A beagle dog in sunny autumn forest sniffing the ground.

As consumers (and, frankly, as humans), we “search” for so much: restaurants, recipes, clothes, cars, homes, vacations, music, television, movies, answers, even the meaning of life. We query continuously on platforms like Google, YouTube, Amazon, Alexa, Siri, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and everything in between.

Search is omnipresent, and we hope its results are omniscient. It is no surprise then that the search engines powering enterprise websites and applications are big business and provide big opportunities, especially in our current composable digital landscape. The composable focus on best-in-breed technologies for each layer of your technology stack lends itself very well to a powerful, plug-and-play solution like search.

Never-Ending Quest for Search Functions

It is with this knowledge that Sitecore’s headline announcement of Sitecore® Search — as part of its annual Sitecore Symposium conference last week in Chicago — make so much sense. With the so-called decoupling of the monolithic, all-in-one systems happening across the industry, Sitecore is trying to elegantly reconstitute a stack within the de rigueur composable frameworks of the moment. Search, in addition to announcements around headless CMS options and low code/no code drag and drop “Sitecore Connect” integrations, is a worthy leg upon which to compose this future. 

There are many statistics available pointing to the benefits and positive (and profitable) consumer experiences of having a robust internal search offering (such as here and here). Whether it comes down to conversions, usage of, intent to buy, or negative experiences from the lack thereof, good internal search is good business. There are also keen and actionable business insights that can be gained — particularly for marketing teams — from internal site search intelligence. These are also typically surfaced into beautifully intuitive dashboards and visualizations.

Related Article: 4 Major Announcements at Sitecore Symposium 2022

Taking Control of Search Functions Within Enterprise

Sitecore’s offering — based on its acquisition of the company Reflektion last year — promises AI (or artificial intelligence) powered search that will serve hyper-relevant content and predictive, type-ahead capabilities, all making, according to its press release, for “an intelligent plug-and-play solution that can be applied to an existing website in a matter of hours.” The ability for search to plug in and seamlessly complement a content management system, application, or commerce platform is what makes it so powerful and natural for composability. 

In years past, search required high investment and customization to implement in a comprehensive and meaningful way. The current landscape, boasting companies who can focus profitably and solely on this domain, such as Coveo and SearchStax, has put powerful and fully featured internal search in the hands of all manner of organizations. 

Sameer Maggon, founder & CEO of SearchStax, says that this level of search accessibility and out-of-the-box integration for organizations is “groundbreaking.” SearchStax, which is also utilized by companies running Adobe Experience Manager, Acquia, Drupal, Moodle, and custom-built websites and applications, counts Sitecore as a key partner and one that “will continue to be for the foreseeable future.” 

Maggon agrees that the Sitecore Search announcement is a further affirmation of the technology category. “Search is undergoing a resurgence as modernization needs push organizations to get better at search…Sitecore always recognized the need for better Search, which is why they had partners like Coveo and SearchStax.” 

Maggon sees Sitecore’s composable pivot as a positive development. “It’s great to see Sitecore moving towards a model where it allows customers to provide optionality of software that is best suitable for their needs," he says. "It provides customers with the ability to bring the right product in for their use case without limiting their options.”

Related Article: Sitecore Symposium Attendees and CX Professionals Share 2023 CX Priorities

Unifying Siloed Content

Coveo has been another major search provider for Sitecore customers, in addition to headline integrations with Salesforce, Adobe, SAP, ServiceNow, Slack, and myriad others. Of the Sitecore Search announcement and what it means for the growing importance of the search industry, Nicolas Bordeleau, VP of Products at Coveo, asserts:

“Organizations of all sizes are starting to understand the critical importance of effective search across their digital experiences. In fact, research shows that 99% of companies struggle to deliver relevant search results to their end users, meaning a direct impact on revenues, cost, and overall experience. Large organizations with siloed content, complex web management systems and multiple brand sites need a secure, scalable, and closed-loop solution that goes beyond search. They need an intelligent solution that can unify siloed content, learn from user behavior, and use AI to suggest content to users where they are, even before they have to search.”

As Sitecore adds its own search product into the composable mix, questions remain — as of this writing the week of the conference — regarding pricing and the optimal use cases. But the Sitecore Search announcement makes abundantly clear the growing importance of search as a technology category. It also intimates that the focused and strategic use of search could be a defining step in the composable future of the enterprise organization.