Endeca and Agile Business Intelligence

July 26, 2010

If you have not read the interview about Fetch Technologies, you might want to take a look. Fetch is a company that sucks in content and makes it available for analysis. Among its features is an innovative programming method. The idea is that the old style business intelligence approach is too slow for today’s business and operational environment. Fetch is an information platform, and it has a number of advocates. Also, in the same sector are equally accomplished outfits such as Kapow Tech and JackBe, among others. Vendors like Exalead have made significant headway in business intelligence, challenging some of the old line outfits to up their game. IBM bought SPSS but I am waiting for significant innovation. SAS acquired Teragram and Memex, so I expect big things from these firms. Autonomy has a Hummer filled with business intelligence clients, and that firm continues to chew into the old line firms cut off from the fast moving client herd. In short, business intelligence is a big deal.

Endeca has been in the business intelligence business for many years. I did a report that pegged the date in the 2002 to 2003 period, maybe even earlier.  I was, therefore, not surprised with the information revealed in “New Study Details Top Questions Effective CIOs Must Ask to Determine Agile BI Readiness.” With the stampede to business intelligence, it is obvious even to a first year business school student at an academic backwater like the one I attended that something is causing the corporate antelope to take off.

The cause of the shift, in my experience, boils down to four factors:

First, traditional business intelligence is complicated and requires dedicated headcount to get up and running and create the reports managers require.

Second, the managers are usually clueless about what constitutes “good data.” In fact, with lousy data, the business intelligence systems produce outputs that may mislead the clueless MBA from my alma mater. The reports often baffle me, but I am an addled goose and don’t really have corporate grade bloodlines.

Third, the time windows in which decisions must be taken continue to get smaller. Whether real or induced by iPhone attention deficit disorder is irrelevant. Crunching data from the dinosaur systems takes too long. Most of the azure chip consultants seem okay with the idea that systems their firms recommend make guessing a standard business practice.

Fourth, disparate data are very expensive to normalize. That’s why outfits like Fetch and Palantir are doing pretty well. Palantir, as you may know, is now valued at $1.0 billion and sucks in disparate data, outputs reports, and pretty much leapfrogs the more traditional outfits.

What did the Endeca study reveal?

Here are the points that jumped out at me:

  1. Analysts have to create reports for more than 70 percent of those in the survey sample
  2. Time is short, deadlines vary.
  3. About half of those in the sample found business intelligence systems too hard.

No surprises for me.

What interested me is that a company with a strong foundation in eCommerce is pushing business intelligence. My view is that Endeca, like other vendors in search and content processing, want to generate more revenues from their technology, content connectors, and partnerships with value added resellers.

The challenge for Endeca will be to deal with the inertia within many large companies. Endeca is not alone in chasing business intelligence. In fact, Endeca has been pushing business intelligence to some degree for a number of years. So far the high performers have been companies with a combination of technology, content processing capabilities, and the ability to solve specific business problems.

My hunch is that general purpose business intelligence systems are going to face a long slog uphill. The newer players have to contend with one another, price cuts, the economy, and the marketing challenge.

Perhaps a bespoke survey will do the trick? My view is that Endeca like other search vendors is looking for a way to generate revenue. Like eDiscovery, the realities of the marketplace are going to make it tough for the many business intelligence vendors to find a pot of gold at the end of the BI rainbow.

Furthermore, I think that the business intelligence push is one more indication that “pure search” has been disrupted significantly. Furthermore, can some search vendors deliver actionable business intelligence or just results list with lipstick and mascara?

Stephen E Arnold, July 26, 2010



5 Responses to “Endeca and Agile Business Intelligence”

  1. Endeca and Agile Business Intelligence | Digital Asset Management on July 26th, 2010 1:40 am

    […] @ Endeca and Agile Business Intelligence : Beyond Search. Tags: Business intelligence, intelligence business, real-time, Search blog […]

  2. S.T.Inc on July 26th, 2010 7:12 am

    Lokomotif-lokomotif yang dipakai di Indonesia…

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  3. S.T.Inc on July 26th, 2010 12:09 pm

    Foto-Foto ibukota indonesia, Jakarta…

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  4. Business Intelligence on July 26th, 2010 4:38 pm

    How does Edeca compare to Jaspersoft? How does Open Source BI fit into this?

  5. Got Cheap Apple Tablet on August 9th, 2010 2:08 am

    iPads: Good for Business?…

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