Exalead Two Years after the Sale

July 4, 2012

I was looking at my Overflight page for Exalead, the search system acquired by the French “systems” company Dassault in mid 2010. I have not run across Exalead in my work, but I have moved “beyond search.” A number of companies once dominant in enterprise search have been nudged out from under the microscope by outfits which are triggering more attention here in Harrod’s Creek. To put this comment in context, let me mention several firms: Attivio, Artirix, Digital Reasoning, Elasticsearch, Ikanow, Lucid Imagination, Polyspot, Quid, and Sphinx to pluck a few from the “hot company queue” on one of my infamous 4×6 hot pink note cards.

We maintain some public Web pages which make it easy to see at a glance how much coverage a particular vendor gets. You can find the splash page for Overflight on ArnoldIT.com and the Exalead page here.

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A snippet of the Exalead information on my Overflight service at http://arnoldit.com/overflight/search/report.php?name=exalead

The news focuses quite understandably on Dassault Systèmes, the parent company. The content push is in the area of managing manufacturing information. What is interesting is that Dassault now faces some new competition in this space. Check out Inforbix for one example.

The blog posts are even more fascinating. Exalead is following other search vendors with webinars. I have expressed my personal webinar fatigue and my annoyance at the stream of “invitations” to join a forward thinking executive. I will learn new things and the time will be well spent. I don’t buy it. I can read more quickly than I can absorb serial conversation. But that’s just me.

The second thing I noticed was information about the company’s winning an award. I have seen a number of similar announcements. Recognition is important, but my question was, “How many people were in the competition?” and “How were winners selected?” I have not heard of LT Innovative or its award, but that may be my limitation.

Third, I saw a link to a blog post which further links to information which explains how to build an “SBA in 10 minutes.” An “SBA” is a search based application. The idea is that most organizations have had it with proprietary search systems. In order to get out of a fouled nest, vendors have worked up language that suggests “finding” without using the scarlet phrase “enterprise search.” My question, “Is it really possible to build a real application in a real 10 minutes?” Heck, I can’t get MailChimp to output text without weird fonts in less than 15 minutes. I even struggled to get a Microsoft PowerPoint on my iPad 3. Fortunately one of the goslings had set up a Dropbox account and that worked. Total time: 20 minutes from start to finish.

What is missing from the flow of information about Exalead is information about major account wins. We try to highlight some of the important deals which we learn about; for example, “Microsoft Snags a Big Search Project.”

We have heard from several search and content processing vendors that the European market has mostly gone dormant. The bright spots are not in the once hot group of countries; namely, the UK, France, Spain, and Italy. We have also heard that the Pan Asia market is slowing. That leaves the US and Canada and a handful of countries scattered around the periphery of the dead zone as markets to pursue.

We expect the sales pressure to mount on the companies which have paid dearly for “enterprise search” technology. Right now, the next wave of companies which will define information access are coming at the market from a non-search angle. We are watching, therefore, the footprint of Autonomy, ISYS Search Software, Brainware, Vivisimo, and Exalead. Which will be the “next big thing”.

I suppose we will be able to watch a video or sit through a webinar to learn more. I prefer, however, to see the Overflight page populated with news about big deals, exciting new technology, record revenues, and deep coverage by Wall Street. Lexmark, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and Dassault have their work cut out for them in the last half of 2012.

Stephen E Arnold, July 5, 2012

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Comments

One Response to “Exalead Two Years after the Sale”

  1. Martin White on July 4th, 2012 12:37 pm

    I was interested in your comments about the Exalead client list. I was checking out Exalead’s installed base in the university sector looking for reference sites for a client interested in upgrading its search application. According to Exalead’s list of customers Exalead is used by Manchester University School of Medicine, the Open University (for its web site), the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Sunderland.

    http://www.3ds.com/products/exalead/uri/customers/customer-list

    Last week I checked these web sites out and found that Manchester and Lancashire currently use Google, and Sunderland uses Funnelback. I know from personal contacts that Open University uses Exalead for its intranet and for its web site, and indeed installed it on the intranet first, so why Exalead does not say this on the customer list I have no idea.

    I phoned Exalead last week to find out what was going on but had to leave a message and so far no one has called me back.

    All a little mysterious.

    And here is the answer to your query about the LT Innovative award

    http://ltinnovate.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/lt-innovate-award-2012-12-winners-from.html

    Martin White