The Swiftype Blog / Category: Enterprise Search

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.

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.

Top 5 Enterprise Search Pain Points

We often hear from people looking to solve problems with their internal search processes. And it makes sense: Your employees are the very heart of what makes your organization successful (or not), so if they struggle with search, efficiency issues begin to add up—and fast.

A poorly functioning or out-of-date enterprise search system creates issues: mishandled, duplicated, or impossible to find content; roadblocks when it comes to users’ security access; problems picking up the pieces when an employee goes on vacation or leaves suddenly; and a myriad of others.

So we thought we’d take a few minutes today to go over the pain points we hear about the most when it comes to enterprise search—and show you how a robust SaaS platform—like Swiftype—can help since these big five can hit where it hurts.

“I don’t know where the content I need is stored.”

Whether you’re prepping for a last-minute meeting or being asked on a conference call to pull up a relevant data point, it’s usually when the pressure’s on that you can’t find what you’re looking for. According to Forrester research, knowledge workers can spend 30% of their time looking for nonexistent information, failing to find existing information, and/or recreating information that can’t be found. Enter a robust, new generation of enterprise search solutions that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and other intuitive technologies to help understand and organize data across your entire organization and all of your applications. Search once and you’re done.

“It takes forever to find the right info.”

One of our developers wrote recently about how Swiftype Enterprise Search helps him in his day-to-day work. He flies through customer service issues, closing tickets, quickly cross-referencing other clients’ information requests; sources digital assets spread over a number of apps to fulfill requests from marketing; and even has relevant documents automatically pushed to his phone before a meeting so he doesn’t have to think about what info to gather. With all the extra time he saves, we’re sure he’s able to get so much extra work done, (right, Brian?)

“Didn’t someone else already create this?”

What happens when an employee suddenly gets sick or takes an extended vacation, and they’re holding documents crucial to a project or client deadline? At best, using clunky, legacy enterprise search software, team members waste time digging for the appropriate data. At worst, they have to pull an all-nighter and start again from scratch. Time and money go the drain. Employee morale takes a hit. Swiftype has a handy feature called Person View, which allows you to search for content by employee name across all of your cloud data sources to find all of a specific user’s documents. So even when someone is out, you can still access the files you need.   

“Is my info secure?”

Cloud-based data sharing is not immune to security problems, especially in the BYOD (bring your own device) era. Studies estimate that corporations spend roughly $50,000 per lost laptop—and the more senior the employee, the higher that number jumps. That’s why your enterprise search platform should adhere to strict security guidelines, provide data protection and application security, and have systems in place to guard against physical and environmental issues.

“I don’t want everyone to be able to see everything.”

Not all of your employees have access to the same data, nor should they, even if they use the same applications. You may want to limit some people to only searching marketing materials, while keeping others out of the company’s legal documents. Here at Swiftype, our Administrative Dashboard helps you manage your team’s access. You can integrate with your existing authentication provider, invite users individually, as well as easily grant access, revoke access, and set permissions.

Which of these pain points have you had to deal with?

Since we know this space so well, it’s really tough to write about issues without a nod to how we can help! If you’re curious about solving any of those pain points—or others you may have—talk to the Swiftype team now to take a closer look at how your team can use Enterprise Search to help them access all the information they need, when and where they need it.

How Swiftype Uses Swiftype:
Part 2 – Sales

Hi! I’m Art, an Account Executive at Swiftype.

We know that time kills all deals, so the faster we can get back to our customers, the better. But when you have back-to-back calls all day and 100 emails to reply to, it can be tough to answer your customer’s questions in a timely manner.

Swiftype helps me quickly find the answers. Instead of having to jump from app to app to find something I know already exists, I can find it easily using Enterprise Search. Quick access to content is especially important when you’re talking with customers and prospects who have questions (which they always do) because it allows me to keep the conversation going while I’m searching for the right answers. Sometimes the answers are dispersed across different sources, so a single search experience gives me relevant results from all of those sources instantly.

Search Clients
When I have upcoming meetings with a customer, one of the main things I want to know is if they’ve interacted with our support team recently. I can easily see in the Swiftype browser extension, without leaving a customer record in Salesforce, if they have open support tickets. Swiftype gives me a full picture of an account while saving me the time and effort of tracking down customer success managers, support, and software developers to get answers.

I wanted to mention our Slack integration too, because it’s the primary way our team connects and communicates. I personally don’t spend the majority of my time searching in it, but I have colleagues who do, and it’s a very convenient way for me to meet them where they work. Everyone has their favorite way of using Swiftype and because there are so many ways to integrate it into your workflow, no one has to sacrifice their preference for anyone else to be able to work well together.

There are times when prospects have questions that are more technical than I feel comfortable answering off the top of my head. Just last week, I was on a call with a prospect who stumped me with a technical question. I remembered we had a white paper addressing her exact concern, so I hit shift+command+space to pull up the OS X app and was able to find the answer on the spot.

Person View
Every so often, I need to consult one of our software engineers, but I also don’t want to bombard him with questions that he’s answered for me before. When that happens, I’m able to go to his his profile page in Person View to pull up any conversations he’s had with me. It saves us both quite a bit of time – I don’t have to spend time tracking him down to ask him the question again, and he doesn’t have to spend time answering a question he’s answered before. I can go to his page and get to the content from there.

In summary, I wish I had known earlier in my sales career that a tool like Swiftype existed.  I consider myself lucky to be selling a product that I use every day—a product that makes my daily work a lot easier and much more efficient. If you want to see how it can work for you, I’d be happy to show you a demo!

Choosing A New Enterprise Search Solution In The Era Of AI with Forrester Research

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you already know a thing or two about Enterprise Search. To review: an enterprise search solution can deliver many benefits to your organization—including increase employee productivity, boost cross-team collaboration, eliminate duplication of data, and allow instant access to relevant content. Whether you’re in the process of evaluating your first cloud-based enterprise search software, or are currently migrating from an old legacy solution, have you considered the right criteria to ensure you’re making the best choice?:

  1. Architecture: What architectural qualities you should look for?
  2. Data Acquisition: How should cognitive search support data sources and types?
  3. Core Technology: What core search technologies do cognitive search solutions need?

We’ve partnered with Forrester Research on June 22 for a live webinar to discuss this specific topic. Join Mike Gualtieri, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester, and Matt Riley, CEO & Co-Founder at Swiftype, to learn more about the key criteria your team can use to create an RFP to evaluate AI-powered search engines.

Event Details:

Date: This Thursday, June 22, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET
Duration: 30 Min

Implement Enterprise Search in Minutes NOT Months

It happens to your team (and let’s face it, YOU) every day.
You get to work, you settle in, you kick off your to-dos.
You dig into your Google Drive, login to Salesforce, root around in your Dropbox.
You find yourself scrolling through endless messages in Slack.
You know that one specific file you need exists somewhere.
Eventually you give up (and so do they).

Your employees are simply trying to find the info and details they need to get their work done, but searching through all of these different apps has become an inefficient, time-consuming mess.

Forrester Research estimates that workers can spend 30% of their time looking for information, insights, and answers. Do the math. That’s a lot of unnecessary time wasted. But it’s also a great opportunity to finally increase your team’s productivity with Enterprise Search.

That’s it! An AI-Powered Search Application that helps your employees instantly search, discover, and organize the incredible amounts of data they need to get their job done. But, wait. What about implementation? Your bandwidth is limited and with all of these cloud-based apps your team has adopted, it could take months to get a solution up and running, right?

WRONG. You shouldn’t have to wait months to start making huge gains in employee productivity. With Swiftype Enterprise Search your org can be up and running in 6 minutes. Forget 6 months! With this suite of AI-powered applications at your service, not only can your employees find exactly what they need in seconds, but they can set it up extremely easily with intuitive management dashboards: quickly connect and configure team data sources, manage teams and roles, and immediately start enhancing the way your users find information.

After all, we get it. It’s frustrating to search for content only to learn that you’ve been looking in all the wrong places. You and your employees should be able to search for documents, files, conversations and data regardless of where the information lives. Swiftype connects to all your cloud data sources and finds the right results every time. Learn more and get started today.

Too Many Cloud Apps?

With so many cloud apps in the marketplace and new ones poised to leap on the scene everyday, it’s easier than ever to collect tech. But between all of your organization’s departments, that pile of apps can quickly become unmanageable and finding information amongst them impossible.

Too Many Cloud Apps? Stop Wasting Time Hunting for Information

There’s no arguing the right cloud technologies (Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, JIRA, etc) get your department running faster. Each has a purpose and each adds value to your business. The challenge is in quickly finding information (documents, files, conversations, or data) scattered across these cloud-based systems. It turns a simple search for a document into a time-consuming, productivity-killing endeavor.

Did you know that the average organization is using 23 cloud-based apps? A few, 13%, even admitted to having more than 50! Are you a member of one of these teams?  While it takes a collection of solutions to meet all of your needs this collection should solve problems, not create them.

Stop wasting time hunting for information! Download this NEW eBook and learn how a single search experience platform can help your organization increase productivity, gain visibility, and eliminate content duplication.

Swiftype Enterprise Search Expands Connector Platform to Include Atlassian’s JIRA and Confluence

With emphasis on worker efficiency at an all-time high, more businesses are turning to Atlassian, a leading provider of software development and collaboration tools. Two popular Atlassian products, JIRA and Confluence, help teams work together, build software, and better serve customers. With the continuous expansion of Swiftype’s Connector Framework, we are thrilled to announce our new native connectors to JIRA and Confluence.

Expansion is the Key to Success for Enterprise Search
JIRA and Confluence are products that are widely used and trusted by millions, so, given the incredible amount of content that is created and stored in these applications, they were obvious choices. The formal and supported connections between JIRA, Confluence and the Enterprise Search Platform will make it all the more seamless to find content across multiple applications at once. By bringing Atlassian-supported work into the Swiftype platform, users can quickly discover helpful content to build into projects, tasks, documents and more. Swiftype’s commitment to meeting people where they work continues with these additions, allowing users to search across more data sources without having to leave the application they’re already working in.

Swiftype for JIRA Screenshot

What You Can Expect from Swiftype for JIRA and Confluence:

  • Streamlined project management. Most teams use JIRA for project management and Confluence for documentation, but they also use a plethora of complementary apps to get their work done, like Github for code collaboration and management, Dropbox to access UI files from design teams, and Help Scout or another customer support management system, to name a few. Swiftype’s integrated Enterprise Search solution helps teams stay agile by enabling effortless incorporation of design thinking, agile development, and release management into their process.
  • Instant, relevant content for all your projects. Imagine you are assigned a pull request in Github, but you don’t have much context for why those changes need to be made. Instead of having to hunt around for similar pull requests in Github, related tasks in JIRA or more relevant information in Confluence, you can use the Enterprise Search Chrome extension to immediately see related JIRA tickets, documentation in Confluence, sprint planning documents in Google Drive, account records of impacted customers in Salesforce, and any other related content from your different sources.
  • Global collaboration.  Atlassian takes into account the global nature of project development and encourages flexible cross-organization planning. Collaboration can take place across time zones, but also across tools, like Slack. Swiftype Enterprise Search also offers a federated integration with Slack, which allows users to easily pull up any file from any connected content repository, complete with smart filters and AI-based natural language processing, and share it directly with channels or individuals.

Get Started!
We’re excited to welcome Atlassian tools ‘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 JIRA and Confluence workflows. Visit us in the Atlassian Marketplace to learn more and sign up for a free trial.

The Future of Enterprise Search

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!

How Swiftype Uses Swiftype:
Part 1 – Developers

I’m Brian, a Software Engineer at Swiftype. I’ve been working a lot on Swiftype Enterprise Search, and I use it every day.

I had our rotating “Support Wizard” hat this week, which means I’m responsible for addressing customer inquiries and cases for the week. Enterprise Search helped me close a customer case in 15 seconds. The customer needed to whitelist our crawler’s IP addresses so we could crawl their site. I went to search.swiftype.com in my browser and searched for “crawler ip ranges.” I clicked the first result from Help Scout and it took me to a recent ticket requesting the same information but from a different customer. Bam! That’s exactly what I was looking for! Case closed.

Brian Stevenson, Engineering Wizard

 

When dealing with code, I use Enterprise Search for a number of different things. The browser extension is super handy when reviewing Pull Requests (PR) in Github. For example, I was looking at a PR that was pulling in a newer version of nokogiri, but it didn’t have a lot of context. All it had was the version bump, the new version of the gem, and small commit message. I opened the Enterprise Search Chrome extension and I was immediately presented with other PRs and Jira tickets related to the same body of work. I was able to click through to those results to get a much better idea of where and why those changes were taking place. At that point, I had much more context and was able to effectively review the changes in front of me. The browser extension is perfect for that – I can open it up on a pull request on Github and see a plethora of additional, relevant PRs and Jira tickets for that area of code.

Using the browser extension with Jira is also super helpful. If I’m looking at a ticket in Jira, it shows me all open pull requests and any other related Jira tickets that may not have been linked. Furthermore, it shows me all of our sprint planning docs in Google Drive and Dropbox, due to our full text extraction capabilities and fine-tuned search algorithms.

One of my favorite things to use Enterprise Search for is when I’m working with our Design team. They create a lot of visual content, like mockups and templates, but where that content is stored in Dropbox isn’t exactly self-evident. So when I’m working on a project that requires implementing their designs, rather than trying to wade through the ocean of digital assets in Dropbox, or bug them to send me an exported version of the new design, I just search for the content in the Enterprise Search app.  I use really simple, but extremely powerful queries like “new dashboard design in dropbox” or “sidebar icons in dropbox.” The search results all have image previews of the visual content they’ve been designing, so I can quickly scan them to find exactly what I’m looking for in an instant.

Enterprise Design Results

I also use Enterprise Search to show me all of the open pull requests assigned to me, across all of our repositories. It’s extremely useful because I don’t have to go to each repository individually to check for those PRs I need to take action on. I also sometimes use it to see PRs assigned to other people, in case they’re out sick, for example.

Speaking of people, the “Person View” is pretty awesome. One of my developers just went on vacation and I needed to be able to see what he was working on to be able to get the work done before the end of the sprint. I just searched for “Chris,” and because he was automatically created as a person in our organization (just by signing up for an account), I was able to see all of his recent changes across all our repositories in Github and other sources. I was able to jump on the highest priority task he was working on and finish it off. Success! I was also able to get more context on the other issues he was working on because I found some conversations he had with other engineers in Slack, and comments he made on tickets in Help Scout.

We also just hired a new engineer (who is coincidentally also named Brian)! I was helping him get up to speed and needed to find this mythical “onboarding” document. I did a quick search for “welcome guide”, and sure enough, the document showed up as the first result. And with a few more quick searches, I was able to find all the other onboarding documents that were scattered around our various cloud services. It’s so handy, and easy, to be able to search and find documents like this. It saves me so much time!

Last but not least, I use the mobile app to receive notifications for upcoming meetings. We have a sprint planning meeting every two weeks, so I get a notification on my phone that says hey, there’s this sprint planning meeting coming up, do you want to review these documents first? And I’m like yeah! I do want to review those docs so I can remember what we’re talking about at sprint planning! Thanks, Swiftype!

Subscribe to our blog