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Creating a more knowledgeable, nimble organization

This article appears in the issue February 2015 [Vol 24, Issue 2]
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Companies are relying on the knowledge they gather to improve employee efficiency and rally workers around company successes to boost a sense of teamwork, which in turn helps to increase sales.

One of the major goals is a more efficient use of resources—particularly resources that in and of themselves can save employees time. One way to improve an organization’s workflow is through more efficient search.

KeyBank, one of the 30 largest banks in the United States, had spent significant time and money building its own intranet and search engine, but saw that employees were barely using it. Upon further investigation, bank officials learned the problem was that employees didn’t think the search engine was delivering relevant results.

“Our employees knew there was information on the intranet that they needed, but they had trouble finding it,” says James Wozniak, infrastructure engineer for the bank.

So about three years ago, the bank started looking at other search engine solutions that would produce more relevant results so that employees would truly use search, rather than letting the asset sit there as a wasted resource, Wozniak says.

More employee demand

Not many companies had the type of search product that would provide KeyBank employees with the quick, relevant results that they needed, according to Wozniak. So KeyBank quickly settled on Coveo Enterprise Search. Once a deal was struck, Coveo engineers and KeyBank’s enterprise architecture team met for five days to rewrite some code and to integrate the product with the financial institution’s intranet and with its SharePoint system, which is not part of the bank’s intranet. SharePoint, the Web application platform and framework from Microsoft, includes tools to provide intranet portals, document and file management, collaboration and social networks. The bank went live with Coveo two years ago, and has seen an explosive increase in the use of its intranet and SharePoint.

“With the old search engine, our employees would conduct 200 to 300 searches per month,” Wozniak says. “With Coveo, our employees conducted 32,000 queries last month alone. It provides fast, relevant research results for our 15,000 employees.”

A search on the Coveo system will produce as many as 33,000 results in as little as .22 seconds, according to Wozniak. Employees can also refine their searches by type of file, author, date range and other parameters to narrow the search results and quickly find what they are seeking.

“Now our employees aren’t wasting their time making phone calls looking for information. Now they are doing it themselves in a timely fashion,” Wozniak says.

In the future, he expects KeyBank to examine expanding its use of Coveo beyond the financial institution’s intranet and SharePoint into various KeyBank servers and network drives to further enhance the internal search capabilities of employees.

Uncovering cross-firm knowledge

At White & Case, an international law firm headquartered in New York, Oz Benamram, chief knowledge officer, says, “Our biggest challenge is that we have lawyers in 40 different offices in 20 different countries, so how do we know what a partner knows about a topic?”

Benamram, brought in to develop the firm’s internal knowledge management capabilities, saw that the company’s legacy search engine was slow and didn’t produce the needed results. So the company examined several search solutions and selected Recommind Decisiv Search because of its simplicity, as well as the speed and the relevancy of the results, says Benamram, who had used the product at his previous firm.

As a result, White & Case has kept business it might have lost, and has enabled lawyers to find all relevant knowledge within the firm about a case, topic or expertise. For example, a major manufacturer approached White & Case’s New York office to learn if it had knowledge about privatizing an Eastern European firm. Previously, the company would not have known. But using Decisiv Search, an attorney in New York not only found that the company had expertise in this area, but also that the best lawyer to handle the work was in the firm’s Germany office. Delivering all that information took 90 seconds, according to Benamram.

The solution enables users to see results in preview panes without opening documents and enables users to search by content creator, key words and other granular metadata. Decisiv Search looks for relevant information across the firm’s document management, CRM, case management, billing and financial management systems, bringing everything together and creating context. It also pulls together a lawyer’s work history to provide a graphical representation of expertise.

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