The Swiftype Blog / Month: September 2017

On the Search:  Connecticut State Library Implements Swiftype

Located in Hartford, the Connecticut State Library provides a variety of library, archival, public records, and other important information services for the state. Their mission includes holding digital archives from more than 70 departments and providing online access to searchable databases and digital collections.

After struggling with a generic site search tool, a new IT Analyst was charged with improving the experience for the library’s patrons. A unique challenge was that any new search solution had to combine information from not only the main website, but also from a separate, specialized platform for librarians.

Connecticut State Library IT Analyst, Jacqueline Bagwell, shares her experience of implementing Swiftype as the Library’s new site search solution:

What were your “must-haves” for search during your evaluation?

As part of the improvement project, we moved to a WordPress platform for our site and used the integrated search tool. But that didn’t allow patrons to also search our subdomain, which is a separate content management platform built specifically for librarians. It was really important to include that content in our search because, otherwise, so much information would be undiscoverable by patrons.

Searching two different platforms created a unique situation for us, but it was critical to include results from both. We have information in our subdomain that isn’t available anywhere else, like death records and historical patents. That information is unique to the library, so we have to make it easily accessible.

What has surprised you the most with your deployment of Swiftype?

I think that the usage of search is so high and growing. But it’s nice that Swiftype was able to just handle it so easily. I’m looking at the big picture to make sure our resources don’t get stretched to our limits. Swiftype is able to handle search traffic that’s growing beyond our expectations.

Before Swiftype, I don’t think patrons had a good understanding of how they could get the information they wanted. And the patrons obviously like our new site search and use it. It’s being used way more than I thought it would be, and that’s a big jump from before.

What was your biggest challenge during your implementation?

It’s our volume of information across two domains and we’re adding new databases to make it more useful for the patrons. We have all the legislative information as well that comes over from the state capital that gets digitized. We have records that go back a long way, so there’s quite a lot. But we met our deadline and have been expanding ever since.

How are you using Swiftype’s analytics to improve the user experience?

We’re seeing search grow on a regular basis, which is good. Probably about three times per week, I look at reports on broken links, pages accessed, no-results searches. That last one helps me understand if the query was bad or if there was another issue with redirects or something else.

Is there a feature you can’t live without?

The fact that Swiftype can index both sites, that’s its most important aspect.

A Major Trend in Workplace Productivity for Tech Companies

Over the past 5 years, there has been a proliferation of high-quality SaaS apps that have made our companies more collaborative and efficient. Apps like Dropbox, Box, Zendesk, Marketo, Salesforce, Asana, GitHub, Jira, Gusto and Trello have changed the way businesses operate – enabling our teams to be more agile and complete projects much faster.

Although these apps have helped our businesses in a big way, they have also created an explosion of data that is spread across many silos. This data fragmentation can cause many organizational issues including frustration within teams, duplication of work and overall inefficiency. In fact, Forrester Research says that employees now spend 30% of their time searching for information, answers, and insights to help them do their work. Fortunately, tech companies (like mine) are working to solve this data fragmentation issue and continue pushing our progress forward in the cloud.

So how are we addressing this issue at Swiftype? We’ve leveraged our expertise in search to build an AI-powered Enterprise Search solution that unifies your cloud data sources and enables you to search across all your apps from one place – helping you find what you need and get the most out of your valuable data. Here are 6 things that are changing about enterprise search, making it an ideal solution for your company’s data fragmentation woes.

1 – There will be much more widespread adoption

Historically, only very large companies deployed enterprise search solutions — partially because only large companies had fragmentation issues, but also because enterprise search solutions were so expensive that they were typically the only companies who could afford it. The recent proliferation of SaaS applications means that companies of all sizes are using more tools to get work done and creating content at an unprecedented pace.

Since companies of all sizes are struggling with data fragmentation, it will soon be common for high-growth start-ups and smaller firms to need a solution for content discovery. As the benefits of modern enterprise search become more known, companies will adopt enterprise search solutions to provide an immediate and lasting solution to their data fragmentation issues.

2 – The surface area of work has changed

The surface area of our daily work has changed — we now access information from desktop computers, web browsers, native mobile applications, and even voice-based interfaces like Amazon Echo and Siri. Search on a mobile phone acts differently from search on a desktop computer or from an interface-free device. Swiftype Enterprise Search is accessible from a web app, mobile app, desktop app and add-ins on platforms like Salesforce, Slack, Confluence, etc.

Swiftype Enterprise Search

3 – Much shorter time to value

Since a lot of your company’s data is already in the cloud, it makes sense for your enterprise search solution to live there too. As you might expect, cloud-based enterprise search solutions are much quicker to set up (less than 1 hour) than legacy solutions. This extremely low barrier to implementation means significantly less time and company resources are necessary to roll out a new enterprise search solution.

Over the next few years, you will see more companies implement enterprise search simply because they can realize a majority of the benefits within a day rather than 6 months.

4 – Shared and private content sources

With legacy enterprise search solutions, admin settings were rigid and could take weeks to change. Modern solutions enable companies to manage their search platform with a robust admin dashboard so they can quickly make changes and give their employees access to the relevant content sources for their role.

For example, your sales and engineering teams use different apps to get their work done (Salesforce vs. GitHub) although there is some crossover with apps like G Suite and Dropbox. Swiftype enables you to easily configure your settings so that every employee at your company can search only the content that is relevant to them.

Additionally, enterprise search solutions now enable individual employees to add content that is private and only relevant for them, like Gmail. Integrating shared and private content sources is one of the major upgrades to enterprise search as it moves to the cloud.

5 – Security and file permissions

Security is clearly a major concern with enterprise software and enterprise search is no exception – enterprise search providers must maintain state of the art security. Swiftype is SOC2 compliant and thousands of companies, including Fortune 500s, trust us with their data.

Additionally, modern enterprise search solutions automatically maintain the correct permissions for files so that employees using the solution will not be able to see results for files that they don’t have access to. Maintaining permissions for a data source indexed on an enterprise search solution is not trivial but utilizing technologies like OAuth actually make doing so much easier than in the past.

6 – AI-powered productivity

Finally, enterprise search solutions are taking full advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) technologies. Similar to Google Search, enterprise search solutions recognize misspelled words and understand user intent – recommending search queries as you type. Modern enterprise search solutions return relevant results based on calendar events, emails, and user behavior.

By leveraging a company’s knowledge graph, enterprise search solutions can proactively surface relevant information while you’re working and even when you’re away from your desk. For example, Swiftype learns your work habits and sends you relevant files and information ahead of your meetings and presentations.

Swiftype Enterprise Search

Swiftype Enterprise Search makes it easy for employees to search across the various apps they use at work — G Suite, Office 365, Dropbox, Box, Slack, Jira, Github, Zendesk and others — from a single search box. Swiftype integrates seamlessly with your company’s current workflows and will boost productivity throughout your organization, from sales to engineering to customer support.

Here’s a quick video (1 min) on Swiftype Enterprise Search. Still think it’s too good to be true? Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself!

4 Ways AI is Impacting the Enterprise

Cheap computing power and storage have recently enabled decades of artificial intelligence (AI) research to be put into practice in various real-world applications. In order to learn, AI algorithms start with a basic structure and then are trained with datasets to create rules for how they should respond to data in the future. AI can unlock hidden insights in large datasets, recognize patterns in words and phrases, and draw on large amounts of information to answer questions. Here are four areas in which AI is impacting the enterprise: cybersecurity, human resources, large-scale document processing, and knowledge management.

Cybersecurity

What’s exciting about AI in the cybersecurity realm is that it enables defense systems to detect malicious attacks that have not been seen before. Hackers are constantly changing their tactics and becoming more sophisticated, so a cybersecurity system that can learn and adapt is definitely a major asset.

One specific way AI is being used in cybersecurity is for malware detection. AI algorithms are trained for this using millions of malicious and benign files. After being trained with a sufficient amount of data, the AI algorithms are then able to automatically identify incoming threats.

Source: MIT

To keep their AI training data up-to-date, companies are continually gathering new information from the web and other private sources to re-train their models. Last year, researchers from MIT and PatternEx announced that their AI platform can predict 85 percent of incoming attacks by continuously incorporating input from human security analysts. Given that the cost of cybercrime is expected to increase to $6 trillion by 2021, it’s paramount that cybersecurity companies continue innovating and improving the self-learning algorithms they use to combat hackers.

For more on AI and cybersecurity, read this article.

Some companies in the space: SparkCognition, Cylance, Darktrace, CrowdStrike, Illumio, Hexadite (acquired by Microsoft)Harvest AI (acquired by Amazon)

 

Human Resources Chatbots

Departments of human resources, especially at larger companies, are constantly fielding questions, onboarding new employees, and working to improve company culture. To reduce the amount of repetitive work they have to do, HR departments can train bots to automatically answer frequently asked questions in internal messaging apps like Slack. After introducing these bots, HR will have more time to work on higher touch problems and new projects.

Beyond just answering FAQs, HR bots can send reminders to employees to fill out forms and continue to follow up with them until they do so. It’s difficult to collect paperwork from large teams so having a bot do the heavy lifting is a big boost to the HR department. In addition to helping answer questions quickly, HR bots can also help onboard new employees by sequentially sending them the information they need to get started. Although HR chatbots may have trouble answering complicated or uncommon questions from employees, they will certainly help reduce tedious work and enable HR to take on new challenges.

For more on HR chatbots, read this article.

Some companies in the space: Talla, ubiHR

 

Large-scale document processing – Automating back office work

Paperwork-intensive industries, like healthcare and insurance, require tons of manual data entry to process their customers’ information. Advances in computer vision technology have made it possible for software to process files that are scanned into computers, even if the file contains handwritten text. Basically, the computer uses a technique called optical character recognition (OCR) to convert an image file into a machine-readable text file.

Source: Microsoft

After the file is converted into structured data, another AI system can review the content of the file and make decisions based on context. These decisions could range from determining where to upload the information in the file to fully processing insurance claims and applications.

For more on how AI can be used to automate the back office, read this article.

Some companies in this space: HyperScience, Captricity, AppZen

 

Knowledge Management through Enterprise Search

Cloud-based apps have enabled our companies to collaborate more efficiently and automate tedious business processes. But as we use more high-quality SaaS apps at work (the average company uses 26), we’re also creating more and more data silos.

Companies that use AI-powered enterprise search solutions are able to unify their fragmented data and boost productivity throughout their organization. Since enterprise search solutions have a comprehensive view of all the data in a company, they are able to make connections between siloed data sources and build a knowledge graph. This knowledge graph improves search results and enables you to search by employee and find all of their recent work.

Additionally, enterprise search platforms that leverage AI are able to proactively surface relevant information while you’re working and even when you’re away from your desk. For example, enterprise search solutions will actually process that you have an upcoming meeting, learn some context around the meeting, and send you the documents you need to prepare.

 

Deploy AI-powered productivity at your company with Swiftype Enterprise Search

For more on how enterprise search can help your company, visit the Swiftype website or read this blog post from our CTO highlighting the benefits of deploying enterprise search. If you’re ready to try enterprise search, you can sign up for a free trial here.

Swiftype Enterprise Search Expands Connector Platform to Include Evernote

Evernote is a valuable tool that helps keep employee productivity on track. People use Evernote for a variety of reasons, such as:

•    taking notes on a meeting, research or even lunchtime epiphanies
•    capturing audio and video from meetings and presentations
•    writing documents – articles, notes, etc. with colleagues
•    saving business cards digitally
•    and much more!

Most individuals and teams choose Evernote because of its dynamic content storage ability. Collecting meeting notes in any format – text, handwritten, video, and audio form – then being able to access them from any device ensures that ideas or knowledge are never lost.  However, if you have a lot of notebooks set up, it can get confusing to find exactly which note is in which notebook, as you can’t search across notebooks.

For the 200 million people who use Evernote to keep track of their daily work, with carefully crafted notebooks, collections of web clippings, or creating a digital version of the popular bullet journal, Evernote search just got a whole lot better.  

Swiftype Enterprise Search Meets You Where You Work
At Swiftype, our employees use Evernote quite a bit to keep track of ideas and notes. Given the incredible amount of content created and stored in Evernote, it was an obvious choice to expand and include the Evernote connector on our Enterprise Search platform. The Evernote connector for Swiftype Enterprise Search makes it seamless to find content across multiple cloud applications at once. By connecting Evernote to Swiftype, users can access project notes, ideas, drafts and more from a single search experience, regardless of the notebook it lives in.

The connector makes Evernote content visible and accessible from any supported interface, including our browser extension, mobile app, and macOS app. Swiftype’s commitment to meeting people where they work continues with our Evernote connector, allowing users to search across even more data sources without having to leave the application they’re already working in.

What You Can Expect from Swiftype for Evernote:

  • All collected ideas in one place. Part of Evernote’s convenience is in that individuals and teams can collect their thoughts and ideas in Evernote no matter where they are or which device they are using. But they also use a plethora of other apps to get their daily work done, like Dropbox for file storage, Salesforce for managing customer relationships, Confluence for documentation, and many more. Swiftype’s integrated Enterprise Search Solution helps employees access the Evernote ideas they have stored from any of the applications they work in, ensuring that no knowledge is ever lost.
  • Improved relevance to find Evernote content. While Evernote already lets users search over their notebooks, it doesn’t do a whole lot of good unless they remember exactly which notebook each idea is stored in. Integrating Evernote with Swiftype lets users enter a query into a single search box and find content from any Evernote notebooks, alongside content in any other connected cloud apps.
  • Global collaboration across shared notes and notebooks. Team members using the Evernote connector automatically gain access to any notes that have been shared with them. Swiftype Enterprise Search adopts native permissions from Evernote to give users access to only the content they should be able to see. 

Get Started!
We’re excited to welcome Evernote ‘to the family’ of our Enterprise Search connectors. It’s simple to set up. With just a few clicks, your entire library of cloud content is accessible right alongside your Evernote workflow. Visit us to learn more and sign up for a free trial.

From CTO to CTO: Why your company needs enterprise search

In my last post about how AI-Powered Enterprise Search can make your company more productive, I covered some of the features of our cloud-based enterprise search solution and their implications for companies of all sizes. In this post, I will focus on some important trends in B2B/enterprise software as well as a few technology-related problems that businesses are facing today. As part of my analysis, I will again reference my talk at the Silicon Valley Enterprise Search and Analytics Meetup. After we walk through the following problems and trends, you’ll have a better understanding of enterprise search and how it can benefit your company.

1 – Proliferation of high-quality cloud-based apps

Over the past five years, there has been a proliferation of high-quality SaaS apps and productivity tools. Because many of these tools solved real business pain points and were relatively cheap, they received widespread adoption. These apps have greatly improved productivity and collaboration, but have also introduced a data fragmentation problem that is pushing back on that progress—causing frustration within teams, duplication of work, and overall inefficiency.

In my talk I addressed this growing problem:

“So, what we’re seeing is a huge spread of specialized cloud-based data sources where you have customer data, productivity data and sources that are individualized to users.”

It’s likely that your company has been adversely affected by siloed data sources in the cloud. And since, according to Okta, about 50% of apps used by your company are not issued by IT, the fragmentation that you can see at an organizational level is only part of the problem. Fortunately, enterprise search enables you to directly address your organization’s data fragmentation problem by unifying your cloud data sources (both company-wide and private), so you can search across all your files from a single platform.

2 – The problem of data fragmentation amplifies across a company

When one employee (Employee A) can’t find the information they need to get their work done, this discovery problem will actually not just affect Employee A’s productivity. Employee A’s logical next course of action is to seek help from another coworker (Employee B). If Employee B can’t find the file, then they will go ask another coworker for help (Employee C). So, as you can see, data fragmentation has this amplifying effect across your company. Here are some additional thoughts:

“Just to kind of give you an idea of some of the more pathological cases that we run across, there’s the obvious inefficiency of not being able to find a particular thing that you’re looking for. So maybe you go looking for a particular document, say it’s a contract for a customer. You look for it in Salesforce, but it’s not attached to their account or their opportunity. Then you say, “Okay, well, it’s probably in Box.” And you go look in Box, then you go look in Dropbox, and it’s not in the usual folders that you go to there.

This is kind of the point, to me, that makes the problem really amplify. And it’s when you go start pinging coworkers. Because it’s one thing for the inefficiency to hit one individual person, but it gets really bad when you start asking other people. Because I know the folks in our company, if I go ask them something, they’re probably like, “I think I know where that is.” And then lo and behold, they probably go repeat all these steps that I just did. They’re thinking, “I know where that is, I’m going to go search in Salesforce, and if it’s not there I’m going to go search in Dropbox.” And really start amplifying this issue across the company.”

3 – The hidden costs of poor internal search add up over time

According to Forrester Research, employees spend 30% of their time searching for information, answers and insights to help them do their work. 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.

“And I think, it’s hard to conceptualize, because it’s 30 seconds or a minute here or there. But over the course of a week or a year, when you look at a percentage of, say, an employee’s salary, and you look at that across an entire organization, it’s very substantial. And so it’s something that has become a very, very important problem for us to solve.”

Implementing a cloud-based enterprise search solution is almost a no-brainer because it’s much cheaper than a legacy solution and you can start alleviating your internal search problem immediately. Depending on the size of your company, enterprise search will pay for itself, literally 100+ times over.

4 – Take advantage of AI-powered productivity

AI has lots of potential use cases for the enterprise – from HR chatbots (Talla) to cybersecurity solutions (SparkCognition, Cylance) to document processing (HyperScience). Similarly, there’s opportunity to apply AI in the realm of enterprise search. Swiftype Enterprise Search learns from user behavior and returns results based on calendar events and email conversations.

Additionally, Swiftype proactively surfaces relevant information while you’re working and when you’re away from your desk. For example, say you have a meeting coming up soon. Swiftype will actually process that you have an upcoming meeting, learn some context around the meeting and send you the documents you need to prepare.

“So we’re taking what’s on your calendar, what you’ve been browsing, what other queries you have you done recently, and using that as additional context to the query.  This lets our algorithms better understand what is actually relevant to your search.”

5 – Implementation and security concerns

One of the most significant changes that the cloud has brought about for enterprise software is the amount of time it takes to implement new solutions. Because Swiftype Enterprise Search is cloud-based and includes a pre-built connector framework for many of the apps you already use, you can actually begin implementation in a matter of minutes.

As for security, Swiftype is SOC2 compliant and thousands of companies, including many Fortune 500s, trust us with their data. Additionally, when you connect your data sources to Swiftype, we maintain the correct permissions so that your employees will not see files they don’t have access to in their Swiftype search experience.

“We think that by focusing on cloud sources, and having purposeful connectors for those cloud sources, we can have a very, very fast time to value. So we do get people set up initially, really within a matter of minutes.

And what I mean by that is, essentially people can sign up for Swiftype, jump into the application, start connecting their sources. And we’ll talk a little about how that works. But really, we do lean on the fact that we are integrating with cloud sources. So a lot of the things that exist today, and not only exist today but are leaned on really heavily, like OAuth for authorization flows, is how we build our product. And we built it from that standpoint from the beginning.”

See how Swiftype can help your company

Want to learn more about Swiftype Enterprise Search? Visit our website for more information and sign up for a free trial.

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