The advent of natural language understanding (NLU) with neural search will open new possibilities in enterprise search.
After 2021, marked by disruption and digital transformation on a scale never before imagined, we look to a new year and key trends and opportunities for strategic growth. With digital workplace transformation taking over business priorities, enterprise search is an unsung hero of the modern way of working.
Here are seven trends — and predictions — shaping the future of work and how enterprise search is impacting digital transformation strategies in 2022 and beyond:
1. Natural language understanding comes to the fore: To date, search technology has primarily focused on word counting and statistical analysis of word forms, enhanced by natural language processing. The advent of major language models (such as Google’s BERT) changed that by bringing natural language understanding to web search. But its complexity and the need for computing power have so far impeded such advances in enterprise search. Advances in neural search and the effective application of this technology for enterprise environments will come to the forefront and transform the enterprise search experience by bringing an unprecedented level of accuracy and contextual relevance in understanding meaning. .
Prediction: Like any “new” technology, expect gradual adoption in early 2022, with neural search capabilities going from a nice feature to absolutely essential over the course of the year. Expect a tremendous amount of market noise…and confusion…around this topic as suppliers struggle to deliver and customers struggle to enforce the NLU.
2. Resurgence of knowledge management: Although the idea has been around for half a century, waxing and waning in popularity and priority, knowledge management has taken on a new direction with the rapid push towards remote working. It will continue a strong resurgence in 2022 as it moves up the CEO’s agenda to ensure workers have the information they need to run the business. The cause of this resurgence is a confluence of factors, including the ongoing global pandemic, which is forcing unprecedented changes to the way we work – as well as the proliferation of data and applications which have heightened consumer and employee expectations. Then there is “The Great Resignation”, where many people have tasted or considered another type of work. This makes KM important in three ways: 1. making employees’ jobs easier increases retention; 2. Access to knowledge regardless of workplace facilitates hybrid working models; and 3. it protects against the loss of institutional knowledge for people who leave. For all these reasons, knowledge management is a strategic imperative for 2022 and beyond.
Prediction: Expect to see large companies elevate and augment KM leadership positions such as chief knowledge officers (CKOs) and chief learning officers (CLOs), while chief digital officer titles become table stakes. After the pandemic, most businesses are digital businesses.
3. Organizational Intelligence emerges from the revival of KM: With the revival of KM comes a new meaning and maturity, marked by a shift from information management and control to augmented human intelligence. CEOs realize that people, information and skills are a company’s most valuable assets. They realize that the future of business depends on how the collective knowledge within an organization is acquired, organized, shared, preserved, applied and advanced. All of these spokes are essential to the information hub, but most importantly how it is applied (this is where the value of knowledge is realized) and advanced (this is how a business beats the competition) are essential components – and businesses need better ways to harness this knowledge dynamically and organically.
Prediction: 2022 will be the year the word “Intelligence” will shape all digital initiatives. Specifically, fostering collaboration through organizational intelligence and augmenting human decision-making with new business intelligence tools – powered by machine learning, AI, and deep learning – are at the forefront.
4. Burst of applications reaches epidemic status; Research closes on healing: On average, employees have to use 35 vital applications every day! This fragmentation of applications creates a real human toll because of the application switching, the dispersal of bookmarks, and the cognitive load needed to create a kind of “flow” among so many disconnected systems. The big players have understood this and are trying to consolidate the digital chaos with an ecosystem (e.g. Microsoft Teams), but a unified workspace is not possible without a coherent way to access content and exploit the company-wide knowledge. Comprehensive search – at the enterprise level, not the ecosystem level – is the only way to clarify the chaos, reduce task switching, and redirect that cognitive burden to gain insights and value in the workflow.
Prediction: The productivity gains of specialized applications are undisputed, so expect application fragmentation to continue as companies experiment with a variety of possible solutions (consolidation, training, custom integration, search) and search perhaps becoming to be the only proven way for employees to interact seamlessly with knowledge.
5. The research paradigm shifts from pull to push Highly skilled digital workers must use their knowledge to decide and act in their workflow to drive the business. However, there is too much to know and the knowledge degrades – so they have to rely on their ability to find information. As noted in a recent study by Gartner, leaders need to help their colleagues take advantage of emerging technologies that dynamically and proactively surface information in the workflow for an always-informed workforce. Custom Insight apps that leverage the power of relevance turn search on its head, delivering relevant and useful information as employees do their jobs, without the need to break out of the flow and perform a search.
Prediction: Knowledge-driven companies are beginning to shift the paradigm from “pull” (fetch it) to “push” (proactively surface information) and do it when the employee needs it. 2022 will place a greater emphasis on harnessing the sophisticated relevance of search without the actual “search”, harnessing the power of AI and neural search, so that knowledge finds employees.
6. Specialized low/no-code search-based Insight applications deliver more value: Unlike other search contexts, enterprise content search is not unique. The demands of unique and complex knowledge work, such as innovation, can only be met with specialized Insight applications. The rise of no-code and low-code frameworks means businesses can now deploy many Insight applications for specialized use cases quickly and without developers.
Personalized search experiences have not been quick to develop and deploy, nor easy to maintain, limiting the number of Insight applications and forcing some employees to use unoptimized solutions – or go without. Low-code, no-code development frameworks and tools mean rapid customization without expensive developers and dramatically reduced operating costs. This translates to more search being used by more employees in more contexts, delivering work experience improvements for more workers and more use cases.
Prediction: The average number of use cases – and corresponding custom Insight apps – will increase as enterprises leverage low-code/no-code platforms to quickly meet the needs of more workers. Point solutions based on a narrow application of research will no longer be practical; the highest value and ROI will come from platforms able to leverage search relevance for multiple use cases with a single product.
7. The cloud is fueling the neural research revolution. Cloud adoption continues, but it is no longer a strategy in itself. It’s time to leverage the power of the cloud for benefits not possible with on-premises deployments. This is especially true as AI applications become real, as the cloud is well suited to the computational demands of neural research, large-scale and advanced applications such as text-to-speech and translation. But it’s not as simple as just saying “cloud” and it’s done. The intense demands of these sophisticated techniques require optimization to minimize computational costs and be environmentally friendly.
Prediction: Companies are beginning to leverage the computing power of the cloud to accomplish new feats: AI, the NLU of neural search, and the great flexibility offered by the great elasticity of the cloud. Technology platforms need to be optimized for different cloud providers so that cloud-based customers can take full advantage of these capabilities, especially as climate change becomes more of a priority due to cultural pressures. and regulatory.
With the pace of digital change in business showing no signs of slowing in 2022, the future of enterprise search is bright. Two huge forces will transform the way we work with knowledge in 2022. The advent of NLU with Neural Search will open up new possibilities, as will the push for better knowledge management in the “new normal” – distributed workplaces, hybrid and asynchronous – requires that we do better. Fortunately, smart search platforms are up to the task, giving businesses the power to surface better information from the search bar, but also proactively push relevant knowledge into the workflow. job.