The pros and cons of workplace search tools vs. a cohesive work hub

Graphic image work place search vs. work hub

As your company grows, the volume of information stored across every app you use escalates.

Most companies will set up a knowledge base, a designated space to store information, and periodically add to it.

But over time, it becomes clear that the information there isn’t complete. Vital pieces of data or process information get scattered across tools and locations — or stored in someone’s head.

When you’re a scrappy startup, that’s okay for a while. But as you grow, it's not sustainable. The costs associated with low productivity due to poor information management will keep increasing, and you’ll run into plenty of other frustrations along the way.

Growth adds complexity to information management

If information isn’t accessible, team productivity will go down. Simple tasks become complicated as your team needs to message multiple people in Slack or Microsoft Teams to track down the information they need.

40% of employees feel that their work tasks have become more complex as their company adds more technologies into the mix, according to the CIPD Workplace Technology Report. Which mirrors our findings, too. We’ve spoken with 150+ companies, and 70% of them say they spend too much time searching for information. 

As new tools and apps are adopted, information becomes thinly-spread across them. Suddenly there’s no simple way to find critical information or documents without opening multiple tabs or logging into numerous applications. Managing your documents and processes becomes a huge source of friction within your organization, and nobody wants to do work in order to get work done. 

Luckily, there are systems you can implement to help avoid information management becoming your new job title. 

One effective way to help your team find information is with a workplace search tool.

What do we mean by workplace search?

Workplace search tools help your team search through multiple apps and platforms to find relevant information. Another common term for it is enterprise search.

These tools centralize the information in each of your team’s apps, such as Google Drive, GitHub, Slack, Dropbox, and any other tool you use daily. That means anyone can search for a keyword or critical piece of information, and it’ll be instantly surfaced — no matter where it’s stored.

But, workplace search tools won’t solve everything.

Why a stand-alone workplace search tool isn’t always enough

1. Workplace search tools are reserved for enterprise customers

If you’re working at a small-to-medium-sized business, a lot of these search tools will be an astronomical expense. 

Not to mention, a lot of these tools require admin and onboarding time. They’re often complicated, and require ongoing maintenance to ensure they’re up-to-date. 

Unless you’re an enterprise customer, most tools won’t be tailored to your needs, and the value won’t be there for you.

2. They don’t solve the root problem

If you need a workplace search tool to find information across multiple tools, chances are, a search tool won’t solve the root cause of your issues.

The problem arises from tools being disconnected and information being siloed into areas where it isn’t actionable.

For example, let’s say you search for a keyword in your workplace search tool. You’ll see a list of results, including every document and page it’s mentioned in. But, you don’t know what projects those results relate to, which team members are involved, or how relevant the results are. 

3. Workplace search tools ignore vital context

Having the ability to find information on the go is useful — but with complex projects, context is critical to understanding how each piece of information relates to your broader goals. 

For example, a search tool can surface a document stored in Dropbox, but it won’t necessarily show you the project it's part of, or the people responsible for managing it.

You’ll then need to message your team to find out those things. Everyone in the relevant channels will see the notification, even if they can’t help you. A whole day might go by without finding out who owns the document, meaning you’ve lost valuable time. 

We modeled the total costs of these inefficiencies to companies, and in the average 50-person company, inefficiencies like these tens of thousands of dollars per year. Adding context to your searches is a simple way to reduce those unnecessary Slack messages and improve productivity. To add that context, consider using a work hub.

What is a work hub, and how can it help?

A work hub is a central place that unifies your tools and keeps your team aligned on everything happening at work. 

It's a robust unified search system that also allows you to create and document important processes, see the status of ongoing projects, and ensure essential information is available as soon as it’s needed.

Work hubs vs traditional workplace search tools

1. Everything is aligned not just search

A true work hub will offer you a workplace search feature. But most importantly, it adds context. Because a work hub like ours connects to every tool you use and every department, you can quickly identify which projects are related to what you’re searching for.

Whether you need to find a single Google Sheet, important project details, or recent updates in your #marketing channel, it enables everyone to instantly find the resources they need to do their job. It also helps you build relationships between different knowledge sources.

For example, you’ll be able to surface a message about a particular project, then quickly find spreadsheets stored in Google Drive mentioning the same topics.

2. Work hubs improve asynchronous collaboration 

The average small business uses 102 different apps. If your team needs to ping each other on Slack all day or jump on a Zoom call to find out where key information is stored, that will eat into work time and damage productivity.

With more and more teams working remotely or in a hybrid model, keeping everyone on the same page is vital. With a work hub, everyone will have full transparency into projects, goals, tasks, and information without needing to talk in real-time to anyone else.

3. Not only for enterprise

Most workplace search tools are designed for enterprise companies. They’re out of reach to high-growth startups or medium-sized companies using multiple tools because most workplace search tools aren’t intended for them.

While also well-suited for enterprise, work hubs are still really useful and accessible for mid-sized and high-growth companies. A work hub combines enterprise search-level power with a people directory, workflows, goal tracker, and more.

Solve your workplace information pain points

When you start using a work hub like Qatalog, finding key information becomes simple.

  • Search every app your team uses from one place. Filter your search results by app, date, relevance, and more.
  • Privacy-first, permission-based results. Easily manage permissions to sensitive information, and grant permissions only to team members who need it. Data security is a critical foundation.
  • Store different information types. Whether it’s SOPs and process docs, tracking company and personal goals, or automatically sharing updates, everything is centralized in one place.
  • Customized to individual needs. Not everyone needs to check the same tools at the start of the day. Developers might head straight to GitHub. Sales might head to Google Slides. A work hub acts as a central meeting place for every department, bringing together every app and acting as the perfect starting point for any query or task.
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