The Swiftype Blog

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.

Great Developers Ship, They Don’t Configure Search

We’re always excited when Swiftype customers give unprompted kudos to our solutions. Of course, we also work with a lot of our customers to showcase how they use Swiftype.

But when someone who’s not a customer writes about how great our products are after a trial, it makes us a bit more proud to be doing what we’re doing. If our products provide such a great experience that someone needs to tell the world, well that just makes us smile!

One recent example is from David Walsh (@davidwalshblog), a Senior Software Engineer and evangelist for Mozilla, who also runs the wildly popular David Walsh Blog. On his blog, which uses WordPress, David defaulted (as many do) to the out-of-the-box search functionality. And, just like many of you, he found it “underwhelming,” so decided to look for a replacement.

You can read his full post here, which goes into much detail on Swiftype’s features, explains how he set up both Swiftype Site Search and Enterprise Search, and offers his overall impressions. (SPOILER ALERT: He loved both of our solutions!)

Reading David’s post inspired me to write this post because it made me realize how web developers struggle to balance the demands of marketers (like me) against the reality of managing a website. Add to that their desire to work smarter and to work on projects they are passionate about, and it’s easy to see how they can become frustrated with things like lackluster search solutions.

As my team and I spend more and more time speaking with developers specifically about search, we’re seeing clear yet unique needs for both public-facing site search and internal enterprise search.

Site Search for Your Public Audience

Engineers and developers want to spend more time developing products and websites, not configuring search. It’s pretty obvious, and understandable. Developing allows them to be creative, solve problems, and build new things. Search, albeit a critical feature for site visitors, is part of a site’s foundation. It should already be there. And it should work, and work well.

Developers are often asked by marketing or others to tweak search results, which should be easy. If you’re not a developer, you probably assume it’s a simple fix. But that’s not the case with most solutions. “Google Webmaster Tools doesn’t allow me to modify result order so I’m somewhat helpless in correcting the issue on Google, but Swiftype allows me to correct the issue for my own site search,” wrote David in his blog post.

Search is not something that can be created or optimized in a few minutes, especially if your search was custom developed. It’s not much better if your search was created by your blog or site platform, or even if it was created by Google. It’s also why few people build their own (read here why building search is so difficult) and why most people default to WordPress’ canned search or Google Site Search.

With Swiftype, however, tweaking search results is easy. We’ve built our solution with developers in mind, and to make their jobs easier. As David puts it, “All I need to do is drag and drop the result and Swiftype remembers the preferred result order.”

Ultimately, what’s most important is the experience you provide to your site’s visitors. Do you want search to be a frustrating part of that experience or a differentiator? Considering that one-third to one-half of site visitors use search, you’re probably going to want to make it great!

Enterprise Search for Your Internal Customers

Internally, developers have more to consider, since search is on the hook for helping every employee work smarter and faster. David goes into great detail in his post, and he points the finger at the proliferation of specialized web services for making enterprise search such a bear. You might be using HipChat or Slack, plus Dropbox and Box, and GitHub and JIRA, plus Salesforce and Zendesk. Again, in David’s words, “We have so many focused services now, however, that we run into a frequent problem:  where the hell do we find anything?”

Working smarter means removing the burden of foundational tasks, like API configurations, from the developer’s workload. Swiftype lets you choose from dozens of prebuilt connectors to speed and simplify a holistic enterprise search. If a connector isn’t available, our APIs enable you to create a secure and unique endpoint in just a few clicks. It’s that easy. Developers can even add intranets and cloud-based repositories to their search results pool by using Swiftype’s web crawler feature. It’s all designed to make search easier for developers so they can quickly get back to developing.

Swiftype's Connector Framework

What’s important here are two things. First, you’re elevating the experience and productivity of your internal customers by helping them quickly find what they need. Second, you’re giving developers more control and more productivity for themselves by making search easier to configure while providing better results.

As David Says, “Give Swiftype a Shot”

I thought about writing a typical marketing “we’re great” conclusion here, but then realized David did a fantastic job of summarizing it on his post:

“Both of Swiftype’s awesome offerings, Site Search and Enterprise Search, are really impressive.  Instead of rolling out your own search or using a lacking free alternative, give Swiftype a shot.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself…so I didn’t!

On the Search: NYU Libraries Implements Swiftype

New York University (NYU) Libraries is a global organization that advances learning, research, and scholarly inquiry in an environment dedicated to the open exchange of information. As the library of a prestigious university in the 21st Century, their proactive focus on technology enables them to actively reach users at their point of need, wherever that may be.

Today, the number one goal in NYU Libraries’ strategic plan is to “create a user experience that is high quality, consistent, and robust regardless of the user’s location, access method, or objective.” Obviously, their website serves as a critical component in reaching that goal.

As head of user experience for NYU’s library division, Nadaleen Tempelman-Kluit manages their online conduit between the university’s vast number of diverse users (from students and faculty to researchers and staff) and the massive amounts of information available. Here, Nadaleen explains their move to Swiftype as their primary site search and how it has improved their user experience.

What prompted you to look for a new site search?

Nyu.edu uses Google Site Search, so we were using that as our library’s site search. We didn’t have a lot of ability to customize the search, so we wanted to move away from that and get our own solution. We wanted to have more control.

What control did you need?

We didn’t have access to the analytics, so we didn’t know what was possible. We didn’t know all of the things we could do until we deployed Swiftype, but before we weren’t customizing anything. We wanted to gather data to improve both the search experience and how we were presenting our content to the users.

Did users notice your lack of customization?

Yes, for sure. We also had the old search kind of buried, so users had a tough time even finding it. But now our [Swiftype] search is front and center across all of our pages because now we understand our users better and recognize what they’re looking for.

How long did it take to implement Swiftype?

It was just a day. We worked with our CMS vendor, Siteleaf, and they recommended Swiftype. So we took their recommendation and it was ready to go almost immediately.

What types of analytics are helping you improve the user experience?

I tend to look at search queries, and that’s been really helpful. Swiftype’s synonym insights are also great. I can look at queries, see what people are searching for and what words they’re using, then add those keywords to our site. That’s been pretty huge.

We have a service called The Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media, where students get DVDs and watch videos, but most people spell it ‘Fischer.’ So there were a ton of people searching for Avery Fischer and not finding anything. That’s a perfect example. Another is a service called E-ZBorrow, which is spelled e-hyphen-z, but people obviously search for “e-a-s-y.” So we put in ‘E-Z’ and the synonyms ‘easy’ and ‘Easy-Borrow’ and so on. That’s been helpful, and it’s a great way to learn your audience.

Where have you seen improvements since deploying Swiftype?

Just looking at the number of searches, it’s much higher than I expected. It’s become very clear that site search is a big deal for our users.

What’s the Swiftype feature you just can’t live without?

The search queries. That sounds basic, but I’m looking for the percentage of people who succeed in finding something. As the head of user experience, that’s incredibly valuable to me. When I see queries where people didn’t find something, I want to jump in and resolve that.

Want to learn more? We have other great stories about how Swiftype has helped other organizations accomplish great things with Site Search. Check it out now!

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.

The Future of Site Search

Last week, we took a look at the future of enterprise search. And we would be remiss if we didn’t set aside the same amount of blog space for a sister post on the future of site search.

Since it popped onto the scene in 1998, Google has pretty much dominated the world of search, including site search. But, as we all know, as of April 2018, Google Site Search will be going the way of the Dodo bird. (Don’t worry—we’re here to help!) And where website owners at one time could access only default site search options with limited capabilities, today, site search has matured lock-step with the rise of high user expectations.

Because searchers today want accurate, rapid-fire results, here at Swiftype our focus has been on building a search platform that is cloud-based, highly customizable (both visually and in terms of the overall results), scalable, engaging, and, of course, mobile. Advanced search algorithms, bigram matching, and features like autocomplete, faceted search, and spelling correction all work together to facilitate those aforementioned speedy search results. But what’s next for site search?

Welcome to the Future of Site Search

The boiled down “why” of site search has always been to have functionality in place that would help searchers tell companies and brands exactly what they were looking for, and/or what their pain points were. And the future of site search is looking very bright indeed.

Mobile Just Keeps Growing: Yes, we know, we know, mobile is the way to go. But seriously…MOBILE IS THE WAY TO GO! Mobile search has grown year over year across most verticals, including the big boys like finance, travel, auto, and media—and that growth is predicted to continue in 2017. The future of mobile search goes beyond simply having a mobile-responsive site. Think fast and efficient user experience, keyword research, content creation, and complex natural language queries. Wearable tech is a hot commodity, with estimates predicting 185 million wearables sold by 2021, resulting in a healthy $16.9 billion industry. And where you have wearables, you have voice search. Voice search continues to grow, especially for all those mobile users who want hands-free, on-the-go convenience. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, fully half of all web searches will be conducted by voice.

Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing: Speaking of natural language queries, just as we discussed in our previous piece on the future of enterprise search, AI and NLP are having the same impact on site search, “…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.” And artificial intelligence is becoming so ubiquitous and mainstream, it’s predicted that by the year 2020, 85 percent of a client’s relationship with a business will occur without the need for pesky human beings!  

Visual Search: Another way artificial intelligence is shaping the future of site search is through images. Visual search and Ecommerce are natural best friends, with major brands like Wayfair, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and Home Depot (among others) offering visual search on their mobile sites. But visual search technology does more than just source the latest styles. It helps improves diagnosis accuracy in the healthcare industry and is used in some airports to keep track of how often people change their appearance—frequent changes raise red flags. Pointing your phone at something and hitting search is easy, and site searchers today will always choose easy first. Expect huge future growth for the visual search industry.

Back in 2015, it was said that online search “will be able to see and hear like humans.” Fast forward two short years and it’s safe to say we’re well on our way to hitting those goals. Keep an eye on this space, as the future of site search looks very bright indeed.

Have questions or just want to learn more? The Swiftype Team is more than happy to chat with you about how your organization can ensure site search is a part of your future success. Connect with us today!

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