In Orlando, last weekend, Gartner held the first US edition of its Digital Workplace summit. Over two days, around 650 attendees met, mingled and learned about how digital transformation initiatives are changing the nature of work. Topics ranged from increasing engagement with employee culture to the future of work and distributed teams.

As a sponsor of the summit, our VP of product marketing, Justin Sears, and senior Solution Engineer, Andy Tran, spoke on how AI-powered search is a critical technology powering the modern digital workplace.

Search? Really?

Nick Drakos, VP Analyst at Gartner, spoke about collaborative work management, how tools like Slack and Microsoft’s Team are pushing communication beyond just information sharing and productivity improvements to joint innovation. Listening to his talk was illuminating, especially so when considered in the context of his colleague, Senior Director / Analyst Marko Sillanpaa, who specializes in Content Services (formerly ECM) and corporate legal content technologies.

Sillanpaa spoke on fighting information silos by using intelligent software to federate and aggregate data in one place, extract insights from it, and deliver them to people when they can make use of them. In other words, a search engine.

Both of Drakos’ and Sillanpaa’s talks were fundamentally about empowering knowledge workers with information and insights by understanding intent — so employees can find the specific data and documents they need to do their daily work. Left unsaid in both of these sessions is that the key enabling technology for understanding a user’s intention is search.

We talk at Lucidworks frequently about search being the universal or perfect UI. It’s perfect because its dead simple to use; anyone can use it. It requires no instruction manual or learning arcane Boolean commands or witchcraft. But most importantly, search hides an enormous amount of complexity from the user so they can focus on the task at hand and less on mastering the tools to complete it.

Whether we’re talking about crawlers that federate data from multiple content and data silos or machine learning that determines how to categorize and classify content so workforce productivity tools like Slack can quickly and clearly connect people to each other, much of the technology that underpins the digital workplace is good ole search.

Though enterprise search has still never fully lived up to its promise of delivering Google-like precision to the modern workforce, we have reached a new threshold: understanding user intent to deliver enormous value to digital workers.

Our flagship platform Fusion dramatically reimagines enterprise search as the foundation for driving the insights-driven workplace. As Justin and Andy explained in their talk, Lucidworks Fusion hyper-personalizes the employee experience and finally does what enterprise search was never able to do.  

This is finally possible because of three key shifts:

  1. We can capture user interactions and understand user intent at scale and in real-time for the first time ever.
  2. Cheap storage and powerful GPU chips let us apply ML at very large scale to crunch trillions of digital interactions to augment conventional plain text-based relevance.
  3. AI has escaped the lab and is widely available powering production-ready workloads across the organization and up and down the org chart.

As Justin referenced in his talk, Forrester has found that companies with happier employees enjoy 81 percent more customer satisfaction and have half the employee turnover. Companies make happier employees when they give them the tools that let them do their jobs with less pain, and more enjoyment.

The best way to achieve that is by giving users insights when they need them, sometimes before they even know what they are looking for. Only an AI-powered search platform like Lucidworks Fusion can do that.

A music and news junkie and full time book-hound, Vivek Sriram has lucked out turning his love of looking for stuff into a 15+ year career in dreaming, building and marketing search engines. As CMO at Lucidworks his job is to turn the rest of the world on to mysteries and joys of search engines.