Friday, March 1, 2024

How intelligent search can uncover new insights into company data

If you need to find some information on the Internet, all you need to do is go to a search engine and input some keywords to easily find what you are looking for. But if you needed to find some key internal information related to your company instead, how much more difficult would that task be? The aim of intelligent search solutions is to make that task as simple as searching the web.

To explain intelligent search, it helps to understand the problems it aims to solve. Modern organisations generate huge amounts of data that must all be stored somewhere. For many organisations, this data is often spread out across multiple different locations. Some files might be kept in the cloud, while others are spread across several different physical devices. Each department may have a range of different tools and services they use that are stored on external services. Meanwhile, many IT departments create and store backups on internal RAID servers that may or may not be easily accessible off-premises. With all this data spread so widely, managing and actually utilizing this data becomes a gargantuan task.

It is, however, very important for businesses to track and make use of that data. Certain regulations like GDPR and CCPA mean that organisations must be able to find, provide, and potentially delete, individual customer data upon request. In addition to this, the cost of acquiring and storing all that data is an expense that should be recouped through data analysis. There are surprising insights that can be discovered when all organisational data is accessible and relationships between data sets can be made.

How does intelligent search work?

Intelligent search puts data discovery at the fingertips of both technical and non-technical staff. Data discovery is a 3 stage process: first, data must be united. This is done by connecting all the many different services and data repositories an organisation uses together, which provides a single unified location for the entirety of an organisation’s data. Fortunately, many intelligent search solutions provide pre-built connectors for hundreds of different popular services like SalesForce, Google Cloud, AWS, and plenty more, so this step is not as painful as it might initially seem.

Once data has been gathered, it must be analyzed. This is important, as it allows for links to be established between different data sets and overall enriches the data. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are used to comb through these vast data sets, with natural language processing (NLP) used to provide greater meaning and context to the data. NLP helps intelligent search to more easily understand both data sets and search queries as they are written in human-like forms. This is what enables search engines to provide relevant answers to search queries that are posed as natural questions, rather than traditional keyword-heavy searches and boolean operators.

The last stage is to make access to that data as easily available to staff on a non-technical level as possible. This means creating a user experience and user interface that is as simple and user-friendly as a web search. Intelligent search can be thought of as a private Google or Bing for an organisation. Making the entirety of an organisation’s data as available and accessible as a web search creates lots of new opportunities for organisations.

The benefit of gathering and analyzing reams and reams of business data extends beyond unifying and simplifying access to that data. That data can also be put to meaningful use by analyzing it to establish relationships between different data sets and uncover insights that would have been very difficult to otherwise discover. For example, if you have company HR data and sales data available in real-time, you can establish links between employee performance or absences and sales data. This can help provide data-driven decision making for businesses.

Simply utilising the data already available to your company to deliver new insights and lead business decision-making makes you surprisingly competitive. It is estimated that as much as 80% of all data generated by businesses goes unused. This is a colossal waste of both time and company resources to gather and store all of this data simply to leave it unused. By making this data easily accessible and proactively using it, you are putting yourself ahead of the majority of the competition.


Creating a private Google or Bing for your organisation may sound like a daunting task, but intelligence search solutions aim to provide a turnkey solution for just that. By unifying all of your organisation’s data into a single location made as accessible and user-friendly as a web search, your staff can access data quicker, derive insights from relationships between data and overall become more productive. No longer does data go unused, nor do staff members have to spend hours trying to find the right person who knows where the files they need are stored; instead, they can simply focus on the task at hand, no matter whether they are technically-minded or not.


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Jennifer Evans
Jennifer Evans
principal, @patternpulseai. author, THE CEO GUIDE TO INDUSTRY AI. former chair @technationCA, founder @b2bnewsnetwork #basicincome activist. Machine learning since 2009.