Search means different things to different people.
At Twigkit, companies across the gamut of industries use our software to build different types of search-based applications — from behind-the-firewall enterprise search, to public-facing website search, to a variety of bespoke business applications. While powered by the same technology, the business goals and user expectations for search application vary widely from industry to industry. That’s why we recently began exploring the following question with the search team at Google Enterprise:
What does search mean for the organisations in four particular industries — financial services, manufacturing, media, and the public sector?
Drawing from our experience of having worked with numerous customers across each of these industries, we set out to use Twigkit and the Google Search Appliance to build a set of exemplar applications that demonstrate the business value of search for each of these four sectors. Here’s what we came up with.
For financial companies such as banks, investment firms, and insurers, search-driven “know your customer” applications can help drive sales, enhance customer experience, and mitigate regulatory risk by providing a 360-degree view of customers.
Financial services companies can use search to:
- Drive sales across channels by equipping sales staff to engage in targeted cross-selling with existing customers.
- Increase customer satisfaction and reduce the cost of support by enabling support staff to instantly access and search customer information — including their documents, messages, and transactions.
- Mitigate regulatory risk by enabling compliance officers to accurately identify non-compliant customers.
To demonstrate how these business objectives can be achieved, we built a customer-centric search application that provides:
- Customer search. Quickly lookup an individual customer using search-as-you-type, or filter by customer criteria such as the financial products they hold, how long they’ve been a customer, their credit score, and much more.
- Customer overview. Get a 360-degree view of the customer, including their account details, the products they hold, the identity documents they’ve provided, notes on their account, and their correspondence and transaction history.
- Message search. View the message history to and from the customer, and search across those messages.
- Transaction search. Because there may be thousands of transactions per customer, we chose not to index transactions in the search platform, but instead search and display the records directly from a database, an easy task thanks to Twigkit’s ability to abstract data platforms — search engines and databases alike.
Manufacturing companies can leverage search to streamline the product lifecycle — bringing together the documents, defect reports, ideas, and people that are foundational to every manufacturer.
Search can enable manufacturers to:
- Gain insights by reviewing research documents and idea submissions during product design and development.
- Drive continuous innovation by identifying and addressing defects early.
- Encourage collaboration by enabling staff to find people with relevant expertise.
- Streamline servicing by providing one-stop access for all the documents and resources related to a specific product.
To show how manufacturers can achieve these business objectives with search, we built a product-focused application that provides:
- Product search. Quickly find the right product using search-as-you-type, or a dedicated search page. When reviewing product results, jump straight to the related documents, cases, ideas, and experts for a given product.
- Document search. Search for any document in the corporate intranet, document management system, or file system, encouraging knowledge transfer across teams and departments.
- Case search. Search and review defect cases across the product portfolio to identify and address quality issues.
- Idea search. Review ideas for improvements and new products submitted by internal experts.
- People search. Find anyone in the organisation by their name, role, or expertise.
- Product overview page. Quickly gain an overview of a given product’s key details, and its related documents, cases, ideas, people, related products, and product notes.
Forward-thinking media companies are increasingly using search to strengthen customer engagement through next-generation content exploration and discovery.
To bolster customer engagement, media companies can use search to:
- Provide a seamless experience that bridges the gap between search and browse.
- Help users jump straight to the content they’re interested in with search-as-you-type.
- Increase retention by using search to provide links to related content.
- Leverage the long-tail of content with search-driven topic pages that deliver content in a discoverable, editorial format.
To demonstrate how media companies can enhance customer engagement using search, we built an application using a collection of films that delivers:
- Search and browse. In the past, search and browse have too often been divorced, resulting in a disjointed experience for users (see our blog post on Information Wayfinding). This application bridges that gap, making it easy to browse by genre (including SEO-optimised, human-friendly URLs such as “/genres/action/”), while at the same time apply filters and use keyword search.
- An editorial feel. Film results are presented in an editorial style, with emphasis on the first film, followed by two columns of subsequent results, challenging the stereotype of search result presentation.
- Detail pages. Review the details of a particular film, click on any actor to view other films starring that actor, and peruse a list of similar films.
- Topic pages. View the films by any particular director, actor, writer, etc., with dynamic topic pages (for example “/actors/harrison_ford/”, or “/directors/george_lucas/”).
Increase the efficiency and transparency of public sector procurement by gaining deeper insight into the tenders, tender actions, buyers, and sellers involved in the procurement process.
Government organisations can take advantage of search in the procurement process to:
- Accurately review individual contracts with a comprehensive view of the contract’s constituent actions, documents, buyer, seller, and people, all in one place.
- Search and explore contracts using criteria such as buyer and seller, category, and financials.
- Discover big-picture insights across all contracts with a 40,000 foot visual dashboard.
- Investigate buyers and sellers by reviewing all contracts and contract actions for any entity.
To demonstrate these objectives, we built a procurement application that features:
- A dashboard. Get a bird’s-eye view of all contracts thanks to a panel of charts and graphs.
- Contract search. Use search-as-you-type to jump straight to a contract if the contract ID is already known. Or, when exploring for insights, refine the search using criteria such as the contact’s financials, the buyer and seller, contract type, contract category, and so on.
- Contract action search. For each contract there are one or more contract actions. Search, filter, and sort the table to find contract actions of interest.
- Vendor search. Search for vendors, and get a 360-degree view of all the contracts they’re involved in.
- Contract overview page. Review all the information known about a given contract, all in one place, including all the associated contract actions and documents.
We hope these four applications give you a small glimpse into how search can unlock business value that could transform your company or deparment. Whatever the industry, Twigkit’s suite of tools makes it quicker and easier to build search-based applications than ever before. If you’d like to find out more, we’d love to hear from you.