Forrester principal analyst and vice president, Mike Gualtieri, recently joined us on a webinar to discuss the results of his in-depth evaluation of the Cognitive Search market. As the author of the Q2 2019 Forrester Wave report, Mike evaluated a dozen vendors across more than 20 criteria and named Lucidworks a leader.
During our discussion, Mike answered the following questions:
- What criteria should buyers should use when selecting a Cognitive Search solution?
- How can Cognitive Search personalize digital commerce experiences?
- How has AI impacted the development of the enterprise search market?
AI Enables Personalized Customer Experiences
Customers are the lifeblood of digital commerce, and the holy grail is to create hyper-personalized customer relationships in real time. Personalized experiences are powered by decisions that learn individual customer characteristics and behaviors, detect customer needs and desires, and adapt applications to best serve each individual shopper in real time.
When you have millions of customers, it’s impossible to manually scale the type of personalized experience that creates loyal shoppers. AI allows businesses to rapidly scale their personalization efforts, instead of hiring a small army. However, many companies face organizational hurdles and other challenges that hinder AI adoption. For companies who are able to successfully implement it in their digital commerce environments, AI becomes a strong competitive advantage.
Cognitive Search Is AI-Powered Search
Cognitive Search is a digital search technology that employs AI techniques such as natural language understanding and machine learning to ingest, organize, and query from multiple data sources. Cognitive search:
- Allows people to find digital content from multiple sources
- Goes beyond returning single documents with keyword matches, and instead shares full answers contained within a document
- Understands customers and matches them with both content and people that can deliver a better experience and drive towards a sale
Cognitive Search enables hyper personalization by using NLP and machine learning to understand product descriptions, specifications, and images contained within a product catalog. It also can predict and create personalized experiences for each customer. Taken together, Cognitive Search supports multiple channels and continuously learns from each customer engagement.
Six Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Cognitive Search Solution
The following attributes are important considerations when evaluating Cognitive Search solutions. The Forrester Wave, available here, provides scores for the top vendors in this market aligned to these criteria.
- Information: Platforms must be able to connect to a wide variety of data sources, beyond simply a product catalog. Other data sources include customer transaction data, point of sale data, inventory data, sales and CRM data, supply chain data, etc.
- Intelligence: Cognitive Search must understand customers’ intent in their moment of need, understand the relevancy of content it surfaces to each customer, and automatically tune to improve intent and relevancy on an ongoing basis.
- Operations: Usage analytics measure the success of search results. Tuning tools let users override what the solution has learned in special circumstances such as a promotion or overstocked inventory. Combining these operationally delivers a powerful but flexible digital commerce application.
- Applications: Pre-built applications and solution accelerators can create Cognitive Search applications beyond simple search results. A RESTful API, software development kits and visual development tools allow businesses to infuse Cognitive Search in their digital commerce applications.
- Architecture: If your commerce application goes down, your business goes down. Therefore you need a highly scalable distributed architecture that allows for a variety of deployment models.
- Innovation: Few areas of technology are undergoing as rapid innovation as AI. Much of this innovation is taking place in the open source community, so solutions based on technology such as Apache Solr can be desirable.
Cognitive Search is a powerful tool that should underpin your digital commerce application. To learn more about the vendors who matter most in this market, and the reasons Forrester named Lucidworks a Leader, access the Forrester Wave Q2 2019 here.