What Role Enterprise Search Plays in Data Management and Access?

By CIOReview | Friday, October 14, 2016
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Having a system to search both structured and unstructured data, Enterprise refers to a practice of delivering content from diverse sources to authorized users. It searches data by using only a single query irrespective of the data sources. As stored content is of little value if it is not easily accessible, Enterprise Search facilitates easy access of information from the company database or intranets in the desired format. Enterprise Search addresses business needs related to storing, retrieving, and tracking of digital information stored at different places such as content management systems, application databases, email servers, intranet sites, external websites, and file systems.

Enterprise Search system provides search results with information ranked in an easily accessible format. The search system consists of multiple stages including content awareness, content processing and analysis, query processing, indexing, and matching. Content awareness is an ability to determine the exact location and condition of the information. Content passes through the phases of search system to get accurate search results. The accuracy of search results depends on the components of the system fetching results from the source repository and displaying in the desired format. All individual components work in a synchronized way to make content searchable for defined audience.

In an article for information-management.com, Theresa Regli and Adriaan Bloem mention that content collection is a subsystem, which is using the conventional approach of the data search. The traditional approach first collects content from different sources then compares it with the existing data and transfer matching content to processing folder later shifts matching data to the indexed folder. Some search systems use different approaches in which the IT administrator configures servers with scripts, like crawler and spider, to identify the revised or fresh content. Later, the content is processed to some degree and copied to another folder and then processed files are pushed to indexing subsystem. Today, companies started implementation of hybrid content collection approaches to develop a new indexing system and a highly customized content collection system.

How Enterprise Search works in the backend?

The content processing and analysis component help in distributing content in a synchronized way. Content is derived from different sources and many formats like, HTML, XML, plain text, .pdf, .doc and others. The content processing phase uses document filters to convert an incoming document into plain text. The content is further normalized with the help of algorithms to enhance its precision and recall. Later, tokenization is applied to split content into the basic matching unit called tokens. Further, tokens are normalized to lower case form to provide case-sensitive search along with a normalizing accent to accumulate better content recall.

Indexing helps in storing content in the form of an index that is further optimized for fast lookups without keeping the whole text of the document. Query processing assists users in issuing a query to the system. That query is further processed with the matching component and later compared with the index stored in the system to find search results.

Demand for Enterprise Search

Currently, the importance of Enterprise Search is at the utmost level due to the burgeoning business data. SanDisk reported that the amount of business data doubles in every 1.2 years. The increasing amount of data creates problems for firms in data processing because daily operations need instant access to the relevant data, while instant data changes disturbs streamlined operations. Therefore, Enterprise Search helps businesses in retrieving information effectively to decrease a major roadblock in the enterprise productivity by ensuring access to the most suitable content.

Enterprise Search is different from web search as the former provides more security and scalability for data. Another benefit of Enterprise Search is that it provides fewer links during the search process, so it becomes easier to find the expected results. While in the case of web search, there are lots of extra results, which makes process complex. Relevancy of results and access control are also big differences between enterprise search and web search. Data crawling is much easier in Enterprise Search because of the less complexity in search results.