December 20, 2022 | Montreal, QC and San Francisco, CA

Enterprise Search the "Unsung"; Hero Within Digital Transformation Efforts

Lack of Strategic Focus Leads to Inefficient Enterprise Search Practices, Coveo Survey Finds

Coveo (TSX:CVO), a leader in relevance platforms that helps to transform search, recommendations, personalization, and merchandising within digital experiences, today released results of a new survey investigating company views about enterprise search. The results show that enterprise search is an important but unspoken part of organizational efforts, generalized as digital transformation, to use technology to improve efficiency and increase revenue. The study points to challenges organizations face to make enterprise search work, while providing a roadmap to a search center of excellence approach that would overcome them.

Despite widespread agreement that delivering relevant information, products, or knowledge to web visitors is very important (93% of survey respondents), 81% of IT and business stakeholders agree that it’s hard to engage management when talking about search. A similar number (83%) say that enterprise search is crucial to digital transformation efforts, but company leadership rarely talks about it. These results are based on a commissioned Dimensional Research survey of over 600 participants.

Organizations note several strategic focus areas for enterprise search, including for use in intranets (65%) to drive employee productivity, self-service portals (55%) to reduce training and support costs, and within the CRM (43%) to make the sales process more efficient.

In addition, respondents noted the value of search analytics. Over 90% use search analytics to inform business decisions, with two-thirds using analytics to improve the user's digital journey. More than half of respondents leverage search analytics to profile user preferences and audience attributes (56%) or to inform additional content needs (52%).

“The many independent conversations that we have with c-level executives indicate how they value the end results of digital transformation. This study confirms that they are not necessarily aware that those results are built on the foundation of enterprise search,” said Dominic Lajoie, CIO at Coveo. “The lack of strategic emphasis on enterprise search can lead to massive inefficiencies and misplaced priorities across a company. We believe organizations that prioritize the strategic importance of enterprise search will put themselves in a strong competitive position while increasing revenue, accelerating ramp-up time to productivity, and improving web user satisfaction.”

The absence of executive focus likely explains other search challenges outlined in the study. Consider:

Organizations cite widespread enterprise search business and technical challenges. System integration (68%) and data challenges (59%) lead among the cited technical challenges (and virtually all respondents have technical challenges). Among the 96% of organizations noting business challenges, managing stakeholder business needs and preferences (57%) and a lack of stakeholder domain expertise (54%) lead the responses.

Deployed enterprise search capabilities remain primitive. The vast majority (99%) of organizations need at least some manual tuning to improve their search results. Only 17% have made AI-based search capabilities available to users.

Enterprise search deployments are challenging. Almost nine-in-ten (88%) report that their search implementations typically face issues and delays. This includes 29% that characterize the problems as significant.

Organizations are further hampered by the enterprise search talent crisis. Almost all organizations (96%) struggle to find enterprise search expertise, and only 19% believe they do everything with their current enterprise search resources.

The Way Forward: Search Center of Excellence

Coveo has observed that progressive organizations are establishing a search center of excellence (SCoE), a cross-functional team of experts who advise department and business unit teams on an organization's search capabilities and how they are evolving, so that those teams can improve customer and employee web experiences.

According to the survey, two-thirds of organizations show interest in a SCoE, but only 9% have established one. Notably, SCoE interest is slightly higher among executives (72%) when compared to team managers (67%) or individual contributors (64%).

For complete results please download the 2nd Annual Enterprise Tech Report on Search & AI here.

Research Methodology

Dimensional Research surveyed 610 independent IT or technology stakeholders with responsibility for business applications that included search capabilities. All had direct responsibility for their organization's enterprise search capabilities. “Enterprise search” was defined to refer to software that ingests, understands, organizes, and queries digital content from multiple data sources, including those used for web and ecommerce, customer service and knowledge access. Responses were captured between November 1 and Nov. 14, 2022.

About Coveo Solutions

We believe that relevance and personalization are critical for businesses to win in the new digital experience economy, to serve people the way they expect, and that applied AI is an imperative. Coveo is a market-leading AI-powered relevance platform. Our SaaS-native, multi-tenant platform injects search, recommendations, and personalization solutions into digital experiences. We provide solutions for commerce, service, website, and workplace applications. Our solutions are designed to provide tangible value to our customers by helping drive conversion and revenue growth, increase profitability, reduce customer support costs, increase customer satisfaction and website engagement, and improve employee proficiency and satisfaction. 


Coveo is a trademark of Coveo Solutions, Inc.

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