Simpplr Features that Matter: 6 Intranet Search Requirements

By Jamie Yan
In our last post, Simpplr Features that Matter: Smart Search, we discussed what high-level capabilities are necessary in an intranet search engine tool and its importance to prevent intranet failure. In this post, we want to expand on how search is critical to driving higher intranet employee engagement, describe several use cases, and dive deeper into Simpplr’s Smart Search.

How is Simpplr’s Smart Search different?

When we designed our intranet search capability, we first focused on understanding user behavior. We learned that users are programmed to find information either through their homepage experience or directly through the search navigation. We took this knowledge and implemented this into our intranet design and search development. Rather than take an “off-the-shelf” approach to search, we’ve purpose-built and tuned our search engine algorithms specifically for intranet use cases. Simpplr product intranet demo

6 key requirements for your intranet search engine

Based on our research and understanding of user behavior, we believe there are six requirements that your intranet search needs in order to keep engagement high and intranet effective.

Intranet Search Requirement #1: Your intranet search engine should be smart

We already mentioned that we’ve built our search from a user’s perspective, not something that we just took off the shelf. From a technical point of view, Simpplr is powered by Elasticsearch and we’ve put AI-backed intelligence into its search engine algorithms to provide users more relevant search results. The underlying algorithms built into search include all sorts of AI approaches including contextual search, fuzzy search, spelling correction, phonetic search, stemming, auto-complete, and more. As a result, search helps users search and retrieve the most relevant results in the most efficient way.

Intranet Search Requirement #2: Your intranet search engine should be personalized

Simpplr’s Smart Search incorporates behavioral data such as sites and people you follow or belong to, previous searches, and content you have engaged with (such as liked, favorited, commented). Simpplr’s search will prioritize results based on behavioral data. Because Simpplr is an inherently social system, Simpplr's search is able to take popularity into account as it returns search results.

Intranet Search Requirement #3: Your intranet search engine should be federated

Modern employee intranets today are well-integrated with today’s best-in-cloud management applications. Integrations are helpful and help improve employee productivity, but only when it’s pertinent to the intranet experience. When organizations use multiple cloud-based management systems, it’s critical to have a built-in federated search. Federated search allows users to retrieve both native intranet content (such as sites, pages, events, photo/video albums, people) and files stored in integrated applications, such as Box, GoogleDrive, SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox without additional code or configurations. This is important because users won’t have to bounce around to multiple locations to search within multiple systems. Having an integrated federated search frees up users’ time and alleviates frustration so that users are more productive. Files can be linked to department file libraries, attached to pages, or attached in the social feed. Most importantly, files do not need to be migrated or uploaded into Simpplr for them to be searched or downloaded from the intranet.

intranet feature smart search engine

Intranet Search Requirement #4: Your intranet search engine should be curated

With Simpplr, content is smartly linked to the intranet so search results don’t retrieve every document across the enterprise. This is done by allowing site managers to map to external systems at the folder level. So, for example, an HR manager may link the intranet to the “Approved Benefits Documents” folder but not to their “Work In Progress” folder. This level of curation allows Simpplr’s search to be much more reliable for the end user than even searching directly in Box or Google Drive because they would return an overwhelming amount. Some intranets integrate Google Drive directly, or they tie Google Drive search into another federated search tool, such as Google Cloud Search. The challenge here is that they return the same bad result set as Google Drive. In contrast, Simpplr only returns search results from the curated folders that site managers have explicitly linked to the intranet.

Intranet Search Requirement #5: Your intranet search engine should be purpose-built for intranet use cases

We’re seeing a lot of companies defaulting to using intranet search through a global search application or a cloud version of intranet search. It’s a bad idea! Why? People come to the intranet for clarity and the intranet should be reserved for the most critical information across departments and location lines. Your intranet’s search needs to be not only smart but purpose-built so that returned results are relevant to what you’re exactly looking for. For example, if someone from the Sales team is searching for release notes, surfacing hundreds of Jira tickets that belong in the Engineering team is not relevant to the Salesperson. Instead, your intranet search should retrieve a summary of quarterly releases that intranet users are searching for.

Intranet Search Requirement #6: Your intranet search engine should be fast and secure

In today’s world, users expect things to be instant whether it’s instant messaging, on-demand services, or instant search results. For many solutions, intranet search performance lags behind users’ expectations because intranets need to process so much information. Simpplr’s underlying search is server-side optimized to provide the fastest results possible with today’s technology.  With horizontal scalability, it can handle billions of rows of data without skipping a beat. Search is monitored 24/7 and backed up every 30 minutes. It’s also secure and compliant with the latest standards including FIPS 140-2, SOC-2, HIPAA, PCI DSS, FISMA, ISO, or GDPR. To learn more about Simpplr’s security, click here.

Why search is critical to avoid intranet failure

If you’re evaluating intranets, make sure that an intranet search engine is at the top of your list. We’ve used research to help us purposefully guide our features and functions so that we keep employee engagement high. With the understanding of user expectations and how they interact with intranets, we invested a tremendous amount of effort in building out our Smart Search to accomplish exactly what they’re looking for. To view our 10-min demo, watch below:


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