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Privacy-First Enterprise Search: Why Dashworks Doesn't Index Data

February 15, 2024
Prasad Kawthekar
Prasad Kawthekar
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Modern companies are drowning in information. Each passing day adds dozens of documents and tasks to keep track of, hundreds of emails and messages to sort through, and gigabytes of logs and data to manage. The task of finding the necessary information has become increasingly difficult due to the sheer volume of data and the different apps used. In fact, over half of workers report spending more time searching for information than on the work itself. Finding information has quite simply become the core work for knowledge workers.

We created Dashworks to solve this problem – an AI knowledge assistant that connects with your company’s apps to find answers to your questions and search for docs, messages, and more and we decided to adopt a different approach to achieve this.

Dashworks’ no-index approach

Traditional enterprise search solutions, the predecessors to AI knowledge assistants, depended on indexing content to generate search results. All the information and documents to be searched had to be transferred to a central location or database on a vendor's cloud or on-premise.

In contrast, Dashworks’ approach requires no, or in some cases very limited, data indexing. Instead, Dashworks uses real-time search APIs to link up with different apps within a company's tech stack. Whether you are searching for a contract in your Google Drive or Dropbox, an email, or a conversation you had on Slack, Dashworks makes a live search in the app to find the relevant information. This unique approach unlocks several benefits for our customers.

Dashworks’ Real-time AI Search Approach

Secure & Private

As businesses increasingly rely on cloud apps to get work done, the risks associated with data breaches and cybercrime also increase. Traditional index-based enterprise search systems can be particularly vulnerable, as they store all essential data in one place.

However, Dashworks offers a real-time approach to mitigate these risks. With its no-indexing first approach, your docs and data are not pre-indexed into Dashworks. Instead, Dashworks makes real-time search API calls to fetch only the specific docs and messages from your connected apps that are relevant to your question. This greatly reduces the surface area from a security and privacy standpoint.

In addition, Dashworks maintains all your existing permission settings when it connects with your apps. This ensures that only authorized users can access the data they can view, ensuring confidentiality and privacy for sensitive information. If the document-level permissions for a user are updated, Dashworks’ real-time search API approach will also instantly update these permissions, and the user will immediately lose access to the file, minimizing privacy risks.

Accurate Live Answers

Imagine if Google couldn't provide you with up-to-date news, live scores, or stock prices. Unfortunately, this is precisely how many enterprise search systems work today. Indexing-based search systems require data to be refreshed at regular intervals, which can cause delays in indexing ranging from hours to even up to a day.

By making live search API calls to connected apps, Dashworks provides real-time responses to queries, ensuring that the data you receive is always current. Its real-time approach means you can trust that Dashworks’ answers are accurate and up-to-date every time.

This can be incredibly valuable in any domain where access to internal knowledge is critical, such as engineering on-call or customer service. Imagine a customer service representative dealing with an urgent on-call issue. With Dashworks, the rep can quickly and easily access the latest information from various internal resources, such as customer tickets, logs, and internal conversations. This ensures that the rep can provide accurate and timely information to the customer, ultimately leading to a better customer experience and higher satisfaction.

2x-3x Cost Effective

Indexing and storing a company's knowledge can result in significant indexing costs, which are invariably passed down to the customer. Since the cost depends on all the indexed data, indexing-based systems usually also require a large number of minimum seat counts.

However, our no-indexing first approach eliminates this hurdle since it requires no upfront cost of data storage from indexing. We can pass these savings back to our customers, providing an AI knowledge assistant to answer all your work-related questions for less than $10 per month. Additionally, Dashworks is free to get started and does not require any minimum seats.

Seconds to Setup

Setting up an enterprise search system can be notoriously time-consuming when using traditional indexing approaches. IT admins often spend days or weeks on the initial setup and indexing before the workspace is ready.

That's why we offer an instant real-time search API approach to get started. Once you connect your apps, Dashworks is ready to use without any wait times for indexing. Unlike indexing approaches, which require significant setup times from IT admins, our real-time search API systems can be set up instantly.

Scalable & Stable Integrations

The primary objective of enterprise search is to offer a centralized platform to access internal knowledge. The effectiveness of this depends on the number of apps and data sources that are integrated into it. Customers expect to connect with as many apps as possible and to have stable integrations that do not constantly require reconnections.

Historically, indexing approaches have faced two significant issues - high upfront costs for building integrations and flaky integrations that continually break and need reconnecting. Even minor bugs in the indexing logic can cause missing documents or incorrect permissions, leading to a poor customer experience or posing a privacy risk.

On the other hand, real-time search API integrations require less development upfront and are much more stable and reliable than indexing-based approaches. This enables faster integration of more applications while also ensuring greater stability than approaches that rely on indexing integrations.

Looking Forward

As we push the envelope with Dashworks’ no-indexing first approach, we’ve already developed several novel approaches across the stack. We are excited to continue pushing the industry forward to provide accurate, fast, comprehensive, and reliable answers to work questions.

Our approach also lays the foundation for Dashworks’ next set of capabilities that will expand beyond knowledge search. Our goal is to develop Dashworks to easily execute actions in connected apps, such as sending emails or scheduling meetings. Real-time API calls are required to accomplish tasks beyond just question answering. With this in mind, we are committed to improving the capabilities of Dashworks to make our work lives more efficient and fun.

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