In this day and age, it’s second nature to look up any information we don’t know offhand — whether it’s that actor’s name you can never remember or a new recipe to try for dinner. That is to say we’re very accustomed to using search engines to find the information we need.
Furthermore, knowing that — as long as we have internet access — we are able to find any information we need can even encourage us to ask questions that we might otherwise have to drop. You could even say search engines facilitate our curiosity in this way.
The advantages to this approach are easy to see in everyday life. But what about in other important contexts, like making business decisions? Driving analytics with a search function is changing how users within companies are able to ask questions, work with data and derive insights.
Here’s more on the power of search analytics in the enterprise today.
Limitations of Legacy Business Intelligence Reporting
A longstanding challenge in the business intelligence and data analytics arena was the separation between the people making decisions and the information they needed to make those decisions based on data. What stood between users and the ability to pull data insights? A major hurdle was the existence of data silos, or isolated databases that are accessible to some people or teams but not others.
As HubSpot writes, data silos are problematic because they:
- Provide fragmented, incomplete view of performance.
- Make effective collaboration between teams difficult or impossible.
- Slow down the decision-making process.
- Lead to redundant data storage resources.
- Create multiple versions of the truth rather than one universal version.
Another issue with enterprises taking a legacy approach to analytics is the static nature of reports and dashboards. Providing users with premade data insights limits how much they can do with these findings. Case in point: What if they have follow-up questions? What if the most useful metric isn’t included in a report or on a dashboard?
In other words, these traditional solutions are not always capable of providing the flexibility enterprises now need to furnish users with the most up-to-date, customizable information formats possible.
Advantages of Ad Hoc Search-Based Analytics
Search analytics, as you may have guessed from the name, has arisen as the next paradigm in data-driven decision making. It addresses and improves upon many of the aforementioned challenges by eliminating silos, connecting users directly to data and providing interactive insights rather than static reports.
The idea here is that using search analytics in the business ecosystem functions somewhat similarly to typing a query into a search engine online. Through Natural Language Processing (NLP), search-driven analytics tools can “convert human language question[s]” into a query understood by the analytics engine. Said engine can then return the response as an interactive chart, which the user can interpret, share with colleagues or embed into a pinboard.
Search-based analytics have made major strides toward democratizing company data, otherwise known as making it accessible to people across the enterprise rather than just to people in specialized roles. The advantage here is that, since these are the people who know their lines of business best and are best positioned to make decisions, it makes the most sense to let them ask questions of data directly.
The power of search analytics resides in the fact this tech breaks down silos, connects all kinds of users with data and lets them use plain language to ask questions — all factors that fuel an enterprise’s ability to make widespread decisions driven by data at every level of business.