In the 21.05 release, we introduced a brand new search engine as part of the new Xpress Teller system. We also introduced the new search into the Member Inquiry tool, replacing the existing global search feature. The idea was to deploy the new search to a much a wider audience so that we could give it a better shakedown with real-life users in the field.
How the New Search Works
Similar to the search on the CU*BASE home page, the new search has a single input field where you can enter any data about the member and look for that data across key data points, including new ones such as driver’s license, email address, and online banking username.
To accomplish this, the new engine uses a completely different mechanism for searching. We pull data from many different tables into a new table called a view. When a search is performed we look at everything in that view.
For something relatively unique like a phone number or email address or driver’s license number, the search will find a small number of matches. When searching for a name or portion of a name, the search will return any record where that text is found in any of those data points.
Why Develop a New Search Engine?
The idea was to address some of the long-standing weaknesses with our existing global search engine. Almost every month we would get an Idea Form asking for yet another search input field. Let me search by driver’s license! I want to search for a phone number! Let me enter a member’s online banking username! (In fact, we’ve already received ideas on several more additions; see What’s Next below.) Because we had nearly a dozen screens with individual search input fields, it was unmanageable to keep revamping those screens and programs every time a new idea came along. It was time for a more comprehensive, browser-style search.
In addition, with our existing search, names with suffixes (Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.) were always pushed to the very bottom of the list, making it easy to choose a father’s account when because you didn’t realize the son or grandson was also a member. The new search engine strips off these suffixes for the purpose of searching only, then sorts results using the full name with the suffix, so you see dad, son, and grandson listed closer together.
The idea was to make the search as flexible as possible, while allowing for future expansion and enhancements with minimal disruption and programming investment to make changes.
Based on early feedback, here are some of the things we’re considering for the next phase of enhancements:
- Changing the standard search process from “OR” conditions to “AND” conditions. With this change when you search for two words, the results would show only records where both words were found on the same record, instead of showing a records with either word as it does now. Project #56516 is in development.
- Making it easier to find company names by refining how organization names are searched, to better handle the way these records are stored in the database. Project #56516 is in development.
- Creating a workflow configuration where you can define how you want searches to work for Member Inquiry and other places where the new search is added in the future (remember that Xpress Teller workflow controls only control Xpress Teller searches).
- Adding selection options for “all words match” and “any words match” or “exact phrase matches” so you can refine the search parameters on the fly.
- Adding “select all” and “unselect all” buttons to the Advanced Search window so you can quickly check/uncheck all of the boxes. Project #56512 will be implemented with the GOLD update on June 6, 2021.
Here are things CUs have also asked us to consider adding to the data points being searched:
- Street address
- Card # for closed cards
- Include data from closed accounts/memberships files
FAQs about the New Search Engine
Help Us Refine Our Design!
With this project we’re resetting the foundation for another decade of evolution, so we’re already gathering ideas for future enhancements. Leave a comment below if you have ideas.
Also, to read other early feedback on the new search engine, view the comments posted on the Xpress Teller kitchen page, or view the feedback from the 21.05 beta-test credit unions on the Beta Pool page.
Your chef for this recipe: Dawn Moore