Korn Ferry is a global management consulting firm, headquartered in Los Angeles, California. The firm operates 104 offices, in 52 countries, offering end-to-end support to organizations who want to transform their business. Korn Ferry helps their clients translate their strategy into something they can operationalize, by aligning both the tangible elements of the organization – people, structure, and process – and the intangible elements – motivations, relationships, and culture.
Already a massive firm, Korn Ferry underwent a rapid expansion of their business – integrating employees and technologies, making it difficult to ensure their employees were providing the best services to their clients. Looking for a new information management system, Korn Ferry turned to BA Insight, a trusted Microsoft Content Services partner, to help implement a complete enterprise search solution using SQL connectors and SharePoint.
Undergoing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can add many complexities to business, particularly in the way information is shared among workers. As Korn Ferry CIO, Bryan Ackerman explained, “When you grow this quickly through M&A, when you have so many people that don’t know everything that the firm can offer and yet are trying to drive a relationship of some kind with a client…”. It became increasingly difficult to ensure their employees were providing the best services to their clients given their rapid expansion and integration of new players and systems. This challenge was further exasperated by the fact that key information that their employees needed to access resided in multiple enterprise systems, leaving both former and new employees lost as to which systems to go to.
The solution to this required an executive level vision and strategy, on which Ackerman championed and partnered with BA Insight. He described the vision as “making information easy to get to and bringing it as close to each person as I possibly can. Then giving them the absolutely frictionless ability to find other experts inside of the firm and be able to share that information with them for the purpose of collaboration.” This required the implementation of a complete enterprise search solution that would be made available to Korn Ferry’s employees in the places and systems they worked in every day.
The solution was a combination of the following capabilities:
- Salesforce and SQL Connectors to integrate all corporate data into a single search index, along with all content stored within SharePoint. This directly addressed awareness around “everything the firm can offer” by enabling access to this data across all employees.
- Salesforce In-App Search to integrate the single search application directly within Salesforce so that employees who worked every day in Salesforce could find all the necessary data without ever leaving Salesforce.
- Visual Refiners to enhance the search user experience, allowing employees to quickly find the right data or expert for their specific issue.
Korn Ferry rapidly executed on their strategy and vision and delivered a game changing solution to their employees. Ackerman described the capabilities as: “So now when they search for their client, their industry, the solution, they get not only the org chart version of who has help, but they get things like the match of an engagement in an industry with the solution and the people who were part of the engagement or the opportunity. They get the assets that had been curated, that can help accelerate the pitch deck. They get the emails that they had put in their filed folder two years ago about the solution launch. They get the document that they might’ve had buried on their computer somewhere that gave them a pitch deck […] that the client liked.” Needless to say, Korn Ferry employees and Ackerman were thrilled.
Ackerman and the Korn Ferry executive team are not ones to rest on their laurels. They are already researching ways to increase the competitive advantage that they have built with their search system. They are researching and implementing bots, voice integration, and a slew of AI services, and they’re doing it rapidly. Ackerman thinks these things are not that far off. As he said, “To be quite honest, in this world of bots and voice and integrated technologies, we don’t believe it’s going to take us until 2023 to get there. We think it might take us maybe another year. Because a lot of the hard work, that intelligent contextual search experience is there. And so now it’s more of a question of morphing it, evolving it, providing different versions of it that match the different ways that Korn Ferry employees consume information, work and collaborate with each other, and take advantage of the great advances that we see these days that make it easier to do that.”