SER Blog  Innovation & Technology

Federated search: Find information across systems

Steffen Schlifski

In today's digital world, the amount of data is exploding, and it is becoming increasingly more complicated to find the information you are looking for. For this reason, the concept of the “federated search” is important – this search technology allows users to seamlessly integrate information from a variety of sources. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of federated search. We’ll highlight its basic principles and show you how to benefit from federated search in Doxis.

What is federated search?

Federated search, also known as a distributed search, is changing the way we access information. The basic idea is to create a unified user experience by searching information across different databases, applications, and systems. This means that users don’t need to switch between different systems or applications to get the right information.

How does federated search work?

In contrast to conventional search methods, federated search does not collect all the data in one central location (an index). Instead, it searches multiple sources at the same time. This search method uses various search queries that aggregate real-time information and present it to the user seamlessly. The approach enables not only comprehensive but also up-to-date information gathering by dynamically adapting to the changing data landscape. For example, if systems change through migration or updates, the adjustments are small in order to achieve the same result.

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Benefits of federated search

Increasing efficiency, avoiding redundant data storage, and gaining access to real-time data are just some of the positive aspects. Organizations can benefit from these activities and improve the way they gather information. In the end, this shortens the time it takes to find information, and enables organizations to process service requests, prepare quotes, or hire new employees, for example, faster and more effectively.

Challenges and solutions

Despite the many benefits, organizations face challenges when implementing federated search. Security concerns, data protection, and compatibility with various systems are important aspects. Of course, the technology also calls for careful consideration when introducing it, and it has to be applied properly to ensure that it adds value. Often the expectations differ from the actual solutions possible. To ensure solutions are implemented effectively, it is important to examine the options and adapt the solution to meet your needs.

Federated search in praxis

Federated search technology is used in various industries and organizations to improve access to distributed information.

360° view of customers

A company may use multiple systems, for example, for sales, marketing, and customer support. If federated search is used in this case, customer information from a variety of sources can be aggregated and made accessible without needing to change the application. Sales employees receive all the relevant customer data, interactions, or transactions in a 360° view without having to jump between systems. This provides major time saving that can be used, for example, for better advisory services and to strengthen customer loyalty.

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Optimized product development

When developing products, federated search technology can speed up the process significantly. Data from R&D can be queried from corresponding systems and taken into account in product development. This means, for example, that it is not always necessary to first access data from older sources, rather you can have the latest information at your fingertips.

Intranet as source

Another example involves comprehensive searches for information in large organizations, which can be performed, for example, via intranet. In this case, federated search technology can supplement or extend an existing enterprise search to further increase the searchable sources. This provides users with additional information that can offer added value in their daily work.

Federated search and Doxis

Doxis has the option of integrating federated search technology directly in its core component (Doxis Content Service Bus), enabling users to access a variety of systems. The number of systems that can be implemented is >100 and the technology can be expanded as needed using the right adapters. This implementation makes it possible to access the information via federated search independently of the client and thus obtain a comprehensive view of the information available in the company. Thanks to flexible mapping between the source systems and Doxis, great solutions can be provided in a short time and make it easier to benefit from data. This information can be used, for example, in decision-making processes or to expand metadata.

Summary

In summary, it can be said that federated search has a lasting impact on and improves information gathering activities.

Despite the challenges, this technology offers immense potential. Organizations that implement federated search not only improve their decision-making but also gain a competitive advantage. Federated search is therefore an essential building block in every company's digitalization strategy designed to manage the flood of information in the future.

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