Take a quick survey of how many search interfaces you have running in the
organization. Count every content management system, all the customer-facing
applications, and the portfolio of important SaaS tools with built-in search
The count may go into the hundreds of search and information silos in large
enterprises, but even smaller and medium-sized businesses struggle to deliver
a consistent search experience in customer-facing apps, customer support
functions, and employee workflows.
How technical debt on search experiences hurts IT and the business
Now factor in the underlying costs and complexities CIOs and IT leaders have
in maintaining these systems. These include the costs to:
- Manage legacy search systems running in the data center
Maintain custom search indices created by developers across multiple public
Retain knowledgable developers who coded the search algorithms and data
Address technical debt, reduce search relevancy defects, and resolve data
- Integrate knowledgebases and workflows after M&A
Respond to customers, employees, and executives when searches are slow or
Like many other areas where a business has redundant systems, IT is left
managing many of the costs and complexities.
Build a simple business case for AI and low-code search experiences
These issues should help justify an easy business case for centralizing search
experiences on an
AI-enabled, intelligent search platform. These platforms offer several benefits and can
Deliver improved experiences through built-in and configurable machine
learning algorithms for search results relevancy, related searches,
recommendations, and natural language querying
Enable rapid development and faster improvements through low-code, pro-code,
API, and out-of-the-box SaaS integrations
Reduce costs and security risks by consolidating platforms, improving
employee productivity, and reducing customer support issues
With all these benefits, why have some CIOs, chief digital officers, and
innovators been slow to prioritize search experiences in their digital
Establish an executive partnership to improve customer and employee
The simple answer is that it requires a collaborative organizational effort to
a search experience center of excellence
that delivers ongoing business improvements. But it’s not hard – it just
requires following one of the key lessons I share in my book,
Digital Trailblazer – that CIOs
must step out of their comfort zones, develop executive relationships, and
partner on transformation programs.
Revisit the Importance of Search for Your Enterprise Tech Strategy, I share details on forging these executive relationships. Here are the four
leaders that CIO should partner with and form the vision, charter, and
business case to invest in search experiences:
1. Who owns customer experience in your organization?
If you are a SaaS company or develop many customer-facing applications, your
answer might be a head of user experience (UX), the chief digital officer, a
head of innovation, the CMO, or someone that reports to them. If you have few
customer-facing technologies, the customer experience may be linked to sales,
marketing, field operations, and others business areas that require searching
for information when interacting with prospects and customers.
Make sure the most influential leaders with customer-facing responsibilities
and working in a strategic business area are identified on the search
experience’s program charter.
2. Who owns employee experience in your organization?
When no executive truly owns this responsibility, then I recommend CIO to step
up and lead the agenda. Other times, it may be a head of operations, a human
resources leader, or leaders with the most people reporting to them. These
leaders have the most to gain from productivity improvements driven by
simplified search experiences and faster access to information.
3. Who owns customer support or account management functions?
These leaders are often the most technically underserved in their
organizations once a ticketing system and workflow are in place. But ask
anyone on these teams what it’s like to be in a dialog with a customer with
little context around who they are, what products and services they bought,
where they are in a customer journey, and what problems they may be
It’s frustrating and time-consuming for reps to look up information in
multiple systems or manage their frustrations of not having real-time access
to the most important sources. Centralizing access to customer information and
their activity across products and applications can drive significant
improvements in customer satisfaction and reduce the time to resolve customer
4. Who owns data governance, data security, and privacy compliance?
Implementing data security, privacy, and other compliance functions is a
struggle when many employees must access information across too many systems
and information silos.
When everyone has access to everything, data governance has a harder job
maintaining data catalogs and dictionaries, privacy officers have more data
sources to review, and infosec has more systems to lock down. Centralizing
search experiences reduces these risks by channeling employees to fewer
systems of engagement. Plus, CIOs should be able to get budget contributions
from compliance leaders to invest in search platforms and centralize employee
When these executives collaborate, investing in an AI-enabled search platform
can be a digital transformation force multiplier driving customer and employee
experiences. My recently published
white paper focuses on planning, delivering, and transforming search experiences.
This post is brought to you by Coveo.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not
necessarily represent the views and opinions of Coveo.