Exalead’s Vision for Enterprise Search

June 4, 2009

I had a long conversation with Exalead’s director of marketing, Eric Rogge. We covered a number of topics, but one of his comments seemed particularly prescient. Let me summarize my understanding of his view of the evolution of search and offer several comments.

First, Exalead is a company that provides a high performance content processing system. I profiled the company in the Enterprise Search Report, Beyond Search, and Successful Enterprise Search Management. Furthermore, I use the company’s search system for my intelligence service Overflight, which you can explore on the ArnoldIT.com Web site. Although I am no expert, I do know quite a bit about Exalead and how it enables my competitive intelligence work.

Second, let me summarize my understanding of Mr. Rogge’s view of what search and content processing may be in the next six to 12 months. The phrase that resonated with me was, “Search Based Applications.” The idea, as I understand it, is to put search and content processing into a work process. The “finding” function meshes with specific tasks, enables them, and reduces the “friction” that makes information such an expensive, frustrating experience.

Mr. Rogge mentioned several examples of Exalead’s search base applications approach. The company has a call center implementation and an online advertising implementation. He also described a talent management solution that combines search with traditional booking agency operations. The system manipulates image portfolios and allows the agency to eliminate steps and the paper that once was required.

The company’s rich media system handles digital asset management, an area of increasing importance. Keeping track of rich media objects in digital form requires an high-speed, easy-to-use system. Staff using a digital asset management system have quite different needs and skill levels. Due to the fast pace of most media companies, training is not possible. A photographer and a copyright specialist have to be able to use the system out of the box.

But the most interesting implementation of the SBA architecture was the company’s integration of the Exalead methods into a global logistics company. The information required to tell a client where a shipment is and when it will arrive. The Exalead system handles 5GB of structured data to track up to 1M shipments daily. Those using the system have a search box, topics and clients a click away, and automated reports that contain the most recent information. Updating of the information occurs multiple times each hour.

Finally, my view of his vision is quite positive. I know from my research that most people are not interested in search. What matters is getting the information required to perform a task. The notion of a search box that provides a way for the user to key a word or two and get an answer is desirable. But in most organizations, users of systems want the information to be “there”. That’s the reason that lists of topics or client names are important. After all, if a person looks up a particular item or entity several times a day, the system should just display that hot link. The notion of Web pages or displays that contain the results of a standing query is powerful. Users understand clicking on a link and seeing a “report” that mashes up information from various sources.

Exalead is winning enterprise deals in the US and Europe. My hunch is that the notion of the SBA will be one that makes intuitive sense to commercial enterprises, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. More important, the Exalead system works.

Stephen Arnold, June 5, 2009


One Response to “Exalead’s Vision for Enterprise Search”

  1. customer call centers on June 13th, 2009 2:33 am

    customer call centers…

    Founded in 1986, Sound Telecom is a privately owned and operated company providing telephone answering, inbound and outbound call services, unified communications (through it’ s Solaxis division), and paging services for customers throughout the U. S…

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