Why an Enterprise Search Platform Should Be Your Company’s Next Investment
Mike Miranda
JAN 15, 2016 13:34 PM
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Why an Enterprise Search Platform Should Be Your Company’s Next Investment

by Mike Miranda

No matter what industry you’re in, you have one thing in common with almost every other business on this planet: you’ve been creating copious amounts of data at an exponential rate for the last 10 years, if not longer. This includes all kinds of data, of course, and the type you create, harvest and/or store may be very different from others. There’s customer data, product specs, information about the services you provide and much more. Whatever the case, you need this data to be organized and kept near-at-hand (to varying degrees). Unfortunately, this comes at a high cost.

The Big Cost that Comes with Big Data

Many people mistakenly think that storing virtual data is completely different than other types of storage. After all, it’s not like physical property. Data exists somewhere on servers and you can seemingly pack away billions of pieces of it without any problems.

Obviously, there are costs involved though. Keeping those servers up and running costs you money. Unfortunately, a lot of companies pay good money for that storage, but then lack an enterprise search platform to go find it later. They’re essentially throwing money out the window.

Not being able to find that data is more than just frustrating though. It could cost you in business acquisition and customer retention, amongst other things, when you can’t find the information you need to meet your goals with either.

When you look at the whole breadth of what big data covers, it becomes easy to understand why so many companies fixate on it. If your company operates largely in the digital world, your revenues could be taking a serious beating because of these costs.

Secondary Costs of Big Data

It’s worth expanding on the above some more before continuing to the major challenge related to big data. As we covered, you’re paying for your data in one way or another, but it definitely involves investing in servers for the sake of storage. If your employees can’t get to that data and use it to help your company, then you’re wasting money. Someday, you could have unforeseen costs related to your servers too, meaning you’ll be paying even more for them, despite how little they actually do. Of course, we could be here all day listing off the various features and programs you could purchase and use for the sake of modifying your servers further. A lot of those come with some pretty pricey licensing fees too.

Now, let’s talk about your customers. Perhaps you’ve already had a situation where you had to explain to one that you just couldn’t seem to track down some vital information they were asking about. That’s never going to inspire a lot of confidence in them, but a far worse scenario would be if law enforcement were to ever show up with a subpoena. You could be in a lot of trouble for not being able to comply with it. The worst situation, though, would be thinking you couldn’t comply because your data storage is such a mess and then having a judge find out otherwise. Even though you had the best of intentions, this kind of revelation could leave you in quite the legal bind.

Finally, data is more than just information you leave lying around until someone has a question. The best companies know that yesterday’s data is another stone in the path toward their future. You should be using an enterprise search platform to put all your data to better use. Learn more about your customers, market trends and more. There are just so many ways your enterprise search platform could be allowing you to better leverage your data.

The Major Challenge of Big Data

While there is one major challenge that comes with big data, you can actually break it down further into three. There’s not a whole lot you can do about two features of this challenge. Your company is most likely going to continue creating more and more digital data. It seems very unlikely that this will change any time soon.

What’s more, you’re always going to need to store this information. While you can certainly run audits to get rid of unnecessary data, most companies like knowing they have every possible record stored somewhere, just in case. Fortunately, methods for storing this data will continue to advance. From cloud storage solutions to more efficient servers, the future is bright for the digital vaults we need for keeping records.

These don’t necessarily have to be huge problems though. They definitely shouldn’t convince you to try ramping down your data creation or getting rid of the ways you store it. With an enterprise search platform, these problems are largely moot any way.

However, there’s a third challenge that big data brings to the table and this is one you can actually do a lot about. The problem is the question of how to find the data you want in the most efficient way possible. As we have covered in detail, that’s a huge problem to have for any company out there, across all industries.

We’ve covered that there is more data than ever before, but it would be a mistake to think that this information is simply stored on a server somewhere that can be easily searched with your typical engine. Chances are that you already know this isn’t remotely the case and you probably understand how much this type of setup has cost you in the past.

Instead, a company’s data is spread all over the place. The various storage spots are known as silos and they differ from one another in a number of important ways. All you have to know, though, is that the very nature of the info stored in each silo can differ wildly from one another, which is one reason web search engines won’t suffice. Furthermore, basic search platforms usually have to fire off queries one at a time in order to go from one silo to the next. This can make even a fairly basic search go on forever.

To better understand this type of problem, just imagine how useless the Internet would become if we couldn’t search it at will. Most people wouldn’t even bother with it after a while, right? Now you have some concept of how important it is to have a quality engine for searching through your company’s data, especially as more and more is created. When you think about it, many organizations have actually built their own private Internet, given all the data they have. Without a search engine, though, much of that data might as well not exist.

Why Web Search Engines Fall Short

While many businesspeople understand this problem, a lot have come to a costly conclusion based on it. They know they need a search platform, so they simply leverage Google or some other web engine for this purpose.

That would be like knowing you need a family car and buying a semi. Semis are great for getting places, but only for a specific type of travel. If you try using it for a family car, you’re soon going to be disappointed.

Web search engines are tremendous at returning search results that are expansive in size. They aren’t great at drilling down, though, and looking for depth, in terms of details.

However, this is exactly what you need from your enterprise search platform. Not only can it dig into the details you want, it can move from silo to silo, which is really the only way to do this. An enterprise search is also going to return well-organized results that your employees can actually make use of.

Utilizing a Pipeline Approach

The way most enterprise search platforms do this is with a pipeline architecture. What this means is that a piece of software will come with all kinds of ways to carry out a search. You can’t have them getting in one another’s way, though, or you won’t end up with much of anything in terms of results. A pipeline architecture organizes these assets so they work off one another instead of against each other.

That’s not all though. This type of architecture allows the user to customize their search engine. They can exclude certain functions and prioritize others. Oftentimes, pipeline designs are referred to as “plug and play” and this is why.

However, the other benefit is that you can keep augmenting your search engine as time goes on. Just like Google continues refining its algorithm, the makers of these platforms continue modifying theirs by putting out more search functions for users to download and implement.

Don’t go another day without using enterprise search software at your company. Otherwise, you’re wasting a lot of money and your employees are burning through a lot of time conducting searches that are ultimately not getting the results they need. Invest now and you’ll have a search engine that can constantly be improved for years to come no matter what the future might bring.



Mike Miranda writes about enterprise software and covers products offered by software companies like www.rocketsoftware.com about topics such as Terminal Emulation, Legacy Modernization, Enterprise Search, Big Data and Enterprise Mobility. He has written many articles which have been published this year for major online publications, including cyber defense magazine. You can contact him directly for content via email at mmiranda@rocketsoftware.com

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