Enterprise search engines have been god‑send. How else would organizations that deal with data oceans find the information they need? Thanks to AI, the search engines are only growing stronger with time. This is why a growing number of businesses have started upgrading their search engines. But how?
While there are plenty of vendors who offer to sell or lend this solution, some organizations create their own search engines. So, what will you choose to do? Build, Borrow, or Buy? While there is no thumb rule when it comes to this decision, a few considerations can help you identify what makes more sense for your organization.
The Scenarios at a Glance
Let me begin with a quick rundown of what each strategy brings to the table:
- Build: Creating from scratch.
- Buy: Like outsourcing, you pay for the selected set of services
- Borrow: Similar to buying. Firms can borrow the search framework and then build on it.
You can build, because – it offers maximum flexibility and custom features at the cost of time and money, but requires maintenance. This is an investment‑heavy option.
Borrowing and buying, both are significantly faster than building. It means – fully managed services, a stable community support, and having binding lock‑in periods, which vary from vendor to vendor. This is an assurance to them that you will stick around for the said period.
Borrowing has some additional advantages. You get the flexibility to further build the platform. Whereas buying offers less flexibility and paying a huge amount upfront. However, if it fails to deliver, you’ll have to pay the same cost (or maybe even more), again to buy from another vendor.
Factors to Consider Before You Choose
Now that you understand what each option has to offer, let us go through the factors you need to consider before making a final call.
1. Nature & Scale of Business
While building an enterprise search engine, it is important to consider the scale and size of your business. It is a time and resource consuming task that might not suit a startup well. But if your business depends on the search experience, like ecommerce, it is worthwhile to build your engine with an in‑house team that dedicatedly works on keeping it up and relevant.
Organizations that need unconventional options (like voice or image search) tailored to their specific use case might find it hard to build upon the existing platforms. They can evaluate industry‑specific solutions to quickly get down to business.
2. Degree of Customization
The next item on your list can be customization. If you decide to go ahead with building your own engine on top of an open‑source framework, the core limitations of the underlying technology might limit the scope of customizations. This includes permission handling, granular access control, relevance tuning, etc.
Borrowing the framework and building on it can be less costly and a better choice. You can also go for fully managed services that address those issues to a great extent. However, some vendors charge heavily for customizations.
3. Content Sources and Data
Enterprise search engines have the ability to deal with multiple sources and still find out meaningful content for you using ML and NLP algorithms. But if your organization has a manageable knowledge repository, you can consider constructing a solution from scratch.
But if the number of repositories is large, you might end up spending a considerable amount of time and money building connectors for all the enterprise platforms you use. In that case, buying or borrowing a solution that comes with native connectors for all your content sources is a more viable option.
4. Search‑Based Add‑Ons
Search can fuel a ton of nifty applications that can help you streamline workflows and improve outcomes. And these applications form our next consideration.
When you build your own engine, you have the autonomy to create a fully specced‑out engine with all the applications you need. However, you need to keep in mind that developing these add‑ons takes time and money, on top of the core engine. If that’s not an issue, get cracking right away!
For everyone else, going for fully managed services provides a hassle‑free experience. You just need to carefully examine what the vendor is offering. Many search vendors offer a variety of apps, custom connectors etc., but they come at an added cost. On the other hand, some vendors provide an all‑inclusive product.
Last but not least is scalability. There are times when brands come across a new use case or platform after implementing the enterprise search engine. A versatile solution will be capable of handling such ad‑hoc requirements that might arise.
Goes without saying that you can build a future‑ready engine that offers the most scalability. And this scalability will be time and resource hungry. Prebuilt search solutions, on the other hand, offer slightly lower scalability but make more sense when you don’t want to allocate your workforce to the search engine.
Ready to Jump on The Enterprise Search Bandwagon?
It is imperative to make an informed decision. A wrong choice can prove to be an expensive mistake that slants down your users’ experience. While these factors are not exhaustive, they are crucial for every evaluation. If you’re looking for a more descriptive breakdown of all the factors, you can refer to our handy ebook. It will help you choose the right search solution that fulfills all your needs. You can download your free copy from here.