The Importance of Federated Search and Its Benefits to ECM Systems

December 14, 2022

While it is a norm for organizations to run multiple enterprise systems for different operational and business needs, searching and retrieving content scattered in fragmented silos across various systems is challenging and frustrating.

When data is stored in various fragmented repositories, it is important to be able to search, index, and retrieve all relevant data to get an accurate and complete picture. Across disparate systems such as legacy ECM systems, this is a painstaking process.

Federated search gives organizations the ability to run searches across multiple data repositories, databases, and other data sources. It also enables them to access all the results from one place. We are simplifying what federated search is, of course, but it gives you an overview.

Why is it important?

Simply put, enterprises need a way to be able to search for and retrieve what they want without needing a team to run searches on each system, and wait for the compilation of all the content. This is where federated search shines and can save a lot of time.

Federated search makes life effortless for enterprise users by enabling them to search for information from multiple locations with a single search query. One such example is a federated search engine linking several CRMs, ECM, and ERP systems. Any user with the right access privileges can access all the information from any system on a single platform and get valuable insights and intelligence.

The capability to search from one interface for data from multiple data sources is in fact a superpower--one that can make enterprise data much more accessible and useful.

Benefits of Federated Search

There are many benefits of using federated search alongside your enterprise systems, and here are a few.


Federated search enables users to query secure, gated sources. However, this does not mean that all information from any data sources will become available to any users with access to federated search. The search queries will send user credentials along so that only the data that they have access to will be returned.

Managing access privileges and user credentials across multiple disparate enterprise systems can be a painful headache. Since many organizations store an enormous amount of personally identifiable information (PII) and other data of sensitive nature, not all users should have access to all data. By using federated search, users are only able to access information they have clearance to.

Data Consolidation

Without using federated search, users in your organization have to use search function of each enterprise system in use. When content is scattered across fragmented data repositories over multiple systems, it is very common to get multiple versions of the same data or even bits and pieces of the content. Organizational users usually have to stitch together the search results to get (hopefully) an accurate complete picture of what they seek. Imagine if a system or data repository is omitted by mistake; then the data just won't be complete.

This is not the case with the federated search. Regardless of how many different systems and data sources there are for a search, users no longer have to worry about performing individual searches. Everything is queried, collated, and displayed in one interface for them.

Better Data Visibility and Flexibility

Federated search capabilities enable the users to weigh data sources depending on how relevant or visible they want them to be in their search queries and adjust the search to meet specific needs. For instance, a user may want to access content from CRM A but only want information from certain fields in ECM B. This is not possible if the search is performed through each system separately.

Implementing Federated Search in Your ECM Systems

Our proprietary software platform, MARS (Massive Archival Retrieval System), has high-performance federated search capabilities to locate, normalize, and condense any documents by metadata. With 45+ connectors to data sources, MARS can search, retrieve, and access content from any data source and view any filetype. It can also connect fragmented documents and automatically organize content with shared metadata, effectively eliminating redundancy and fragmented data silos. All of these capabilities and more. From one program, one interface.

Do you have a need for federated search to get a handle on all your content? Let's talk.

Take Control Over Your Enterprise Data.

Discover data and solutions you never knew you had. Talk to a Helix Data Expert today to see how we can save you time, reduce your costs, and reclaim your human capital.