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To Build or To Buy? Deciding Which Search Is Right for Your Company

When it comes to search, many companies are torn between building in-house or going with an external solution. Let's find which option is right for you.

When it comes to search, many companies are torn between building their search in-house or going with an external SaaS solution like Cludo. The decision can be even more difficult if you’re trying to improve search for multiple digital platforms, like your ecommerce platform and your internal intranet. You have to consider factors like budget, development resources and how quickly you need a functioning search.  

But at Cludo, we’re not here to present you with difficult choices. We’re here to make your life a little easier. So to help with your decision, we’ve broken down what you need to know when choosing a search solution. In this blog we’ll evaluate the various types of search you can implement, different methods of investing in search, and try to discover which one is right for you.

To build or to buy? That is the question! 

When deciding what path to take on your search journey, there are a few questions you’ll first want to answer:

  • What type of search do you need? 
  • Do you need search implemented for multiple domains?
  • How much time and how many resources are you willing to put into your search? Do you have the necessary resources available? 
  • How customized does your search need to be? 
  • What is your budget? 
  • What is your timeline? 

Getting a team-wide consensus on these questions is the first step towards choosing between buying or building your search. 

In order to answer all of these questions, let’s first explore what types of search a company like Cludo may offer and which is the right fit for your organization. 

Which search solutions should you implement

Search is at the center of the digital experience, meaning a search tool that provides solutions for all of your business needs is imperative. There are numerous ways to provide an optimized search experience for your visitors and employees. Let’s dive into the different types of search you can offer! 

Site search. When most of us think of internal search, what immediately comes to mind is a bar or button at the top of a website that displays search results for content specific to that site. This is also known as site search. You may have come here looking for just that, and that’s great! Site search is where many companies begin their search journey. 

App search. Beyond website search, one of the most prominent places searches are performed is on mobile apps. Whether you have built a web app or native app, it’s crucial that it has an optimal search (especially if you run an Ecommerce business). 

Federated search. You may hear federated search referred to as “multi-site search” or “cross-domain search.” It simply means that your search can crawl through multiple data sources — from websites, to separate platforms, to internal databases — and display everything within one results page. 

Intranet search. Built for companies with internal platforms and systems, intranet search or workplace search, is a private network for communication, collaboration and sharing information within an organization. Through search, each user can receive different records, documents, files, or data depending on their needs and access level. Intranet search is a popular solution among enterprise-level companies, due to the large scale of information and IT resources available. 

Deciding which search (or searches) your organization should provide will depend on your answers to the questions in the first section as well as whether you need internal search, external search or both. Work with your team to decide where to begin. Once you know exactly which search to offer, dive into our two search options: building or buying. 

Building your search 

First off, let’s discuss what it’s like to build your own search solution. Building search in-house comes with its own set of pros and cons. Not everyone is equipped to build a custom search, though there are benefits in doing so. Primarily, developing a custom search gives you full control over its technology and functionality, which is especially enticing if your company has a strict set of guidelines and aesthetics you must follow. 

However, let’s discuss the elephant in the room: the cost, and the time. Our research suggests it costs, on average, $60,000 to build a solution in-house — and another $10,000 a year to maintain it. (Not to mention the cost of the staff members needed to keep it running.) Most organizations aren’t equipped with the development time and budget of larger corporations like Google or Amazon. Employing a dedicated search team is a huge undertaking, and not always the most cost-effective option. 

You also can’t set it and forget it. The upkeep and maintenance of search can be unpredictable, from bug fixes to improving functionality. You’ll want your search to stay up-to-date with current search features and trends, which may be difficult for a smaller team. 

Buying a search solution 

Next we come to buying a search solution. Buying a solution may be a complicated task, especially if your company is hesitant to commit to new technologies. Finding the right solution for your company can be time-consuming, but the time spent searching for your solution won’t come anywhere close to the time you’ll save after implementation. 

Buying a search solution is a great option for many reasons. Whether you are limited on development resources, have a small budget or would just rather go with a trusted solution, buying has its perks.  A few benefits of going with a search solution like Cludo include:  

  • Quick and easy implementation –  Whether you go with a custom implementation or use one of our search templates, getting Cludo installed on your site will be quick and painless. 
  • Usability – We’ve designed our software to be intuitive and easy-to-use. Our search analytics and tools dashboard can be utilized by any employee, whether it’s their first day or they’re the CEO. Analyze, adjust and create with ease. No developer resources necessary. 
  • Advanced analytics –  Our actionable analytics dashboard will save you time sifting through data and provide insights you may not get from an in-house search.
  • Machine learning based technology – Our intelligent search refines and improves results as time goes on, helping you to maintain relevance automatically. Through machine learning, your search will deliver an experience tailored and personalized to every user.
  • Security – One of the most important features of implementing a third-party solution is the security of your data. With a search solution like Cludo, you can ensure search data stays in the right hands with user permissions. We also offer Private Data Masking, a feature that hides private data from your analytics that visitors may accidentally enter into your search bar. 
  • Support from day one – Our mission is to build excellent search, so why not leave it to the experts? From implementation to getting the most out of your MyCludo platform, our team is here to ensure your success. Phone and email support included, no matter what package you purchase. 
  • Cost and time savings –  As we mentioned, it costs upwards of $60,000 (USD) to develop a website search in-house, not to mention an additional $10,000+ a year to maintain. Cludo costs a fraction of that, and saves you development time.

But of course, we still have customization to consider. If you’re looking for a search that looks and works just the way you want it, without the hassle of building it yourself, out-of-the-box solutions like Cludo can provide that compromise. Many search software allow you to customize anything from the layout of your search to the categories and other facets that it indexes. 

Decisions, decisions

When deciding which search is right for your organization, it’s important to remember the value of search. While it may simply seem like a “nice-to-have”, it’s much more than that. Search not only helps increase conversions, it can be the difference between a visitor staying on your site or app versus leaving for good.

Whether you decide to build your search or buy a solution like Cludo, it’s important to know that search is more than a bar at the top of the page – it is a direct connection to your users and their needs. So make sure your search is ready to deliver! 

Ready to see just what you’ll get when you buy a search solution? Request a demo today! 

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