There are numerous components of an enterprise search solution that will determine whether or not it is successful:
The results returned must be relevant for the users' needs. Providing relevant search results in an enterprise environment can be tricky, as link structure, site hierarchy and security all need to be considered. Relevance should be calculated using a range of rich factors, such as text matching, text analysis, metadata, language URL and click distance.
The Interface needs to be straightforward, intuitive and familiar to encourage and enable users. Search capabilities should be available from all frequently used applications.
Searching Unstructured Data
An enterprise search solution should make sense of unstructured data, and provide users with quick, relevant results.
Searching Structured Data and Line of Business Systems
Although security of structured data is important, the ability for authorised users to find information from structured data to make informed decisions is vital. An enterprise search solution should make structured data searchable and results available to authorised users. Information stored in line of business systems is also essential to make informed and successful business decisions; however users should not need to perform separate searches to find this data. The enterprise search solution should be able to search these key business systems and return the results to a familiar user interface.
People in an organisation hold vast amounts of knowledge. It's important that employees can locate and contact subject matter experts within their organisation. As well as searching for people by name or keywords, users should be able to narrow their results, for example by region or department.
Security, Manageability and Scalability
Enterprise search solutions should provide security features for the data indexed. It should also be straightforward to manage and integrate with other systems. Finally, it should be scalable as data volumes increase.