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Your customers have a lot of questions. Yext is your answer.
What Google search does for consumers, Yext does for enterprise business customers. That’s the summation of Rohit Parchuri, CISO for the AI-powered search platform. Yext helps businesses gain more visibility and answers people’s questions when they search a business online, instead of just lobbing blue links at them that may or may not be of any value. Beyond search, Yext’s platform provides enough information to get your business to the top of consumers’ minds.
Search is the Cornerstone
It all starts with the search experience. AI and machine learning models use natural language processing to supply contextual and user-friendly answers to the queries presented by the users of the platform. The platform makes answers as natural as possible, as if the person searching for information were talking to someone who knows everything there is to know about a business.
That same search capability allows Yext to send information to third-party search and listing providers, so consumers can learn about your business wherever they search, not just on the business landing page. That could be resources such as Google My Business and Bing, social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, or trusted review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. Wherever people search, Yext can deliver information about your business to them.
Imagine you run a healthcare plan and a member is searching for details about the mental health services you offer.
“If the business has organized its facts appropriately, it is allowing users to search for that information in a meaningful way while providing contextual data available at the fingertips of the patient,” Parchuri said.
Instead of having to scour your website or make multiple phone calls to get the information they need, patients can pull it up quickly and easily.
Beyond the Search
Several features go into ensuring that searchers are getting the best, most up-to-date information to help them choose your business or help existing customers get the answers they need.
Yext Listings organizes business facts — locations, contact info, opening hours, etc. — and, more importantly, allows Yext to disseminate that info to more than 100 services.
“Your information is not just contained within your website, but also accurately reflected in other third-party services,” Parchuri said.
Yext Pages can embed directly into websites rather than requiring a separate site or domain, making searches appear more organic.
Yext Reviews enables real customers to leave authentic reviews and pulls them onto your website and disseminates to third-party sites. The platform also allows for a review generation model, where businesses can create review models and survey questionnaires they need, organized the way they want them.
Yext Insights and analytics provide intelligence on user behavior: where they are, how they found you, and the like.
“Ultimately what we’re trying to give clients is the ability to build custom dashboards and custom reports they can utilize for various things such as understanding the consumer cohorts and demographics. All these features are being manifested into different solutions to cater to specific pain points in the industry right now,” he said.
Examples include marketing answers and reputation management.
“There’s also a more notable feature, which is support answers. This has been gaining a lot of traction recently. This basically allows businesses to work with change management and ticket management systems such as ZenDesk, ChatBot, and Salesforce. They’re able to benefit within their own company but also with their customers on how they can pull and capture the relevant ticketing workflows within their systems.”
Software security is a well thought-out discipline at Yext. It’s very much a part of the design from the beginning rather than an add-on at the end of the life cycle. Yext operates with DevSecOps principles in mind to find and respond to vulnerabilities as soon as they arise. Checks and balances are enforced throughout the software and product development life cycles. There’s review and testing before the software development moves from one stage to the other.
New hires are onboarded with least privileges principle in mind, meaning they have just enough access to accomplish the task at hand. Secure by default ensures they’re operating in the most secure way possible while being able to get their job done.
“There was a time when we had to go back and evaluate different vendors and see, ‘Where exactly do we need enable restrictions when it comes to the infrastructure access?’” Parchuri said. “We made quite a few changes while moving from our application space into the network space from an access standpoint. One of the vendors we worked with was strongDM. Their solution ultimately helped us extend beyond application access into network systems and also how network groups are defined and accessed. That was really helpful.”
Yext had to evaluate all the systems within the company, a monumental task in itself. Once all those assets were structured and organized, we needed to implement the policies. StrongDM helped Yext take that next step in defining and enforcing policies.
Yext gives special considerations to client and consumer data while detecting fraud and enforcing protection controls.
“Privacy is definitely a cornerstone of how we do business, and that all starts with clients in mind,” he said. “Our privacy practices and principles are closely aligned with how we deploy our least privileges on the systems that contain this sensitive data.”
Data-loss prevention and anomaly-detection tools catch any potential leaks. Yext employs NIST Cybersecurity Framework guidelines and CIS Controls for strategic and tactical security approaches respectively, in addition to fulfilling regulatory and contractual obligations.
Parchuri gives the board of directors a quarterly report on top risks and how his team intends to remediate them. Operating on a global scale, they are ever vigilant across the global threat landscape.
Culture of Transparency
While securing client and consumer data is of paramount importance, Yext strives for a culture of openness and transparency. Employees and clients alike always know why a measure is being undertaken and what the benefits are.
“Security shouldn’t happen in a vacuum,” Parchuri said. His team members “are the ones who are defining the policy, but most of the time we’re not the ones executing it.” People in other departments are.
With that in mind, stakeholders throughout Yext meet monthly to discuss long-term initiatives and where security needs to step in.
“We are going through a number of changes within the company. One is centralizing our efforts toward talking more openly about security and seeing what kinds of problems our customers are facing and trying to build a model where we have customer centricity as a core value as we go into the different business segments.”
One of the biggest segments is called Workplace Answers, which provides employees of clients with all the information they need to do their jobs effectively using an internal search engine. It’s an intranet search engine built for speed and ease.
“That comes with a lot of things we need to view as a business, and we need partnerships with our customers and with external entities so we can think about this more globally and see how and where we need to invest from a privacy use-case standpoint.”
As Yext grows, the company continues to think about how its solutions can bring about greater good. There are a lot of greenfields in how Yext wants to expand. Security is one.
“Our doors are open,” Parchuri said.
If joining the Google for enterprise businesses sounds appealing, send Yext a query. They’ll have a good answer for you.
Yext’s mission is to transform the enterprise with AI search.
With the explosion of information and data online, search has never been more important.
However, while the world of consumer search has innovated over time, enterprise search has not.
In fact, the majority of enterprise search is powered by outdated keyword technology that only scans for keywords and delivers a list of hyperlinks rather than actually answering questions.
Yext, the AI Search Company, offers a modern, AI-powered Answers Platform that understands natural language so that when people ask questions about a business online they get direct answers – not links.
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