Autonomy after Winning the Enterprise Search Wars

December 25, 2008

Let me be clear. I did not write the article in CBRonline. The author is Jason Stamper, and I am pointing to the story “It Ain’t Over” which appeared on December 23, 2008. A couple of my four or five readers look at my coverage of Autonomy and assume I am a cat’s paw. Nope, the outfit has ignored my last two emails with questions I had hoped the company would answer. If you want to comment on Mr. Stamper’s article, write him, not me. I read his piece here and found several interesting points. Let me highlight these and then offer a couple of my own opinions. Mr. Stamper landed an interview with Mike Lynch, the CEO of Autonomy. The article provides some color about the background of the company in the early 1990s. Mr. Stamper then picks up the theme that Autonomy has won the war for enterprise search. I quite liked the handling of the Fast Search & Transfer missteps that precipitated some official looks into the Fast operation. Mr. Stamper does a good job of highlighting some of the basic facts about the enterprise search market. I am a collector of customer stories, and the profile of Autonomy’s work at Ford is a juicy anecdote. For me, the most important comment in the article was this statement:

One of the differentiators over its smaller rivals in the space – including Endeca, IBM (smaller in terms of search, at least), Google Enterprise, Simplexo, Sinequa, Recommind and many more – is the list of supported file types that can be handled by Autonomy’s IDOL platform. “By supporting more than 1,000 different data formats, including structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data, located across 400 different content repositories, Autonomy can search all categories of information repositories in an organization,” the company says.

Now you may not be too excited about connectors. That may be one of the differences between my view of search and yours. Connectors, in my experience, are one of the surprises that often bedevil licensees. These code chunks make it possible for the licensee to index information that reside in systems or files within an organization. A vendor who does not provide connectors leaves the customer with some stark options; for example, don’t index the content or pay for a new connector. If Mr. Stamper is correct, Autonomy’s connectors are a definite plus for the IDOL system. One vendor (not Autonomy) which I won’t be able to name has quite a few connectors. But–and this is an important “but”–does not make them available as part of the basic license fee. The vendor charges extra for a connector even though it is available and ready for the licensee to use. Pretty nifty way to earn some extra money, right?

Stephen Arnold, December 25, 2008


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta