While forward-thinking enterprises are deriving great value
from enterprise search, other companies are losing both customers and insight by disdaining it.
At a minimum, companies should move to Standard Practices; large online
retailers and media companies need to be at the Best Practices level.
||"We don't need it."
||"It helps our
||"It lets us see
into our customers' minds."
Search is not necessary -- customers can navigate to what they want
Search is a shortcut that helps customers find what they want; increases
cross-selling and up-selling
Search is a customer-enterprise conversation; search analytics offer insight
into customer desires
Searches are not analyzed
Searches analyzed infrequently
Searches analyzed daily or weekly
Searches are not analyzed
Employee analyzes searches infrequently
Content expert analyzes searches regularly
No search box or a search hyperlink must be clicked; no search analytics
Search text box; multi-line results; rudimentary search analytics
Search text box, sometimes integrated with navigation; search results are
Enterprise Search: An Overview
Enterprise search is the second half of a two-part search application set.
Web search engines such as Google and MSN -- as well as ads delivered within
these search engines -- drive visitors to a specific Web site. Enterprise search
then takes over, helping visitors find information and products on that
corporate Web site.
Consequently, enterprise search differs from Web search in some ways.
- The search universe is smaller -- an enterprise search engine must
catalog thousands of products or documents, rather than billions of Web pages.
- The information can be better tagged -- because companies know
their product lines and information, they can add characterizing metadata that
makes it easier for the underlying search engine do its work: tagging a blouse
as the color pink, made of cotton, and a size 6, for example.
- Visitor characteristics are sometimes known -- perhaps the customer
has to sign in, or the employee must logon to use the corporate intranet. A
better understanding of both the content and the user can go a long way
towards making the search results relevant to the user.
Yet, both enterprise search and Web search have some things in common:
- Search is an explicit statement of customer desire -- when
customers enter a search term, they are declaring their interest -- they are
looking for something specific and want to jump to it, rather than click down
multiple levels to find it.
- Search highlights a customers vocabulary -- when a customer looks
for notebook on a computer retailers site -- and the vendor calls it only a
laptop -- it is a hint that the vendor might want to add the extra term.
Against this technological backdrop, companies have adopted a variety of
approaches to enterprise search: from making it a part of a comprehensive
content management and customer analytics strategy to not using it at all.
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