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Why enterprise search will finally achieve a breakthrough in 2024

Jan Marius Marquardt
Jan Marius Marquardt
Why enterprise search will finally achieve a breakthrough in 2024

Enterprise search software aims at making it possible to search and find information within an organization quickly and efficiently. It searches various data sources within a company, such as emails, documents, databases and other internal systems, and delivers relevant results in a standardized view. The aim is to make it easier for employees to access the information they need for their work, regardless of where the information is stored.

Why enterprise search didn't work in the past

Companies have been trying to develop solutions for years, unfortunately with only moderate success. According to a study by the "Journal of Information Science", 79% of employees surveyed are dissatisfied with the internal search functions in their company. But what are the reasons for this?

  1. Lack of access to relevant data has been a major hurdle to date, caused by a lack of APIs and/or a lack of standardization.
  2. At the same time, companies are using more and more different tools internally - the average number of tools has almost doubled from 6 to 11 since 2019.
  3. The available data is often unstructured, i.e. it is not available in a properly maintained database, but for example as PDFs or within conversations.
  4. The existing search functions have ignored the corporate context, in particular synonyms, internal "corporate language" and the internal corporate structure.

Implementing a good enterprise search is also highly complex from a technical perspective. It is far from enough to simply install existing search technologies such as ElasticSearch or Apache Solr and fine-tune them a little. Critical functions that every user expects today are simply missing: you search for "CEO" and still find "Chief Executive Officer", or a search for "strategy by Ben" ultimately not only finds content containing the words "strategy", "by" and "Ben", but also strategy documents that were provided by a direct colleague called "Ben".

Why 2024 will bring the breakthrough

From a technological perspective, a number of things are currently coming together that we believe will finally lead to the enterprise search solutions that companies and their employees have always dreamed of.

  1. SaaS & standardization: In recent years, companies have shifted more and more parts of their internal IT and software to the cloud, driven primarily by Microsoft 365 and others. As a result, standardized, secure APIs are now available through which enterprise search systems can access the source data.
  2. Digital data: Due to the general digitalization of work, which has gained enormous momentum at the latest since COVID-19, more and more parts of corporate knowledge are being stored in digital systems and can be accessed at all. The amount of data and knowledge has continued to increase ever since.
  3. Artificial Intelligence: With the breakthrough in generative AI, a ground-breaking technology is now available that can be used to systematically analyze and interpret largely unstructured data for the first time. For example, consensus and decisions can be derived from public conversations. But that's not all. With the help of AI, users' search queries can also be interpreted and automatically optimized in the background.

Of course, these technological developments are ultimately only the foundation. Companies are still faced with the challenge of bringing these pieces of the puzzle together into a complete solution that meets all of today's requirements in terms of usability, security and speed. In particular, the automated structuring of all company knowledge from the various system sources remains a highly complex task that cannot simply be solved "on the fly" using AI.