Guide to Enterprise Search: Use Cases, Benefits, and Considerations

Enterprise search helps organizations discover, organize, and manage their own knowledge. This includes internal proprietary knowledge, as well as any external sources the firm may have access to. 

Some market intelligence solutions, like AlphaSense, allow you to import your internal research and then search and extract insights from across our vast content universe, as well as your own internal content. You can then apply our artificial intelligence (AI) search functionality to your own internal research, enhancing the speed and comprehensiveness of research. However, most enterprise search platforms do not offer any external market intelligence out of the box, although many allow you to import your own external sources if you have access to them. 

The enterprise search tools of today mostly utilize AI and generative artificial intelligence (genAI) to make the search process more streamlined, precise, and fruitful. 

To implement effectively, firms must select a system that seamlessly integrates with existing infrastructure. It must also be scalable, meaning it can accommodate ever-expanding data volumes without performance degradation, so the firm can continue growing sustainably.

In this guide, we will cover the intricacies of enterprise search tools, including how they work, key use cases, benefits, challenges, and how you can choose the best solution for your company.

If you are interested in a comprehensive buyer’s guide comparing AlphaSense Enterprise Intelligence to other enterprise search platforms, don’t miss our 8 Best Enterprise Search Engines in 2024.

How Do Enterprise Search Tools Work?

When a professional initiates a search query, the enterprise search tool scans the indexed data, collected from both internal and external sources across the organization. It then retrieves relevant results and presents them in a user-friendly format. These results are often ranked based on relevance, and the system may also offer suggestions, auto-complete features, and filters to refine the search. This ensures that users can quickly pinpoint the information they need from the vast pool of organizational knowledge.

Enterprise search often goes far beyond traditional keyword-based searches. If the solution is equipped with AI or genAI, it can understand the context of a query, recognize synonyms, and even learn from user behavior over time to provide more accurate and personalized results. This advanced functionality is especially crucial for professionals in financial sectors who deal with complex and diverse sets of data.

Enterprise Search – Key Use Cases

Internal Knowledge Management

Effective knowledge management is critical for maintaining organizational efficacy and gaining a competitive advantage.

One of the key reasons internal knowledge management is important lies in the vast amount of data generated within an organization. Employees create and consume a multitude of documents, reports, and other information daily. Without an effective knowledge management system, valuable insights may be lost, leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Furthermore, as organizations grow, managing and accessing internal knowledge becomes increasingly challenging, making it crucial to implement a structured approach.

Enterprise search provides a centralized and efficient means of accessing the organization’s vast information repositories. It allows users to search for and retrieve relevant information quickly, promoting collaboration and reducing duplication of efforts. Advanced search capabilities, such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms, enable users to find contextually relevant information even in large and diverse datasets.

Market Research

When enterprise search capabilities are combined with high-value market intelligence sources and AI or generative AI, this can lead to substantial improvements in the market research process—in terms of efficiency, speed, comprehensiveness, and confidence. 

Below are a few key ways enterprise search can facilitate better market research:

Competitive Monitoring and Benchmarking

Enterprise search can help solve the challenge of time constraints on keeping up with all competitor and peer sets during earnings season. This is because enterprise search, particularly when it runs on generative AI like AlphaSense, can be used for:

  • Distilling key insights from large sets of qualitative data
  • Saving time on note-taking (if there is a smart summarization feature)
  • Reducing or eliminating the manual effort needed to analyze and report on public company competitors
  • Cross-checking key takeaways from earnings calls
  • Quickly accessing the most important parts of a transcript
  • Spending less time on secondary and tertiary competitors

With AlphaSense: Clients can import everything they have on a competitive intelligence persona, i.e. battle cards, company profiles, auto-forwarding newsletters. With everything gathered in one place, they can more quickly get new members up to speed on competitors, as well as avoid duplicative information gathering efforts. Clients can also get an idea of their competitors’ product offering by searching through product manuals and documentations or engineering manuals.

Portfolio Monitoring

At the heart of effective portfolio monitoring lies the ability to track and anticipate market volatility. Enterprise search engines enhance this capability by aggregating and processing vast amounts of financial data. They deliver actionable insights that guide portfolio managers in adjusting strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on emergent opportunities.

For buy-side analysts, there is no such thing as too much information. For optimal risk management and smarter decisions, you need as much information as possible. Enterprise search can be used to expand your reach and cover more tertiary and non-core companies that impact your investment portfolio. 

And with generative AI features like smart summarizations, you can get up to speed on new names faster and hone in on the most important factors influencing performance. That way, you leave nothing on the table and ensure that you have a fully built out investment mosaic to avoid blind spots.  

With AlphaSense: Many of our clients use our platform to make their IP more discoverable and actionable through unlocking historical perspectives, CIMs, PIBs, pitch decks, deal memos, investment theses, and more. Especially for clients evaluating a large number of deals per year, this is a massive efficiency gain.

Our PE and VC analyst clients who deal with large volumes of content and notes use AlphaSense’s enterprise search to quickly and efficiently surface the information they are looking for.

Market Landscaping

Far too often, corporate and consulting professionals waste too much time on getting into the weeds of documents without any clarity on what’s important. They need a way to get up to speed efficiently, without missing key information. 

An enterprise search platform with generative AI capabilities enables you to quickly understand the most important things about a company, including SWOT analysis, competitive landscape, and earnings performance. This can be instrumental in preparing for a client meeting and quickly getting caught up to speed on a company. 

With AlphaSense: Consulting and corporate clients can upload expert calls they have conducted with third parties into our platform, as well as any historical third party reports, historical strategy decks, business cases, and more, in order to better keep track of existing insights on specific companies.

Clients also can set up the email integration feature, which auto-forwards within their email platform to bring all their newsletters and niche subscriptions right into the AlphaSense platform.

Earnings Prep

For investor relations and corporate development professionals, the more peers’ earnings transcripts they need to review, the more ill-prepared they likely are for questions analysts may ask about their own earnings call. Enterprise search can be integral in accelerating earnings research by allowing you to quickly spot trends in the questions being asked and how competitors are responding—without the fluff. 

With AlphaSense: Clients can upload their own earnings transcripts into our platform and use our keyword search to check the sentiment of the transcript. 

Client/Supplier Relations

Enterprise search helps quickly get a leg up on client and supplier research. For consulting, corporate strategy, and enterprise sales professionals, it helps more easily keep track of all events happening in or impacting companies across a client/supplier set. It can also be used by consultants to personalize pitches for new clients by referencing key guidance from their CEO, or to obtain key points that can be used to further negotiations with suppliers. 

With AlphaSense: Our consulting clients integrate all past client proposals into our platform, so that when similar requests come from future clients, they can easily draw inspiration from the older proposals. Additionally, clients use third-party expert calls within our platform to stay up to date on companies. 

Common Challenges (and Solutions) of Enterprise Search

Lack of Efficiency and Productivity

Accessing relevant internal content has historically been a challenge for large firms and their employees, resulting in lost productivity. When content is siloed in local drives or personal folders, global organizations often end up with sharing gaps between teams and duplication of work on common topics. 

Further, many organizations lack proper knowledge transfer systems for employee turnover and onboarding, leading to knowledge gaps among new employees. And even when firms employ knowledge management platforms like SharePoint, the search experience is often lacking tools like semantic search to provide comprehensive, relevant results.

Thus, organizations spend too much time on searching and information-chasing and too little time on high-level analysis and strategy building. These inefficient search processes are estimated to cost tens of millions dollars a year in lost productivity for businesses. 

The Solution: By creating a seamless integration of key content in AlphaSense, you break down knowledge silos that waste time for employees. AlphaSense takes discovery to the next level with powerful AI-driven search features, surfacing relevant insights stored in standard CMS systems like SharePoint, OneDrive, or Box more effectively than their native search.

Sorting Through Unreliable and Unstructured Data

A search process is only as reliable and accurate as the data sources you are searching through. Yet, the prevalence of unstructured data, including emails and PDF files, complicates the search process, making it time-consuming and inefficient.

The Solution: AlphaSense provides the ability to create a centralized “single source of truth” for high-value internally-sourced research and content, allowing users to save valuable time wasted currently spent sifting through boatloads of unstructured data housed across multiple systems or locations. 

Additionally, our enterprise search engine is not only layered over your organization’s internal data, but the 10,000+ premium, proprietary, private, and public data sources housed in the AlphaSense platform. When you use AlphaSense’s enterprise search, you can be confident about the reliability and accuracy of your results.

Ease of Use

An intuitive user interface is crucial for reducing the learning curve associated with enterprise search platforms and promoting widespread adoption within the organization.

Many traditional enterprise search mechanisms are far too complex and don’t have the capacity to integrate with existing workflows and systems, preventing users from conducting searches without disrupting their routine tasks.

The Solution: The AlphaSense platform is intuitive and user-friendly, and our enterprise search tool integrates seamlessly with your organization’s workflows. We offer multiple out-of-the-box integration options and more customized solutions with our Ingestion API or Enterprise-grade connectors—such as Microsoft 365/SharePoint, Box, S3, and more.

Lack of Scalability

Enterprise search systems must evolve fluidly to accommodate the growth of a business, so scalability is critical. 

And yet traditional search systems often struggle to keep up with the ever-growing volume of data that growing organizations accumulate over time, which leads to delayed search responses and suboptimal performance. Without scalability, enterprises cannot accommodate growing data repositories efficiently and are thus unable to grow at the pace and to the extent they would like to. 

To address this challenge, organizations must adopt scalable search solutions capable of handling expanding datasets seamlessly. Implementing distributed architectures, leveraging cloud-based services, and optimizing search algorithms are essential steps in ensuring that the enterprise search engine can scale dynamically with the organization’s evolving needs. By overcoming the scalability hurdle, enterprises can future-proof their search capabilities, enabling swift and efficient access to information as their data continues to grow.

The Solution: AlphaSense’s Enterprise Intelligence boasts scalability features such as user management, broad system connectors, infrastructure compatibility, and collaboration tools. 

Lack of Collaboration

Like scalability, collaboration is another capability that can be overlooked and yet is critical for enterprise organizations. Traditional search systems often struggle to facilitate effective teamwork, hindering the sharing and dissemination of valuable information across departments. The lack of collaboration capabilities not only stifles innovation but also leads to duplicated efforts and siloed knowledge.

To surmount this challenge, organizations must invest in collaborative features within their enterprise search solutions. Integrating tools that enable real-time sharing, commenting, and collaborative editing fosters a culture of information exchange. 

The Solution: AlphaSense features powerful collaboration tools that help teams manage and share insights more effectively. Users can leverage content highlighting and commenting features to note key points and share links. Our Notebook+ feature allows users to aggregate relevant pieces of content, add their own perspective, and disseminate insights to the team. Additionally, custom alerts notify team members across the organization when relevant internal or external content is added.

Security and Data Privacy Concerns

In the landscape of enterprise search, security and data privacy concerns are critical considerations. As organizations amass vast amounts of sensitive data, ensuring its protection from unauthorized access and potential breaches becomes paramount. Traditional enterprise search systems may fall short in implementing robust security measures, leaving valuable information vulnerable to cyber threats.

Addressing this challenge necessitates a proactive approach to security in enterprise search solutions. Organizations must prioritize the integration of encryption protocols, access controls, and secure authentication mechanisms. Additionally, adherence to stringent data privacy regulations is crucial, ensuring that user information is handled responsibly and in compliance with industry standards.

The Solution: AlphaSense is committed to the security and privacy of your data.

Our platform leverages an end-to-end encryption of customer information, a zero-trust security model, flexible deployments, and robust entitlement awareness. Our secure cloud environment complies with global security standards–SOC2, ISO27001 compliant, conducts regular, accredited third-party penetration testing. Additionally, we offer FIPS 140-2 standard encryption on all content, as well as SAML 2.0 integration to support user authentication.

And when it comes to our proprietary genAI technology, all queries and data fed into and generated by smart summarizations remain within the platform, with no third parties involved. In addition to being available as an AlphaSense-managed solution in our secure cloud, Enterprise Intelligence can also be deployed via a customer-managed private cloud. This may appeal to customers who need to comply with more stringent internal information security policies or controls.

Lack of Access to External and Internal Premium Datasets

Organizations often rely on a diverse range of data sources, including proprietary databases, industry-specific repositories, and external premium datasets. In some cases, enterprise search can act as a unifying force, enabling users to effortlessly explore and integrate these disparate datasets into their analyses and decision-making processes.

However, most enterprise search solutions do not host their own premium external data and only allow you to import the data you have access to through integrations and APIs. This means you are left with the arduous task of finding a different platform for your external data, and then toggling between multiple platforms as you conduct your research—an inefficient and time-consuming process.

The Solution: AlphaSense’s platform hosts 10,000+ sources of premium, proprietary, public, and private content sources that you can leverage alongside your internal content, eliminating the need to rely on multiple platforms and increasing the scope of data at your fingertips Further, you can use our advanced AI tech stack to improve discoverability of content and pull out the most relevant insights for your research needs.

Raise Your Organizational IQ With Enterprise Intelligence

At AlphaSense, we understand the importance of having a product that delivers the quality results and promise of security every enterprise requires today. Our Enterprise Intelligence solution boasts a secure end-to-end encryption to secure your information and streamlines the ability to search, instantly verify summarizations, and ask questions across both your internal research documents and premium external market intelligence sources. 

By leveraging multiple concurrent data connections across the full spectrum of diverse content management systems, AlphaSense offers a unified content set and federated search experience that fully indexes and scores documents for easy retrieval via our Search, Dashboards, Alerts, and a natural language chat experience. 

AlphaSense Enterprise Intelligence includes the following key features:

Extensive Out-of-the-Box Content Library

AlphaSense allows you to combine valuable internal content and 10,000+ private, public, premium, and proprietary external data sources into one platform. We have purpose-built our platform to keep teams up to speed on the relevant topics and companies driving your market.

Our external content sources include trade journals, news, and SEC and global filings. AlphaSense users also have access to two premium and proprietary content offerings. These are:

  • Wall Street Insights® – A collection of broker research from Wall Street’s leading firms, covering global sector themes, industries, and companies from 1,000+ sell-side and independent firms, available within the AlphaSense platform. Research professionals can even preview the contents of a broker report, saving them wasted time and money on potentially fruitless research.
  • Expert Transcript Library – 35,000+ transcripts of one-on-one calls with industry experts, competitors, customers, professionals, and former and current executives, with the ability to conduct your own 1:1 expert calls for less.

AI Search & Summarization Technology

Our industry-leading suite of generative AI tools is purpose-built to deliver business-grade insights, leaning on 10+ years of AI tech development. Our proprietary AlphaSense Large Language Model (ASLLM)—trained specifically on business and financial data—matches or beats the leading third-party LLMs over 90% of the time. 

Our current suite of tools includes:

Smart Summaries

This feature allows you to glean instant earnings insights (reducing time spent on research during earnings season), quickly capture company outlook, and generate an expert-approved SWOT analysis straight from former competitors, partners, and employees. All Summaries provide you with citations to the exact snippets of text from where the summaries are sourced—combining high accuracy with easy verification.

AlphaSense Assistant

Assistant is a generative AI chat experience that transforms how users can extract insights from hundreds of millions of premium content sources. Whenever you search for information, Assistant is there to summarize key company events, emerging topics, and industry-wide viewpoints. You can dig deeper into topics by asking Assistant follow-up questions or choosing a suggested query.

Smart Synonyms™

This unique feature is proprietary to AlphaSense and has the capability to understand both the keyword and search intent behind any of your queries, factoring in search results that include variations in business language. For example, a search for TAM might also bring back results on market size. 

Relevancy Algorithm

AlphaSense’s advanced algorithm also eliminates noise (i.e., content with matching keywords but ultimately irrelevant to your specific search objective) and surfaces only the most relevant results.  This algorithm saves you precious time and energy, allowing you to get straight to analysis and other high-level tasks.  

Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment Analysis, a natural language processing (NLP)-based feature, parses through content and identifies nuances in the tone and subjective meaning of text. It then uses color coding to help readers identify the document’s positive, negative, and neutral sentiments. 

This technology assigns each search term a numerical sentiment change score to help users track any slight change in market sentiments across time. Users can take advantage of it to make better-informed investment decisions and improve risk management strategies. 

Integration Capabilities

Through either an AlphaSense-managed solution in our secure cloud or a customer-managed solution in the cloud of your choice, customers can easily integrate content at enterprise scale through our Ingestion API or Enterprise-Grade Connectors—like Microsoft 365/Sharepoint, Box, S3, and more. Enterprise Intelligence supports the upload and management of tens of millions of documents.

Additionally, our content processing and content management features enable company recognition within user documents, as well as custom tags and folder structures for better internal content organization and an enhanced user experience. 

Monitoring, Analysis, and Collaboration Tools

AlphaSense is designed to help users find insights faster. In order to do that, we offer a number of tools that extend beyond search and summarization to help users accelerate research tasks.  

  • Customizable Dashboards create a centralized information hub for monitoring key companies and themes, while tailored real-time alerts provide real-time updates.
  • Powerful collaboration tools like Notebook+ and commenting features help teams manage and share insights more effectively.
  • Table Tools allow you to move faster with spreadsheet-style visualizations directly from company filings, so you can chain together, edit, and optimize tables for analysis. 
  • Image Search allows you to discover insights buried in charts to quickly capture data without reading through pages of documents.
  • Snippet Explorer allows you to effortlessly look at any topic or theme and all its historical mentions in a single view.
  • Our Black-lining feature allows you to automatically identify any QoQ changes in SEC filings
  • Automated Monitoring allows you to set up real-time alerts that send instant updates on any relevant market movements, news, emerging trends, and competitor activities. We also generate snapshots of companies and topics regularly that keep you ahead of the curve with actionable insights.

Discover for yourself the power of enterprise search with AlphaSense. Start your free trial of Enterprise Intelligence today. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole Sheynin
Nicole Sheynin
Content Marketing Specialist

Fueled by empathy-driven storytelling and good coffee, Nicole is a content marketing specialist at AlphaSense. Previously, she has managed her own website/blog and has written guest posts for various other publications.

Read all posts written by Nicole Sheynin