Enterprise Search for the Digital Workplace
Preceding the Digital Workplace Summit 2016 the following interview was given by Eduard Daoud to Communardo Software GmbH, a leading company for digital workplace solutions and an intergator integration partner.
Mr Daoud, with intergator you offer an Enterprise Search Solution that makes the content of various applications and systems available in a central search. How has the use of intergator changed the flow of information and Knowledge Management for your customers?
Why not let customers tell it in their own words. For example, Thomas Hoffmann from Bitburger Braugruppe puts it as follows: “The company-wide browser-based search is simple and effective. It eliminates tedious searching of folders, files, e-mails and drives by scanning all of the options that the user has access to in just one search. “Or Albrecht Mayer from TÜV SÜD Product Service: “intergator Enterprise Search is the ideal solution for us to reduce redundant, time-consuming searches to a minimum and to provide our experts with the necessary knowledge quickly and comprehensively.”
By using the intergator our customers are able to quickly access knowledge any time and from any location. Information is found within seconds regardless of the information source and the format, taking into account the access rights. As a result, employees obtain information much more efficiently and valuable working time is saved. Also, our Social Dashboard allows employees to bundle and share project or department-specific knowledge.
What makes for a good Enterprise Search from your point of view?
A good Enterprise Search Solution encompasses the following criteria:
A good Enterprise Search must be adaptable. Each user is unique, everyone searches differently, every individual, every organization and department etc. uses their own vocabulary, even languages and concepts are mixed. intergator Enterprise Search is able to work semantically and to map information relationships and categories. The system is capable of learning (machine learning), so that relationships can be established and search terms can be extended using algorithms.
Of course, a good Enterprise Search is also characterized by the fact that results are not only found company-wide in their entirety, but also, as with integator, the users are provided with an efficient way to navigate, narrow down or expand these results. Furthermore, the visual presentation of search results and the option of preview images are must-haves for a good Enterprise Search solution. The fact that defined access rights are respected goes without saying.
Maintaining access rights/security:
Security and compliance are very important aspects for companies of all sectors and sizes. If you are working with an Enterprise Search solution you need to ensure that the company is able to keep information as secure as possible.
With Analytics functions, users can create content and perform usage analyses and statistical analyses using interactive charts. The company’s digital data stock can be visualized via an Analytics Dashboard, thereby supporting decision-making processes.
This type of architecture helps to configure an optimal solution without the need for reprogramming. This type of architecture helps to configure an optimal solution without the need for reprogramming. The Enterprise Search is able to improve the algorithms and intervene in the processes as required so that the client can keep up with requirements. And what is important: It is also possible to implement completely new functions thanks to such architectural models.
In order to reliably gather information from the most important corporate applications, e.g. CMS and DMS systems, intranet portals and collaboration platforms, recourse is made to the so-called connectors as a standard procedure. They always play a central role in our projects nowadays. It is therefore important to check whether the connectors are self-developed connectors or conform to the standard. And of course, the question of costs is also an important one. With intergator, all connectors are standard and in-house developments of interface projects GmbH and are offered free of charge.
Scalability of the solution:
How scalable and efficient is the Enterprise Search Tool? A highly scalable search function must be able to allow for a large number of users and large amounts of data at various locations around the world to provide relevant information quickly and without unnecessary complications on a daily basis without waiting times. We know from our experience with various projects that of course the company which is behind the search solution also plays a large role. The team, the location/liability, etc.
Just about all applications bring their own search, often with functions such as content previews or access to the most recent search queries. What benefit does the use of intergator provide here? Doesn’t this mean we lose the benefits of an internal search?
How often does it happen that you know sometime, somewhere you have seen a piece of information, but you cannot remember if it was on a Wiki page, in Confluence or PowerPoint on the file server or in an e-mail attachment?! Under which name has XY stored this information, etc. Here is where intergator comes into play. Instead of starting the individual applications in order to search for the desired information, intergator simultaneously searches for synonyms, extensions, etc. in all data sources deploying its semantic functions and delivers search results, which can then be conveniently limited. As a user, I don’t even have to start the relevant application, as with the help of the Documentation Read I can find the references within the pages. Instead of opening files I can view files directly in the browser in the original layout without needing the installed software on my device.
Applications such as Microsoft SharePoint also allow the linking of various data sources. What are the differences with the Enterprise Search intergator?
The SharePoint search is very powerful, but it is not a universal Enterprise Search solution. However, if SharePoint is the central system in a company it is possible to integrate intergator into SharePoint without complications. Important additional functions of the intergator Enterprise Search are, among others:
- Indexing of non-Microsoft file formats
- Search-index-based applications
- Extracting metadata from the text content (e.g. Named Entity Extraction, such as the identification of people’s names or geographical terms in the text)
- Preview for found content, including hit highlights for all indexed file formats
- Advanced search (form, not just a simple search field)
- Saved searches, notification of new hits, search result as RSS feed
- Social search (Tagging & Bookmarks)
- High scalability of indexing and low-complexity searches (installation, operation, and resource requirements)
- Platform independence (intergator is fully implemented in Java and can be used on Microsoft Windows and Linux systems)
- Based on its own in-house developed connectors intergator can incorporate more than 100 business applications out-of-the-box (as of today).
Central access to the Digital Workplace is often realized via a homepage or Dashboard in the leading application. However, there are also situations where applications are of equal importance or are used differently depending on the context. What solution can intergator offer here?
intergator can provide a very innovative intranet solution using the personalized Dashboard. In addition, for example, to the centralized access to all accessible organizational information, users can easily display the content, documents, e-mails, calendars, news, etc. they need on a daily basis (via search-based apps in the background) on the Dashboard. intergator is a central access point for all data and systems. Nowadays, for many customers the Dashboard functions as a Single Point of Access. Using the Search function one navigates directly to the required information/document and opens the application from there. Thus instead of starting all required applications you can use intergator to get there when it is necessary in the course of work.What is also of interest for many customers is using the search internally as a service. That means that the search in the DMS or Sharepoint, Confluence etc. is replaced by the intergator search. The user works in the DMS and searches and finds the relevant information for his process, but has hardly any other contact points with intergator.
You have already told us about the features of search and the Social Dashboard – but intergator offers much more.
Yes, you are right. intergator is not just a cross-system search engine and Knowledge Management platform. With intergator Analytics and the Expert Finder we are opening up completely new business cases which ultimately benefit our customers. Our product has been developed based on customer projects and their associated challenges.
For our customers, and in view of future requirements, we are also constantly working on the further development of our technology. The focus is on the expansion of connectivity, semantic functions and Deep Learning.
A new component is our Analytics Tool. With intergator Analytics you can visualize the entire digital data stock and create content and usage analyses as well as statistical evaluations with the aid of interactive charts, without having to create new database structures and complex ETL processes.
The Expert Finder will be released at the beginning of 2017. Here we can revolutionize the topic of search based on expert opinion. This topic is always difficult to discuss in companies in Germany, as aspects such as data protection and self-declaration always play a role, and yet we have been able to invent a powerful solution. I am pleased to present this new solution soon.
intergator 5.3 was released in summer of 2016. In addition to improvements to the Dashboard and the expansion of semantic functions now there is also the new Content Management feature. Can you tell us more about this?
Thanks to the user-friendly Drag & Drop functionality, the Social Dashboard can capture information and upload it to a content store. The automatic indexing is manually controllable; metadata and permissions can be changed. If necessary, you can quickly and easily integrate your content into running processes. You know in many cases, for example, placing a press release on the Dashboard is a real problem, as is the case in internationally operating knowledge-oriented companies such as in the automotive sector. You need some central repository with retirement and automatic indexing of product and process documentation. It is often the case that there are several DMS and PLM in such companies, but none is the leading system. This is where we come in and offer a real alternative with our Content Management. This is now being used by a number of our customers and they are finally able to find the binding information quickly and without complications.
Thank you for the interview!
P.S.: For futher information check the landing page Enterprise Search for the Digital Workplace