Searching for content at the enterprise level is often a hit-or-miss affair. The invisible costs when content can’t easily be found include wasted time and effort, and, in the worst cases, the need to recreate the content. Consistently finding what you need requires an application designed to probe volumes of content and data in multiple formats and across diverse repositories with the right tools to enhance search results. The value of a search tool should be measured by how effectively it adapts to a user’s requirements and successfully locates the required content. On the surface, this task sounds simple. For many organizations, however, searching legacy enterprise content management (ECM) systems for specific documents or assets is tremendously inefficient.
As an example of the costs of inefficient knowledge sharing, the Panopto Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report determined that as a result of inefficient knowledge sharing the average large US business loses USD 47 million in productivity each year. On the average, US knowledge workers waste 5.3 hours per week either waiting for critical information from colleagues or recreating existing information.
Another example of lost productivity because of poor search tools emerged from a survey conducted by Nuxeo in November of 2019. This survey revealed that employees of financial services companies in the United Kingdom spent, on average, 52 minutes a day searching for information. Eighty percent of respondents stated that the systems they used (an average of 9 information management systems in each company) were not fully integrated, complicating the search processes.
Effective enterprise search needs to do much more than just index content. Finding content, of course, is the first key requisite. But search also needs to be able to monitor content that is changing within the system, give users tools to quickly discover content when researching a topic, and analyze content sets rapidly to improve decision-making.
Nuxeo product manager Lisa McIntyre evaluated the results of a 2018 survey Nuxeo conducted of 1000 business users to discover what techniques they use to find content and how they work with content once they find it. One of the key discoveries of the survey was that different users prefer distinctly different search methods, varying according to their job responsibilities and inclinations. Another surprising fact was that even though every ECM system includes search capabilities, 72 percent of users sometimes recreate content that already exists somewhere in the system. As shown in the graph, users conducting searches frequently can’t find what they need.
We often spend more time looking for and tracking down information. If we don’t find what we are looking for in the initial part of the search, we continue to go at it and at it and at it because we know we should be able to find it. We are wasting time looking for information.
Industry sectors that have heavily invested in ECM systems that were implemented when most of the content being managed consisted of documents and images, such as the financial services industry, now need to contend with a broader array of file types. Rich media—video, audio, social media feeds, slide presentations, and other content—has become valuable to business operations. This is where a content services platform (CSP) can unify the available content—encompassing a wide range of formats—and establish relationships between content elements for superior search results.
Another important element of search is engineering a way to identify content associated with individual consumers, in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and similar privacy regulations. Robust search capabilities at the platform level can be an important tool in demonstrating compliance and ensuring proper protections are in place across the system infrastructure. Industries subject to these regulations, where granular control over content and data is vital, such as government bodies, financial services, medical organizations, and insurance firms, can benefit from a capable CSP. The CSP helps ensure governance, records retention, privacy, security, and more at the platform level.
The Nuxeo survey results led McIntyre to reach these conclusions about which characteristics are most important in enterprise search tools.
To modernize search for users in enterprise environments, Nuxeo focuses on three cardinal areas:
- Powerful search capabilities
- Contextual browse across multiple repositories
- Single source of truth
For rapid and effective search operations, Nuxeo has integrated Elasticsearch into the Nuxeo Platform. Elasticsearch provides multiple options for enhancing search operations, including dynamic filtering to enrich search results, fuzzy search capabilities for when you’re not sure precisely what you’re looking for, and incorporating synonyms into search processes.
Scalability is also a primary consideration, particularly in industry sectors with complex, high-volume requirements. For example, financial services organizations and insurers store billions of objects over decades, all of which must be searchable across a complex mix of systems and applications. To accommodate these kinds of requirements, the Nuxeo Platform scales to tens of billions of objects and can ingest, search, manage, and retrieve any type of content.
Precision search results require more than basic full-index text searching, which often returns too many results to be useful, many of them off target. Understanding the context of the data through the use of metadata and AI-guided searches can greatly improve the quality and relevance of search results. User roles can also help determine the kinds of information needed to support each individual’s work, which is another area where AI can help sharpen results.
Linking searches to specific business processes, as also enabled by the Nuxeo Platform, provides another layer of relevance for delivering information in context. This makes it possible to present the right information at the right instance—when the user needs it to make a decision, carry out a task, or distribute information to colleagues. Marrying search to process yields substantial productivity gains.
If we cannot fulfill the customer experience promise that we have made, to create something that delights the consumer and makes their life easier, then we are going to lose those customers through churn.
For more information on this topic, view Future of Search for Enterprise Content Management, which includes a slide presentation and video recording. You can also visit this webpage about the Nuxeo search features.