ArdentiaSearch: Quick Update

December 30, 2010

According to the Birmingham Post, pensioners in Northern Ireland now have an easier way to access their benefit entitlements.

In early 2009, ArdentiaSearch, described as a “Midland-based business intelligence software company,” was awarded a contract with A2B in Belfast to help implement their “Access to Benefits” application around Northern Ireland.

With an annual average of 52 million pounds remaining unclaimed by pensioners, the article says the “Access to Benefits” application “provides over 60s with a web-based benefits calculator to allow self-assessment of their benefit entitlement.”

A2B chief executive Patrick Minne said at the time that in its first three months of availability, A2B users applied “for over 500,000 pounds in annual benefits they previously did not know about.”

Minne added that ArdentiaSearch’s reporting and analysis on A2B enables them to prioritize specific areas, thus leading to a more effective operation.

According to ArdentiaSearch’s Web site, its mission is to develop “innovative software solutions that enable employees to access corporate information in a simple, fast and intuitive manner, helping them to be more self-sufficient and productive in their day to day work.” Its primary software tool is called Netsearch and enables users to easily navigate voluminous data in basically the same way they would conduct a Google search online.

Pete Fernbaugh, December 30, 2010

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Clarabridge: Quick Update

December 30, 2010

Clarabridge, Inc., has announced new deals and partnerships with J.D. Power & Associates, Teradata and Verint.

Clarabridge describes itself as “the leading provider of sentiment and text analytics software for customer experience management.”

Clarabridge’s agreement with J.D. Power & Associates is part of J.D.’s efforts to expand the reach of its social-media research. J.D. Power also signed a separate agreement with NetBase. J.D. Power explained that it chose Clarabridge “to provide best-in-class analysis of verbatim texts aggregated from CRM systems and from consumers in response to surveys.”

Clarabridge’s partnership with data warehousing leader Teradata also includes a reseller agreement. The companies believe that their complementary voices will allow end users to “integrate structured and unstructured data in a single warehouse for a 360 degree view of their quantitative and qualitative customer analysis.”

The OEM/Partnership with Verint Systems, Inc., “a global leader in Actionable Intelligence solutions and value-added services,” revolves around Verint’s new Impact 360 Text Analytics solution, which is part of its Customer Interaction Portfolio from Verint Witness Actionable Solutions. Impact 360 Text Analytics will enable Clarabridge to gain “an aggregated and unified view of customer service, experiences and opinions across both direct and indirect customer communications channels.”

Pete Fernbaugh, December 30, 2010

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Arnold January 2011 For-Fee Columns

December 30, 2010

My for-fee columns due on January 1, 2011, are now written. I had to accelerate the pace this month because I have been on the road, enjoying the snow in France and the UK. I will be heading for warmer climes at the end of the month. Keep in mind that the for-fee work is more serious and fact-rich than the content in my Beyond Search Web log. Due to the agreements I sign for these for-fee writings.

Here’s the run down for my for fee August 2010 columns. These will appear over the next four to 12 weeks. Each for-fee publication has a different editorial cycle.

  • Enterprise Technology Management. “Google Enterprise Apps: Forcing Competitors to React”. I am now doing a monthly column for the print and online editions of ETM, which is a publication aimed at global information technology managers. I kick off 2011 by looking at what I think is the real reason Google is pushing its applications for the enterprise so aggressively.
  • Information Today, “Search Interfaces: What Will Work in 2011?” The big news in enterprise search is the user experience. I take a look at a surprising change in how one will “find” information in 2011. You may not have to search at all!
  • Information World Review (Bizmedia), “SAP: After Admission of Guilt, What’s Next?” SAP admitted guilt in its dust up with Oracle. So, I consider the question, “What’s next for SAP?”
  • KMWorld, “EasyAsk: Cut Loose with Semantics and NLP in 2011?” EasyAsk is now a stand-alone company again. With potent natural language processing capability, what new functionality will NLP provide you? I try to answer this question for KMWorld.
  • Smart Business Network, “Is 2011 the Year for You to Create a Social Media Policy?” With Facebook becoming a must-have marketing vehicle, should large and small businesses alike whip up a social media rule book? The idea sounds good, but is it necessary.

The full text of these articles is available directly from their respective publishers.

Stephen E Arnold, December 30, 2010

Freebie but I get paid to write these for fee thingies.

More Interface Excitement: NetCharts Snags Fonterra

December 29, 2010

PR Newswire reports that “Fonterra Picks NetCharts Performance Dashboards to Help Improve Business Performance.” The NetCharts Performance Dashboards (NCPD) made Visual Mining—an industry leader in business intelligence, data visualizations solutions, and performance management—will track/share key reporting indicators (KPIs) for Fronterra to use in all aspects of its company.

“Using NCPD, Fonterra’s Brand Division connects to multiple data sources from the same dashboard, performs quick analysis by switching between various data dimensions and applies the KPIs relevant to their division. NCPD also supplies the forecasting, data validation and calculations Fonterra relies upon for their day-to-day reporting.”

Fronterra chose to the NCPDs, because they are a high-quality, cost-effective dashboards and Visual Mining has an exceptional track record for technical services. Visual Mining is extremely pleased about the Fronterra deal and guarantees that Fronterra will find their businesses practices are more efficient and effective with their NetCharts Performance Dashboards.

Stephen E Arnold, December 29, 2010

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Search Keeps on Changing. Advancing? Not So Much

December 29, 2010

One can compare the art of conversation to driving a car. It’s good to be in control of your actions, so that you can steer the conversation down a correct path without crashing and raising your insurance deductable. Search Facets discusses the issue of conversation in relation to web searches in “Advancing the Conversation, not ‘Advanced Search.’” It compares web searches as conversations with users and how searches cannot just “talk at” users, but interact act with them on an intelligent level.

“Moreover, a conversational perspective also brings social and collaborative aspects of the discovery experience into full view. To state the obvious, people don’t just need to “converse” with dynamic information, they almost always need to converse and collaborate with other people. If I’m a marketing manager trying to analyze campaign effectiveness, I need to share insights and follow-on questions with the product sales team. Dialogue is central to the discovery experience.”

Vendors don’t always follow this ideology, though. They create “advanced features” that don’t help users understand information or how to apply it to formulate an answer. The entire web search conversation is then essentially dominated by tools that don’t have very good interaction skills and they crash their vehicle AKA web browser. Sounds like some vendors deploy solutions that have broken wheels, mirrors, and windshield wipers.

Stephen E Arnold, December 29, 2010

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Groupon Getting Searchified

December 29, 2010

If you take a turn to the West, you’ll find that the Groupon company has been busy. TMCNet reports on Groupon’s growth spurt in “Groupon Acquires Ludic Labs, Expands West Coast Headquarters.” Through Groupon’s Web site, people can find limited time deals exclusive to their town. They opened a new office in Silicon Valley and will be able to go from a staff of twenty-five to over one hundred in the coming year.

“Meanwhile, the acquisition of Ludic Labs should enhance Groupon’s talent pool and allow the company to continue to push its valuation to new levels. By absorbing Ludic Labs, the ever-evolving group buying site will bring on several of the company’s upper management personnel, including Paul Gauthier, co-founder of Inktomi, and David Gourley, who was the former chief technology officer at Endeca.”

What’s interesting is that while Groupon is expanding, they are also entertaining a buyout offer from Google for $5.3 billion. Rumors say that that the acquisition may pull through, but in the technology world who knows?

Stephen E Arnold, December 29, 2010

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Google TV and the Omitted Reasons for Doubt

December 29, 2010

Point your browser to the eWeek story “Google TV Is Failing: 10 Reasons Why.” The reasons seem okay. I don’t want to recite the list, but I can highlight two of the 10 reasons and invite you to navigate to the original write up.

This reason struck me as interesting. “The studios aren’t happy.” Or this one: Consumers don’t know about Google TV or aren’t ready.

Plausible? Sure. Related to Google TV? Nope. Consumers are buying content from studios via Apple, Netflix, and other vendors. These consumers represent a tiny fraction of the rich media guzzlers in the US. So “consumers” does not mean Joe and Janet Six-pack. Consumers mean those in the know and armed with dough. Those consumers are not gaga over Google TV.

Are these the “real” reasons for the rumors about Google TV looking a little anemic? Nope.

Our research into Google’s technology reveals a number of items, but I want to highlight two of them in this free blog posting. (If you want more, use the info on the About page to contact us.)

Real Reason 1: Google lacks nuts and bolts consumer savvy. How do we know? Check out the writings from Googlers about rich media. The world referenced in patent applications for rich media are oddly disconnected from the down and dirty market place. The “background” sections of Google patent applications provide some interesting reading. Also, there are public comments from Googlers about rich media. Google is not a consumer product company any more than your local water or electric company is consumer oriented. Different viewpoints ensure that the world of consumers and utility functions are miles apart. The scary part? The local utility monopolies will answer the phone when I call. Google, not so much.

Real Reason 2: Google engineers for engineers. Engineers love Google. My dad, not so much. Examples range from the Google Chrome browser which lacks the silly common user interface buttons for File operations. Or, Google’s Android phones that allow endless customization but allow some partners to slap a non Google interface on the phone so an average Six-pack family can make a call.

Why aren’t these points about Google more widely discussed? My hunch is that most folks want to get free Google mouse pads or get invited to the Google campus for free Odwallas. I also think that some folks hope that Google will hire them. The result is that analysis of Google is peculiar. The truth is right there to see, but no one wants to pull together the facts.

One example is Google an rich media. The company has been chugging along in the weird world of patent applications for years. Rich media starts popping up five or six years ago. The inventions sound great on paper, but the reality of the delivered services impress because hugely expensive YouTube.com content is delivered in ever increasing streams. The consumer wants some of that YouTube info, but the mass TV market is sticking with other methods and more importantly, other vendors.

Facebook is a giant photo outfit. In the next few months, rich media is going to play a larger role. Our team is watching what Facebook will do with “real” content and with the YouTube-type content. Unless Google figures out how to woo the consumers, Apple and other rich media purveyors may be joined by Facebook. In short, Facebook may be part of the reason why Google put into the market a product that appears to be out of step with where the rich media action is. We think a social spin on traditional movie and TV content may be a significant disruptor in the world beyond Google.

Just our opinion.

Stephen E Arnold, December 29, 2010

Freebie, of course.

Repositioning Search: A Cultural Shift for BI

December 28, 2010

I am in the baloney business, and I have no problem making clear my professional life. Sure, a few products made a couple of bucks, but I was trained in the consulting business by some good mentors at Halliburton Nuclear Utility Services and Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Consequently, my baloney recognition system works reasonably well. Today, I find, it lights up frequently. Recent examples include:

  • A 20 something wishing good luck in my career. The lass did not know that I am 66 and at the end of a long, dismal career. Things won’t get much better in my opinion.
  • A CEO who just wanted to chat, brushing aside my reminder that I charge for my time.
  • A VP of technology at a Fortune 100 company wanting me to provide competitive profiles on a number of companies in the text processing sector. The communication problem was that I did not want to work for that firm on its bureaucratically polished terms.

This post focuses on some business recommendations that, I suppose, are relatively harmless. Nevertheless, I found the write up fascinating because it has the potential to perpetuate some methods that are almost certain to increase costs and yet another failed information access system. Let’s begin.

Baloney As Knowledge and Insight

I found “Business Intelligence Programmes Should Be Viewed As a Cultural Transformation” interesting and wildly out of touch with the reality in many US organizations. That reality, as you know from the opening paragraphs, goes through the motions of resolving a problem and often creates a great cost black hole. The problem? Unsolved so the cycle begins again.

The write up reports on three actions to address a problem with business intelligence. Note that the definition of “business intelligence” is not included, so the reader is supposed to “know” what “business intelligence” is. Hmm.

What’s the article recommend?

image

Three actions, each oh-so-easy to convert to business platitudes.

First deliver “the right information to the right people.” Okay, but what if one does not know what information is available or if it is correct. Once that has been addressed, who are the right people. Most organizations have had some staff reductions. Who needs what? Good question and one that is often not answered in a way helpful to the people trying to level up to a business intelligence system.

Second, “change the mindset” in order to answer the “right questions”. Okay, but what happens if we don’t know what questions to ask because our view of the information is limited or just incorrect. What if the company allows professionals to make decisions without worrying about checking with the boss on every matter?

Finally, “create a project team based on information needs.” Great idea, but the reality of organizations is that if the view of the information available is incorrect and the questions the team wants answered are wrong, how will the project team be the “right team” for the task.

Looks like a recipe for management disaster. In fact, the present economic problems many organizations face are a result of this type of second-class thinking. The use of a fuzzy term to replace a now discredited and equally fuzzy term is part of the problem.

Read more

Update about the Very Droll Kroll

December 28, 2010

Business Wire has released “Year in Review: Kroll Ontrack 2010 Discovery Trend Data Reveals Organizations Struggle with Preservation, Production and General Discovery Protocols.” Kroll is a unit of Altegrity and leading provider of data recovery, legal technology products and services, and information management. As Kroll analyzed itself, they have found five discovery themes prevalent in the past year.

“Among the dominant topics reoccurring in the 2010 judicial opinions were the pervasive struggle companies and practitioners continue to have with proper preservation techniques, the continued growth in intolerance by the judiciary for discovery failures and the renewed call for cooperation amongst counsel.”

Kroll also summarized their e-discovery opinions and found 84 cases that represent trends found across the country. Nearly every case about preservation and spoliation contained information about sanctions. As in the prior two years, sanctions are a dominant pain point for courts and counsel. Kroll states that businesses need to be aware about discovery protocols and information management can be used as a proactive tool to create clear policies to prevent future legal action.

Stephen E Arnold, December 28, 2010

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TEMIS Pursues Traditional Publishers. Interesting.

December 28, 2010

TEMIS, a text mining company, has jumped into publishing. PR Newswire highlights the transition in “Atex Expands TEMIS Partnership and Announces 7 new Deals”as does News and Tech in “Atex cites 7 users for Temis partnership.” Atex and TEMIS announced that seven publishers will use an integrated package that uses Atex Polopoly Web CMS and TEMIS Content Enrichment solution. The seven happy customers are: Publishers Press, Erdee Media Groep, Sempre Editora, O Dia, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, New York Daily News, and Condé Nast.

“The Atex Web CMS and TEMIS Content Enrichment solution is proving itself with leading media companies around the world as a single-vendor system that drives traffic, increases page views and time spent on sites, attracts unique visitors, thereby driving revenues for the publisher.”

The combined programs allow their clients to increase their web traffic and gain new advertisers by repurposing content assets to create new products. Social media is another factor that comes into play. Automatic tagging improves user generate information such as blogs and forums. Atex and TEMIS are a great team-up, but it makes you wonder if they are chasing MarkLogic.

Stephen E Arnold, December 28, 2010

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