Enterprise search has been around for quite some time, but it is not generally available from Amazon.
There have been many attempts throughout the years to provide an enterprise search service that can sift through a company's data. In the past this has meant users are required to type in keywords to find information.
“Our customers often tell us that search in their organizations is difficult to implement, slows down productivity, and frequently doesn't work because their data is scattered across many silos in many formats,” stated Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of Amazon Machine Learning and Amazon Web Services. “Using keywords is also counterintuitive, and the results returned often require scanning through many irrelevant links and documents to find useful information.”
For instance, employees can ask a specific question such as “when does the IT help desk open?” and Kendra will give them a specific answer like “9:30 AM,” and highlight the passage in the source document where it found the answer, along with links back to the IT ticketing portal and other relevant sites.
Amazon first announced Kendra, an enterprise search service powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, at the Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference in December.
The announcement, made earlier this week, puts Amazon in an interesting position -- competing in search more closely with Google and Microsoft, both of which offer an enterprise search service.
It’s unknown whether the company plans to broaden the focus into consumer search, perhaps expanding Alexa. Amazon has expanded into many areas, like a many-tentacled octopus.
Kendra is optimized to understand complex language from multiple domains, questions like “How do I set up my VPN?” and “What is the genetic marker for ALS?”
The search engine can understand industry-specific questions about IT, healthcare, and insurance, energy, industrial, financial services, legal, media and entertainment, travel and hospitality, human resources, news, telecommunications, mining, food and beverage, and automotive, with additional industry support coming in the second half of this year.