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Rethinking Enterprise Search Q&A with Massood Zarrabian CEO of BA Insight, and Sean Coleman, Chief Customer Officer of BA Insight

Video produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

Until recently, enterprise search was not top of mind for many organizations. However, it seems with the ongoing pandemic, along with the huge changes happening in the workforce with employees changing jobs and expertise leaving organizations, enterprise-wide search is starting to become a priority. Employees now demand the same convenience they have using Google to find information inside their organizations, and enterprise search is starting to become part of digital transformation/intranet initiatives.

Recently, Massood Zarrabian, CEO of BA Insight and Sean Coleman, Chief Customer Officer of BA Insight, talked with Joyce Wells, Editor of KMWorld, about how enterprise search has evolved dramatically over the past few years and how companies can leverage a modern search platform to deliver a Google-like search experience that can deliver tangible benefits for companies and their employees.

Joyce Wells: We’re talking about rethinking enterprise search, but first, for people who are not familiar with BA Insight, Massood, can you share some information about the company?

Massood Zarrabian: Yes. BA Insight is a software company that is 100% focused on enterprise search. And the way we define enterprise search is the variety of applications where enterprises are using search technologies as a way of doing digital transformations—whether it is for employees and trying to make life easier for them, or customer portals, or in legal for client portals, or even their websites.

And the vision that we have been working with—and trying to get to—is a reflection of how Google changed the way the internet works. I don't think anybody imagined in the late '90s that we were going to be where we are now in terms of the ability to find information on the web, independent of how old information is, where it resides, what language it's in, what format it's in. And this single search bar has changed commerce, how we find information, and the way we get educated. However, when you move from there to within that enterprise, all of a sudden, you go through this archaic process of using all the new systems, some with good search, some not with good search, never knowing where information is. And that's the challenge that a lot of our customers are facing and that's what we trying to solve.

JW: That's impressive. What are the challenges you both are seeing companies and their employees face in their access to information?

Sean Coleman: I think the thing that we really see as the problem boils down to, "I'm not so sure that the C-level really believes in this yet." The technology and the time that it takes to do this has come down, the complexities have come down, and senior management needs to see that. No one would go without email. No one would go without intranet. No one should go without search. And I think what we are seeing is that top-level-down sponsorship is needed to say, "This is important. We need to do this, and we need to have a strategy around it."

MZ: That's a big issue because, where there are champions inside organizations that are trying to solve problems for employees or customers, it is difficult for them to justify it because search doesn't have a traditional ROI and they think it will be hard to implement. We're trying to get people to understand that maybe it was hard 15 years ago, and maybe it still is hard, but it's not as hard as it used to be. It's not as expensive as it used to be. You don't need to customize the way it used to. Technology has matured.

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