Another View of the Search Market

November 3, 2008

I missed this September 27, 2008, analysis in Intelligent Enterprise. I am not surprised that my trusty correspondents did not forward the link to me. You must read “Enterprise Search: Microsoft, Google, Specialized Players Vie for Supremacy” by Andrew Conry-Murray” here. The article was interesting because it comes at a subject near and dear to my heart in a way that I would not have anticipated. This is a five part opus, so plan to spend some time analyzing the write up’s structure and assertions.

The thesis makes one key assumption; namely, enterprise search is alive and kicking and that it is a viable business sector for the hundreds of companies touting their search systems. First, Mr. Conry-Murray uses a segmentation developed by Information Week. That’s okay, but I am not certain it is 100 percent in line with my analysis of this complicated, confused, conflicted sector. Second, the article pops from finding stuff to finding stuff under the umbrella of eDiscovery. The leap doesn’t resonate with me, and it does not make much sense. eDiscovery can exist along with multiple search systems, and it involves some different issues that searching for stuff without threat of a fine or jail time. Think spoliation. Third, I was exposed to “the 17 databases problem”. Now, next generation data management systems can cope with heterogeneous types of structured and unstructured data. I quite like Google’s dataspace approach and the Exalead system works like a champ as well. Mark Logic and others are in this horse race as well. I could list more vendors but I don’t want to rehash my profiles in my Beyond Search study published by The Gilbane Group in April 2008. Finally, I learned about expert search.

I am not going to be able to recycle much of this article. Nor will I reference it in my lectures next week. What I learned is that a person who “reads up” about search and talks to some people can identify some of the issues. What’s missing is context. I do quite like the frequency with which the “beyond” preposition is turning up. There’s a “beyond Google” seminar. Even Attivio uses the “beyond” word in its newest white paper.

Here’s an interesting exercise. Navigate to Google. Run a query for “beyond search”. Start there.

Stephen Arnold, November 3, 2008


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