The Return of – Real – Enterprise Search – Extending Search at AstraZeneca

Kurt Kragh Sørensen's picture

Thanks to an invite from Conference Chair at enterprise search europe 2015 Martin White, Intranet Focus Ltd. I had the opportunity to see and hear about enterprise search at AstraZeneca and how they have developed it.

The session was presented by Hans-Josef Jeanrond, CMO Sinequa and Steven Woodward, CTO Office AstraZeneca.


Hans-Josef said that you should not copy what other companies are doing but be inspired and then transform it to your own company. 

He also emphasizes that many companies are heavily dependable of single persons that know where the data is. 

All innovations and new ways of working will create resistance and therefore it is important to be able to move faster than the resistance.

Steven Woodward, CTO Enterprise Technology Thinking at AstraZeneca was one of the absolute highlights of this conference. 

IT in AstraZeneca has to innovate and deliver value as developments in healthcare and technology is changing at an ever-increasing pace. 

Advances in areas as diverse as mobility, internet of things, data & analytics, cloud computing and user experience are raising the experience. 

AstraZeneca IT has established a new CTO office to leverage technologies to improve productivity and enhance their IT investments whilst being aware of disruptive, game-changing opportunities in their industry. 

They have:

  1. Enterprise Architecture Leadership to govern technology across AstraZeneca
  2. Competency Centres to build and uplift capabilities within AstraZeneca
  3. Technology Incubation Labs to access, accelerate and adopt emerging technologies

AstraZeneca has tech labs in the three technology clusters: Cambridge, San Francisco and Shanghai because they wants to have an early view of emerging technologies.

AstraZeneca has search-based applications, developed custom applications for specific business problems, scientific search, competitive intelligence, medical affairs and drug repositioning.

AstraZeneca developed enterprise search and launched it to 60,000 users in multiple language in 8 weeks. They used Sinequa & Pebble. The enterprise search is indexing internal and cloud based documents plus external publications, clinical trial information and patents.

User testing

AstraZeneca has tested the search applications and this has resulted in 40 quick fixes applied within 5 days and one major functionality and design change implemented in 1 month.

It resulted in:

  • A new colour scheme, 
  • More intuitive filters and people recommendations based upon extracted entities
  • Inline social integration and feed back

This has already increased feedback and usability.

Book directly in the search result

If you search in google for the time in Shanghai now it will return the time directly in the search result. You also gets the result for a calculation directly in the search result when you search in Google.

This functionality was asked for in AstraZeneca and therefore they made the following “cards” in the search results so the employees faster could do the following:

  • Book Holiday
  • Submit IT Ticket
  • Check free desk location
  • Password reset

Video Transcription with Advanced Cloud Analytics

AstraZeneca implemented the following within 6 weeks:
  • Automatic transcription of videos via asynchronous API calls
  • Sentence level entity extraction of terms allows extraction of key elements previously un- searchable
  • Inline video playback, starting right where you want it to
AstraZeneca is currently scouting new technologies in Sentiment Analysis, Reasoning Engines and personal information removal - please reach out to Steven if you can help.

Search On The Move – Find People App

In AstraZeneca you can find people on your mobile based on all their information such as name, location, job title, biography and skills. 

You can call or email the person you have found at the click of the mouse or a touch of the screen. 

Organization chart

You can also see where a person fits in AstraZeneca’s organization, who their manager is and if they have any direct reports.


The solutions has geo-location aware to make it easier to meet colleagues by sharing your current location on a map.

Search On The Move

AstraZeneca is using Sinequa as a Mobile Back-end as a Service (MBaaS) to unify and query data on any mobile device.

Approvals App

AstraZeneca has a mobile enterprise app for approving travel, expenses and procurement requests from 10 systems. The solution is futureproof and designed to easily integrate other ‘approvals’ with APIs. 

App for senior executives

AstraZeneca has a single mobile app for senior executives who needs to filter ‘to dos’ by the most urgent.

Want to hear more about this fantastic solution. Come to IntraTeam Event Copenhagen March 1-3 and hear Search & Taxonomy, Solution Architect Steve Sale from AstraZeneca talk about this.



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