The Bible says “Seek, and ye shall find.”
Here’s a contemporary corollary: Search, and you may or may not find what you’re looking for – at least when it comes to mining consumer insights and competitive intelligence within your enterprise – if your company isn’t equipped with a highly optimized knowledge management system.
Many companies initially come to Northern Light expressing frustration that they cannot find their documents. That’s often due to the fact that within those organizations there is no centralized content repository for competitive intelligence, market research, and consumer insights. They have built a slew of content silos, often using Microsoft SharePoint or just individual laptop computers, which isolates that content. In that scenario, unless a user knows exactly where a particular document is stored and who has access to it, the information it contains is unfindable and therefore virtually worthless.
And then there’s the issue of search technology. It’s been about 25 years since the internet – more specifically, the worldwide web – began to be transformed into a mainstream consumer research tool by the rapid evolution of what became popularly known as “search engines”. In the 1990s, names like Lycos, InfoSeek, and AskJeeves preceded Google in the commercial search engine market, and the race was on. But contrary to the popular adage, the race to search engine market dominance turned out to be a sprint, not a marathon, and Google burst to the finish line first, then kept right on running. Now virtually everybody can easily find their local pizza shop menu, or what time a particular movie is playing at the multiplex, online with a few clicks or taps.
That’s in the consumer world. Within enterprise knowledge management systems, requirements are different. The stakes for being able to instantly retrieve on-point information that a user needs are way higher – multi-million dollar business decisions hinge on having ready access to pertinent market research documents and consumer insights derived from both internal and external sources.
Which means having a traditional “search” capability – the equivalent of Google for the enterprise – isn’t nearly good enough. Rather, it is imperative that every enterprise knowledge management system is built on what you might call a “find engine” that delivers all relevant and important content in a single, unified response to a user query, and presents not only a link to the document, but also a machine-generated summary of the key insights contained within it.
Yes, this is actually possible – at least it is with Northern Light SinglePoint™! Our system reads all of the documents and summarizes the most significant ideas contained in them into an Insights Report. The user can express an interest in knowing more about a topic—what used to be called a “search query”—and then the system delivers a report rather than just a search result. The machine does the digging and then tells the user what it finds that the user should know. Even better, a “find engine” is proactive – it uncovers information it knows a user is interested in, and pushes it to the user without being asked. AI-based machine learning enables such capabilities.
So in this post we’ve addressed several (but not all) prerequisites for an effective enterprise knowledge management system: a centralized content repository from which information can be found by users in a single query, and presented to users in a single integrated results list; and an AI-enabled “find engine” that serves up relevant information and insights very quickly (SinglePoint typically presents results in less than a second!) because users hate to wait.
Traditional search engines served their purpose, and continue to do so in the consumer domain. But enterprise knowledge management applications require much more robust functionality, and a greater emphasis on finding the insights that should inform business decisions and presenting those insights to users in an accessible, actionable way.
To discuss the value of placing a well-tuned “find engine” at the heart of your organization’s enterprise knowledge management system for consumer insights and competitive intelligence, contact Northern Light.