How to Reduce Costs and Delight Customers with Intelligent AI Search

Around this time of year, one of my bosses used to say to me, “Isaac, read the tea leaves.”

I was a CIO at the time, and he wanted me to review the economic forecasts, company financials, and the other executives’ moods to sense what innovations and investments people would be most receptive to over the next 6-12 months.

Delight Customers and Reduce Costs Intelligent AI Search

AI Search is a force multiplier delivering efficiencies and improved experiences

If I were doing this analysis today, inflation, recession, and news of layoffs at high-tech companies and large enterprises would dominate my close-range field of view.

But when I look a little past these economic conditions, I also see how improving customer and employee experiences are critically important for the company. We need to grow by retaining customers and adding new ones while energizing employees on a knowledge and tech-enabled future of work.

These conditions suggest that improving AI search experiences should be at the top of my digital transformation priorities. I know AI search experiences are force-multiplying investments because they impact revenue and cost efficiencies when improving customer and employee experiences.

CIOs can consolidate platforms and reduce maintenance costs

Today, CIOs should prioritize AI search to reduce costs. Recent research published in the report Enterprise Search: The Unsung Hero points to several areas where high-tech and large enterprises can find them. They include

  • 26% only use internal resources for enterprise search implementation, maintenance, and tuning needs, without considering more efficient outside partners with deeper expertise.
  • 85% manually tune search experiences to improve relevancy, and 26% report tuning is a significant effort.
  • 25% or more of respondents report that enterprise search implementations are complicated by many issues and significant delays.

These three points suggest that companies can find cost reductions and efficiencies by revisiting their search experiences. CIOs are likely to find multiple search technologies being used to support search in different business units, customer-facing experiences, and employee workflows. IT and digital transformation leaders can consolidate into a single platform, deploy across multiple business units, and connect experiences from marketing and sales through customer support.

But consolidating to which platform and with what capabilities?

It better be easy to use and deliver speed to value. In the research, only 19% said yes to having the resources and expertise necessary to deliver excellence in enterprise search.

CIOs must also select platforms that help reduce ongoing support costs, and some platforms are just not easy buttons that simplify development, tuning, or maintenance. It’s one reason why many DevOps teams spend too much effort on search experiences and have too few business outcomes to show for it.

The solution: Low-code, AI-search experiences led by a search center of excellence

So how can CIOs reduce costs and deliver improved experiences? Here are three key ingredients:

  1. Research, POC, and select an AI Search platform that delivers better end-user experiences while reducing maintenance costs from all the work to tune result rankings. An AI Search platform has out-of-the-box recommendation engines and uses search analytics to personalize search results based on how different user personas respond to the content.
  2. Improve DevOps productivity to optimize end-user experiences with a search platform that supports pro-code and low-code development capabilities. This provides product managers and DevOps teams flexibility in implementing multiple experiences from a centralized search platform managing both structured and unstructured data. For example, marketers and salespeople can have a search embedded in Salesforce, while customer support has a customized low-code app with richer search features. DevOps teams can then use their preferred JavaScript frameworks to optimize customer journeys by developing personalized experiences
  3. Establish a search center of excellence (SCoE) that enables collaboration between business and DevOps while promoting best practices in developing end-user experiences. Each business unit or department can develop search experiences by establishing a multidisciplinary agile team that includes subject matter experts from the business, user experience specialists, and pro-code or low-code developers. The SCoE supports each team by reviewing architectures, recommending solutions, sponsoring hackathons, and coordinating learning and training events.

Like a good recipe, creating a delightful customer experience requires harmony between a few key ingredients. For search, it’s the intersection of embracing AI capabilities, leveraging low-code development options, empowering customer-driven implementations, and enabling standard best practices. A flexible solution with these ingredients enables stakeholders, product managers, enterprise architects, and DevOps teams to focus on the experience rather than debate implementation details or struggle with ongoing maintenance issues.

The culture shift helps drive consolidation and efficiencies, and CIOs can demonstrate cost savings and how better customer experiences drive growth. A force multiplier!

This post is brought to you by Coveo.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Coveo.

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.