There are vendors that specialize in specific types of enterprise searches. These have varying degrees of return on investment (ROI) and different ways of measuring success. The ROI is very hard to see in some organizations and much easier to measure in others, when it comes to enterprise search.
There is the traditional meaning of enterprise search, but enterprise search can mean very different things. The traditional way of having employees search an intranet for data is not the only way that enterprise-wide searches are being conducted. If your company uses its enterprise search platform to increase the ability of its employees to find products on an e-commerce site (think Amazon), then this is very easily measured.
Many searches were done using the implemented keywords, and what was purchased from these searches. Easy. If, on the other hand, your company uses their enterprise search for compliance issues, it is much harder to gauge. How much does the company save by being in compliance with various laws and how can you measure a ROI on something that hasn’t happened?
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You can bet that these enterprise search platforms have value in avoiding large fines, but the number is hard to find. There are also companies that organize their enterprise search platform to perform a customer related service. Companies always have a FAQ section, but if there is a search function where customers can get the exact answer that they need without calling a service line, this saves money. The company would be able to cut staff from their call center and it’s easy to measure the ROI year-over-year by comparing costs and call volume.
Where does enterprise search work?
Where I think that enterprise search as an idea and enterprise search as a platform really work is in R&D. It has been estimated that is much as 30% of R&D resources are wasted by repeating research that has already been done. The problem for the company is that they usually can’t pinpoint which 30%. An effective enterprise search solution could easily solve this issue and reduce cost by a large margin. If you look at enterprise search benefits generally, you can draw some pretty interesting conclusions.
A study by the Aberdeen group in 2009, surveyed 188 companies that had implemented an enterprise search solution. It compared the top 20% against the others. Here are some key findings:
- At top performing companies, 67% of searches listed the most relevant results on the first page, compared to 42% amongst others.
- 67% of top companies were striving to create a single view of all enterprise content, compared to 27% of the others
- Executives at the top companies saved six hours a week looking for information. The figure for other companies was only one hour
- Staff at top companies saved an even larger amount of time
You can see that a company stands to save a lot of money and time by implementing enterprise search, but obviously it’s very hard to put a value on enterprise search in some industries when it comes to ROI. CEOs are constantly shown surveys for various parts of their business and usually find it hard to see the benefit of a good enterprise search system. It’s also clear from the surveys that even if a company has an enterprise search solution implemented within the company; it is often poorly executed and could use some TLC. Failing to implement enterprise search effectively will reduce the ROI and the bottom line.