FeaturedEnterprise Search Ignorance Can Be Costly
Why What You Do Not Can Bite Your Pocketbook. Marketers Have Their Interests Front and Center, Not the Customers’ Interests
A few days ago, I sat through several presentations about enterprise search. The systems struck me as quite similar. The emphasis was placed on providing basic information access to users. For the purpose of this short essay, I will not make distinctions among search vendors which position themselves as providers of analytics, business intelligence, discovery, and Big Data access, among other synonyms for search and information retrieval.
The missing pieces of the cost puzzle can make budget deficits a reality. A happy quack to Vermont’s Department of Information and Innovation. See the discussion to drive down the cost of doing business. States are paragons of fiscal probity.
However, the talks caused me to reflect on what the vendors left out of their presentations.
Here’s a checklist of the omissions in commercial systems which are now being marketed as an alternative to the high profile and expensive solutions available from Dassault, Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, Microsoft, and Oracle, Each of these large enterprise software vendors acquired one or more search systems. Each has taken steps to integrate search with other enterprise software solutions.
The gap the acquisition of such companies as Autonomy, Exalead, and others is now left to smaller and less well know vendors of search. I don’t want to mention these companies by name, but a quick search of Bing or Google will surface many of the firms vying to become the next $100 million vendor of enterprise search systems.
The first omission is a component which can acquire, normalize, and present textual content in a form the search system can process. For newcomers to enterprise search, the content acquisition process can add significantly to the cost of deploying an enterprise search system. Connectors are available from a number of specialist vendors. Most of the search vendors provide some basic tools for acquiring content. Depending on the organization, the vendor provided tools may be adequate for acquiring documents in text or Web pages in HTML. Other document types may be more problematic. A vendor offering a system which requires documents to be in a supported XML format often emphasizes the system’s ability to slice, dice, parse, and perform certain operations with alacrity. What’s omitted is the time, cost, technical expertise, and work flows required to get content into the search system. Cloud based enterprise search solutions and certain lower cost enterprise search systems leave content to the licensee or offer for fee consulting services to assist with these often complex activities.
InterviewsRobert Steele on Open Source Intelligence in 2013
Robert Steele has been a prescient thinking and actor in the intelligence sector for decades. In 1979 he was competitively selected to join the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service. He spent nine years with the CIA, doing three tours overseas as a case officer recruiting and handling agents. In 1986, helped write the Marine Corps Master Intelligence Plan (MCMIP) as well as a plan for a Marine Corps Intelligence Center (MCIC). In the last 30 years, Mr. Steele has worked on a wide range of projects around the world.
In the interview which appeared in HighGainBlog, he said:
For all the money we spend on it, the secret world is not really providing the return on investment taxpayers should expect. Intelligence – decision support – is simply not being provided to everyone that needs it.
His views on the relationship of intelligence to decision support caught my attention as well. He said:
intelligence helps to emphasize that intelligence is synonymous with decision-support – the output of a very robust process of requirements definition, collection management, source discovery and validation, multi-source fusion, historically- and culturally-informed analytics, and the sharp visualization that answers an important question for a particular decision-making considering a particular decision challenge. Few realize that most of what is produced by the secret world is not intelligence at all. Rather, it is secret information that is generic in nature and often not useful to decision-makers.
Mr. Steele’s views on open source software identifies a trend which has been accelerating in the last few years. Proprietary software has issues which have added a turbo charger to open source software adoption. He asserted:
Proprietary software is unsafe, does not scale, and is unaffordable. I have been unhappy with all vendors for the past 40 years because not a single one of them is committed to helping people make sense of information – they focus on trapping customers into using them as a core system, make promises they cannot keep, and then over-charge for configuration management and data conversion. I am also very concerned about Google’s computational mathematics and programmable search engines – I have a very high regard for Google’s expertise, and a very low regard for the government’s ability to understand now Google can manipulate search outcomes and other forms.
For those interested in intelligence activities, the new Robert Steele interview is a must read. You can find the Steele 2013 interview in HighGainBlog. Mr. Steele’s Public Intelligence blog is a valuable resource.
Stephen E Arnold, April 4, 2013
Sponsored by Augmentext
Latest NewsGoing Beyond ETL
Traditional data warehousing, or as it is often called, Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) have constituted an important enterprise software category. Now, these... Read more »Guide on Onboarding Funnel and Jargon
A recent article from Woopra caught our attention: “How To Build And Optimize An Onboarding Funnel.” This post explains what onboarding funnels are and how to... Read more »Positive and Negative Future Implications of Crowdoptic
The attempt to mine for insights in big data is not a new concept. The Huffington Post confirms this as they describe one of the more interesting pushes in this... Read more »Copy Machine to Grades Papers
Copy machines seem slightly outdated as they evoke images of futile technology a la Office Space. But Popular Science represents the antithesis of this and so does... Read more »Enterprise Search: Can Word Choice Rescue a Dogpaddling Business?
I read “Ontology Slays Data Integration and Ignites Semantic Search Revolution.” I found several things interesting about the write up. First, there is the word... Read more »Facial Recognition Technology Is A WIP
Watch any crime-solving show on TV and the forensics department has facial recognition technology that can take a blurry photo and make it as clear as pure water.... Read more »The Negative Side Of Enterprise Software
You like, you hate it, you love it, you loathe it. These seem to be the common conceptions when it comes to enterprise software. Despite all the praise enterprise... Read more »LucidWorks Raises 10 Million in Capital
LucidWorks continues to raise revenue, helping the company build and support open source software that empowers organizations to manage their multi-structured data.... Read more »Phone Data Value And What Companies Are Doing With It
Smartphones are an extension of a person’s life and they record it every time a person uses it. Smithsonian Magazine takes a look at how phone companies are tracking... Read more »Demographics and an Another Daunting Challenge for Search
I read “Pew: 94% Of Teenagers Use Facebook, Have 425 Facebook Friends, But Twitter & Instagram Adoption Way Up.” The main point is that Facebook has what... Read more »