almost every web design, but it’s often overlooked or treated as an afterthought. Search makes it easier for users to find the content they’re looking for, as well as the content you want them to see. The search box’s design should support that exchange, be functional, easy to use, and accessible.

Equally as important, the right software powering your website’s search helps you gather information about your users, such as what product information they search for the most, which keywords or queries they are using, and an overall picture of their needs and their pain points.

Here are the top things to consider when designing and optimizing your website search:

Search Box Placement

Do your site visitors have to waste time searching for your search bar? That’s a big no-no. Position it front and center, and include a text bar and an icon (if possible). The ubiquitous “magnifying glass” icon is a great example. Make sure your “submit” button is big and bold, especially on mobile (avoid “fat thumb” syndrome wherever possible!)—and add your search bar to every page. Don’t hide search anywhere “below the fold” or in a navigation menu.

Search Design

Keep. It. Simple. We can’t stress this enough. Design should focus on the box itself and it should be clear how it functions. At its most basic, it should include a full open text field, title, action button and an obvious search trigger. Usability studies show that it is more user-friendly to not have advanced search options/features displayed by default, as they often only serve to confuse and frustrate users.

Search Functionality

An advanced search algorithm and language modeling functionality are the first things to look for. Your system should intuitively know what consumers are searching for using bigram matching, phrase matching, auto complete, and more. Filters on results page add another layer of functionality to your site search, allowing users to easily drill down to find exactly what they’re looking for.

On the backend, an intelligent site search solution should also have user-friendly dashboards that provide detailed analytics, making it easier for your teams to access—and act upon—the search data collected. A smart software will help you see that pattern so you can immediately update search results to keep visitors on your site—and not bouncing back to Google to find a competitor.

Your solution should allow you to:

  • Customize your search results
  • Add results for popular queries
  • Have the option to promote more relevant content, like higher margin products or the latest news stories
  • Control who can view what information and data
  • Integrate easily with your current tools

Your search bar is an essential tool in your digital toolbox and should be showcased both in design and function. If you would like to learn more about how Swiftype can help supercharge your site search capabilities, we would love to chat!

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