Dow Jones and MarkLogic Search

December 5, 2012

I remember learning from one of MarkLogic’s marketing professionals that MarkLogic was one of the following an enterprise search system, a big data system, and an analytics system. The person who briefed me before I cut my ties to the company asserted that MarkLogic XML Server was still part of the plumbing, but the company was moving into important new market segments. XML, I concluded, was not as hot a marketing hook as other buzzwords.

I just learned via a spam PR message that Dow Jones is going to deliver a “new generation of user experience” using MarkLogic technology. The XML server part of MarkLogic seems to be unimportant. MarkLogic, therefore, is now an experience delivering machine.

That’s okay with me. With vendors like Vivisimo morphing into “Big Data” players or search vendors like Coveo becoming customer relationship management specialists, I take a broad view.

However, the slicing-and-dicing capability of an XML data management system can boost some types of information processing services. On the other hand, the XQuery language and the verbose nature of XML adds some spice to the mix.

Companies who embrace the XML slice-and-dice thing often generate so many variants of the information that confusion results. Examples range from “auto generated textbooks” to the wild and crazy product line up from Thomson Reuters.

Dow Jones, a traditional publishing company, has reorganized. In its new fit and finish, Dow Jones wants to generate substantive revenue from its various digital products and services. Will MarkLogic trigger a flood of new revenue? This story is one I want to watch. Dow Jones has been in the online business for a long time. Last time I checked Consumer Reports’ online service was outperforming Mr. Murdoch’s property.

With new content players gaining traction, MarkLogic may be Dow Jones last heroic effort to shift from the BRS search approach that has dogged the company for many years. MarkLogic, on the other hand, has to find a way to meet its investors’ expectations for revenue growth. The target, last I heard, was north of $150 million which may be $200 million or more by now. Licensing XML tools to traditional publishing companies may not do the trick. Just my humble opinion offered from rural Kentucky where I am lucky if my hard copy of the Wall Street Journal arrives each day. The longest journey begins with a single step. Perhaps the path circles endlessly through traditional publishing?

Stephen E Arnold, December 4, 2012

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