Content Delivery

Why Enterprise Search Alone Isn't Enough for Effective Product Content Delivery

Keren Brown

Table of Content

Imagine a world where every answer is at the tips of your customers’ fingers. Now, think about the challenge they face in actually finding those answers. The answers to your customers’ questions are out there, but they struggle to find them. Let’s make it easier for them.

The web and its search technology have significantly increased the availability of knowledge and information for decision-makers. Abundant information is available at the tip of our customers’ fingers, no doubt. While abundant information is at our customers' fingertips, it is useless if they struggle to find what they need.

This abundance highlights the importance of organizing knowledge in a coherent taxonomy and making it accessible. Many enterprises, especially in the B2B SaaS world, share the challenge of making information easily accessible to customers and stakeholders.

the long path of a user in search of a product answer

Empowering Customer Experience Through Effective Knowledge Management

According to a recent Frost & Sullivan survey, only 6% of users find the right answer during their first search, and the average B2B user spends around 7 minutes looking for answers to their questions.

Your customers’ usage of your products, the level of customer experience and health, as well as their trust and loyalty, are all affected by their ability to find and utilize the right information at the right time. Access to knowledge is crucial for the customer experience because your customers rely on it at every step of their journey.

Personalized information reduces the confusion, anxiety, and frustration customers feel when searching for the right information. Enhancing the productivity of knowledge workers is a major management challenge. This organizational issue quickly becomes relevant for customer experience, customer success, and customer support leaders.

What is Enterprise Search?

Imagine typing a keyword and getting a list of results. Recent initiatives have aimed to manage organizational data, information, and knowledge through information technology. Many of those projects have primarily focused on data warehousing and document repositories linked to search engines supporting the digital capture, storage, retrieval, and distribution of an organization’s explicitly documented knowledge.

Enterprise search, or universal search, is a popular method to organize information from an organization's digital sources. It creates a common interface to allow users to access knowledge scattered across an infinite number of documents, stored in multiple file systems, databases, and content management systems.

It can be interpreted as ‘search for digital textual material owned by an organization, including search on the organization’s external website, intranet, and in any other electronic material storing text such as email, database records, and shared documents.’ Put simply, enterprise search is the practice of identifying and enabling specific content across the enterprise to be indexed, searched, and displayed to authorized users.

Enterprise search systems index data and documents from various sources, making them searchable to a defined audience. Search results are generally presented in a line of results, as an additional layer. When clicking a search result, you are taken to the indexed source for further interaction. This creates a searchable index within the browser, allowing users to find content across the organization. This system helps end users find the content they need to work effectively and efficiently.

Why Search is Not Enough: The Differences Between Search Expectations and Reality

Imagine the unlimited potential of a powerful and flexible search. To keep up with evolving products and features, enterprises create extensive technical product guidance, such as guides, manuals, and documentation. They supplement this with enterprise search tools. While abundant product documentation can improve information work, its usefulness depends on user acceptance of the information systems.

The new standard of digital search is dynamic, on-demand, and real-time. It assumes that providing search means customers can easily find and understand your product’s information.

Customers no longer accept outdated manuals or guides to find answers. They expect easy, intuitive access to guidance wherever they need it. Customers demand relevant guidance to succeed at every step of their journey.

Many organizations have attempted to overcome this challenge with digital search. Mainly, they simply point a search engine at their legacy guides and manuals, and then let users search for the answers they need from whatever support channel they want. This has proven a failed strategy.

Enterprise search tools offer a limited scope for a functional documentation portal and seamless customer experience. They focus only on search mechanics, not the user experience after clicking a result. Enterprise search directs customers to various channels like knowledge bases, tech docs portals, online communities, and in-product help.

The Limits of Enterprise Search

The Limits of Enterprise Search

Enterprise search offers limited knowledge access and may lead customers away from their initial search location. Search results often link to multiple sources, causing customers to leave your product, application, or site for another channel with different structure and branding. This context-switching is confusing and frustrating, and once customers leave your website, there's no guarantee they'll return.

Enterprise search doesn't guarantee customers will see the most up-to-date information or get complete answers. For search to be effective, customers must know the internal terminology or have specific queries. Otherwise, enterprise search becomes a passive source that can't guide customers to the next step.

In organizations with many departments or products, incorrect tagging and outdated content can flood results with misleading information. While search filters may lessen this issue, again, the customer has to understand your internal terminology, or risk being led down the wrong path.

Enterprise search does not allow easy search in multiple file formats. When enterprises use various file formats to store corporate knowledge, they limit customers’ ability to find the right answer. The answer may be stored in a plethora of documents and authoring tools like Jira, Confluence, DITA, Adobe, and more. Searching through each of these requires additional functionality to ensure a great content experience.

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Enterprise search doesn't create a learning-focused customer experience. While it provides suggested results, it doesn't offer a unified experience, proactive learning workflows, or complementary content suggestions. These elements are essential for deepening customer trust and loyalty toward your product.

Enterprise search doesn't meet customers' expectations for information delivery. As product guidance evolves, many companies struggle to adapt their documentation portals for modern self-service. They continue using traditional methods, creating comprehensive user guides often published as PDFs through manual processes. Thus, even if customers can use enterprise search to find the right document, they still need to open or download the document and continue to search again for the right answer.

Enterprise search doesn't prevent duplication of technical content or encourage organizational cooperation. In larger enterprises, different teams use incompatible tools and systems, leading to the creation and publication of the same content across individual channels. This results in a maze of inconsistent channels that may make sense to their creators but confuse end users.

The bottom line? Relying solely on enterprise search to deliver product content can leave users lost in a maze of disconnected information.

why enterprise search is not enough

How Knowledge Consolidation is Different from Enterprise Search

Imagine finding the right information with the right context from any source. Knowledge consolidation synthesizes product content to deliver personalized answers wherever customers need them, including documentation sites, customer service portals, support communities, and product applications.

With knowledge consolidation, users see complete information in context. They can explore your documentation portal and content within a consistent structure, drilling down to find precise answers to their questions.

How Knowledge Consolidation is Different from Enterprise Search

Why Knowledge Consolidation is Better than Enterprise Search

Search engines try to return relevant content, but users often don't know exactly what they are looking for. They need easy navigation and exploration to discover information and gain product knowledge.

  • Knowledge consolidation enables explorability, instead of focusing on searchability
  • Knowledge consolidation ensures consistent presentation, instead of forcing users to switch context and navigate to external browsers
  • Knowledge consolidation provides precise answers, instead of pointing users to often long, complex documents
  •  that might contain the answer
  • Knowledge consolidation prioritizes personalized customer experiences
  • Knowledge consolidation fosters customer learning and trust, enabling seamless knowledge journeys

Why Knowledge Consolidation is Better than Enterprise Search

How Knowledge Consolidation Creates an Improved User Experience

Imagine seeing search results organized around a user’s journey. Knowledge consolidation delivers complete, personalized product answers and experiences across the customer’s journey, at every touchpoint.

  • Contextually relevant results: Dynamic page results show results in context, with immediate answer summaries
  • Intuitive navigation: Guided user pathways ensure users can easily find related topics and answers
  • Dynamic updates: Continuous content updates and feedback loops ensure information is always up-to-date
  • Personalization: AI-driven content suggestions tailored to user profiles and behavior
  • Omnichannel integration: Seamless delivery of knowledge across multiple channels, maintaining consistent user experiences

How Knowledge Consolidation Creates an Improved User Experience

Conclusion

The abundance of information today can overwhelm customers. Relying solely on enterprise search doesn't meet modern expectations for self-service and seamless access. By integrating knowledge consolidation with enterprise search, organizations can provide a superior, consistent, and personalized customer experience, helping users find the right answers quickly and easily, and fostering deeper engagement and loyalty.

Embrace knowledge consolidation to enhance your enterprise search and transform your customer experience. Make it easier for customers to find the information they need, when they need it, supporting their journey and building trust in your products.

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