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Making Enterprise Search Work Like Google - Q&A with Kamran Khan, President and CEO of Pureinsights

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User expectations of enterprise search are higher than ever. Recently, Kamran Khan, former president and CEO of Search Technologies (which was acquired by Accenture in 2017)—and now president and CEO of Pureinsights—spoke with KMWorld about what has changed in search over the last 2 decades, what Pureinsights uniquely brings to search, and how new approaches can make search work like Google at the enterprise level.

To access the interview video, go here.

Joyce Wells: We’re talking about enterprise search today, but first let’s talk about your mission. You launched a search company in 2005 and you successfully sold it. Why start a new company now and what challenges do you want to address?

Kamran Khan: That’s a great question, and one I get asked quite a lot. When we started Search Technologies, our goal was to help people get the most out of search. It was a very simple message, and over 12 years at Search Technologies and then 3 years at Accenture, we did just that for hundreds of customers and implemented some great solutions. There were a lot of exciting things, though, happening in the technology space, especially with AI, and some of this can be applied to search applications now—taking them to a whole new level that we call “beyond search.” As an entrepreneur, I’m excited to explore doing that for our customers now and working with some of my old colleagues from Search Technology. We’re just getting started, but we think it’s going to be a fun ride with these new innovations.
JW: The search engine industry has certainly matured over the last 10 years. Where are you seeing innovation, and is Google still the biggest influence on user experience in search?

KK: Of course, search has been around for a long time. I've been in the search space for well over 20 years myself. In recent years, we've seen the application of AI technologies with search that takes it to a whole new level. I think AI can be overhyped, and so I like to explain what we, at Pureinsights, mean by AI. We talk about the application of natural language-processing, machine learning, and knowledge graphs. These are the three key AI technologies—and there are more—that we want to exploit, add them to search, and be able to take people to a whole new level. Google has always been the driver of what enterprise search needs to look like. We often hear from people: "Just make it work like Google." That's because they had this great experience on the internet and they want that on any search bar that they ever interact with. We've always seen Google push the bar. They've been using knowledge graphs and machine learning and NLP for a long time. If you look at Google.com today, you get direct answers. If I ask, "What is Tesla's revenue?" I'm going to get the answer that's coming from a knowledge graph. You see the knowledge card at the side, that's coming from a knowledge graph. You see the featured snippets, that's from machine learning. What we want to do is take that technology and combine it with search for enterprise customers so that we can make it work like Google anywhere.

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