What is Enterprise Search?

As a business grows, so to does the amount of data it generates. Whether payroll, client data or internal documents meant for employees, the faster a business expands the more information it produces. The influx of newly generated data can make it a challenge to locate specific information quickly. This is where enterprise search comes in. With the help of enterprise searches, it is possible to quickly scan through all of the files within one or more databases, which boosts productivity while saving time for everyone who uses the enterprise search feature.

What are Enterprise Searches?

Enterprise search is a method of search that takes both structured and unstructured data files from a one or multiple databases. This makes it possible to quickly and easily locate nearly any file. There are varying databases used by businesses, ranging from a content management system, file system, email server, application database, an intranet site and even the company website. With enterprise search, it is possible to not only search each of these different databases, but when interconnected together, it becomes possible to search all of these different databases during a single search query. For growing businesses using multiple databases, connecting everything together makes locating files and information effortless. Searches are ranked and ordered similar to search results from Google, Bing! and other search engines with relevance being one of the main factors in how search results are presented. 

What Enterprise Search Doesn't Include

While this search feature is able to sift through nearly any data file within a company's local system, it usually does not include the public Internet. The search has a name of enterprise specifically because it is dedicated to searching files within the company's network enterprise, not externally. This can include a corporate network or anything within a company's firewall. Anything outside of the firewall usually is not included in the search feature. 

Who is Able to Use Enterprise Searches 

When searching within a business, the feature is available to those within the company or anyone that has access to the website. This includes owners, employees and individuals of varying professional levels. While these employees have access to the search feature, it is possible to alter the level of access each individual has. By doing this, different employees can track down different files based on what is pertinent to them or within their security clearance. Typically, the varying clearance level is designed for larger businesses where there are greater levels of employee access. For business owners who want to enable the enterprise searches but do not want to give everyone within the company similar access to all available files within the database, this is an option. Ultimately, this form of search is available to anyone within a business the admin wants to grant access to. 

From Data to Result

Turning a database into a series of results is a five part process. An enterprise search solution encompasses all steps of the process. The first three steps are completed before any "search" is actually made.

  1. Content Awareness: The search has to know which databases it can access, this is a process known as "content awareness."

  2. Processing: The content has to be processed so that it can be quickly and efficiently recalled. The source content is converted to the same type of document so that it can be quickly searched by the search solution.

  3. Indexing: The processed content is sorted into an index which keeps track of the frequency of a term.

  4. Query: A user makes a query - or search. The query is a combination of  what the user is looking for as well as directions to certain parts of the index. For example, if a user is searching for "Marketing Statistics" they make a query.

  5. Matching: The search compares the query to the index and returns any matching entries. The search will return any entries that include "Marketing Statistics," but may also return similar results.

The last two steps are what most people think of when they think of a "search." A request is made to the enterprise search engine to find a certain term and the engine returns results that relate to that term based on the tuning and optimization criteria.

Additional Considerations and Terms

Beyond the discussion above, additional areas need to be considered as it relates to enterprise search. These areas include the following features only available to enterprise searches. 


  • Federated Search Results: A federated search allows a single query to search multiple databases. Each databases sends back its results and they are combined into a single list of results for the user.
  • Faceted Search: A faceted search allows a user to filter out results from their list of search responses.
  • Custom Result Templates: Web searches are designed to generate ad revenue or a custom "look and feel", with a customized result template that the end user will either find more visually appealing, convert better, or minimize distractions caused by items such as advertisements.


Enterprise search is a helpful tool for any business. As it allows individuals within the company to make instant searches for data files, taking advantage of this search feature is a valuable feature. In order to increase productivity while cutting the amount of time it takes an employee to locate a desired file, enterprise search should be included in any business enterprise.