I’ll be writing specifically about enterprise search engines and what they do for us on an everyday basis. Now, anyone that has ever used a search engine (on the web or on an intranet) probably knows the basic idea of search, but how it’s done and why, most are clueless.
What do Search Engines do?
The first (and easiest to define) task of an enterprise search engine is to search for a specific document or email, in other words, a known item search. A lawyer that is looking for a specific document or contract is an example of a known item search.
The second task for enterprise search is known as an information seeking search. This is where the user isn’t quite sure exactly what they are looking for, but is able to identify what they want through keywords. To use the previous example, this would be a lawyer looking for cases related to his or her current robbery case. He or she would enter terms of the crime and see what is available in the database.
The last task of enterprise search is a comparative search. Think of this as a secondary search that is executed because of the information gleaned in the first enterprise search. Continuing with the example would be a statistical analysis of cases that involve robbery and obtained through search. How many convictions were there? Search. How many involved a weapon? Search. Were they perpetrated by men or women? Search. And so on.
If the company enterprise search solution can address these types of searches, you can easily see how they could save a lot of time and money. After all, the data is usually there, you just have to have the ability to find it in a quick and efficient way.