What is Cognitive Search? How a New Generation of Platform is Transforming Enterprise Insights?

Despite the effort from technology vendors to deliver relevant, contextual, and actionable insights with their applications, most organizations have been slow if not reluctant to embrace these advances in search-driven experiences. In fact, a lot of companies have been burned by their past enterprise search experiences.

The good news is that something is shaking the world of Enterprise Search – some would say ‘finally.’ New industry investments and R&D effort are changing the search experience to provide more relevant results and deeper insights to users in their work context.

As we enter the era of “cognitive computing,” new search solutions combine powerful indexing technology with advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities and Machine Learning algorithms in order to build an increasingly deep corpus of knowledge from which to feed relevant information and 360° views to users in real-time. This is what leading analyst firms call “Cognitive Search” or “Insight Engines.”These cognitively-enabled platforms interact with users in a more natural fashion, learn/progress as they gain more experience with data and user behavior, and proactively establish links between related data from various sources, both internal and external.

In a recent brief, Forrester defines cognitive search as:

“Indexing, natural language processing, and machine-learning technologies combined to create an increasingly relevant corpus of knowledge from all sources of unstructured and structured data that use naturalistic or concealed query interfaces to deliver knowledge to people via text, speech, visualizations, and/or sensory feedback.”

How does cognitive search work to deliver relevant knowledge?

  • It extracts valuable information from large volumes of complex and diverse data sources. It is crucial to tap into all available enterprise data whether internal or external, both structured and unstructured, to provide deeper insights to users in order for them to make better business decisions. Cognitive search provides this connection to provide comprehensive insights.
  • It provides contextually and relevant information. Finding relevant knowledge across all available enterprise data requires cognitive systems using Natural Language Processing (NLP) capable of “understanding” what unstructured data from texts (documents, emails, social media blogs, engineering reports, market research…), and rich-media content (videos, call center recordings..), is about. Machine Learning algorithms help refine the insight gained from data. Trade and company dictionaries and ontologies help with synonyms and with relationships between different terms and concepts. That means a lot of intelligence and horse power “under the hood” of a system providing “relevant knowledge” or insight.
  • It leverages Machine Learning Capabilities to continuously improve the results relevancy. Machine Learning algorithms (amongst the most popular ones: Collaborative Filtering and Recommendations, Classification by Example, Clusterization, Similarity calculations for unstructured contents, and Predictive Analysis) provide added value by continuously refining and enhancing the search results in an effort to provide the best relevancy to users.

Thanks to new technology advancements, cognitive search brings to data-driven organizations a new generation of search enabling them to go far beyond the traditional search box, empowering its users to get immediate and relevant knowledge at the right time on the right device.

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