iPhrase Profile Now Available

January 7, 2014

The Xenky.com Vendor Profiles page hosts free reports about important search and content processing vendors. A profile of iPhrase, acquired by IBM in 2006, is now available. iPhrase is important for a number of reasons. You can access the free iPhrase profile at http://bit.ly/1a1H9Y1.

iPhrase embraced ROI or  return on investment as a key value proposition for the complex system. The company departed from Autonomy’s “reduce duplicate work” and tried to create “hard numbers” for licensees’ “value” from the iPhrase system. IBM bought the company, so the ROI for the entrepreneurs was probably okay. The ROI for licensees might be more difficult to determine.

The company was, like Fulcrum Technologies and Autonomy, in the repository business. The indexes pointed to content in the repositories, used the data to enhance search results, and provided “discovery services.” For fans of XML and computationally interesting approaches to search, iPhrase is a system of note. The period from 1996 to 1999 spawned a number of enterprise search vendors. The similarity of most is fascinating. The research computing efforts paid off as entrepreneurs migrated lab demos into the commercial market.

Third, the company lives on today. Just as OpenText uses aging search technology, so does iPhrase’s owner. If you have OmniFind Discovery in your organization, you have some of the 1999 technology goodness available to you. The Xenky profiles make clear that most of the search methods have been recycled multiple times. What’s different is the marketers’ lack of familiarity with pioneering efforts from days of yore.

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, one eager person wanted information about how to establish the “ROI” of search. Anyone looking for how some quite intelligent folks approached “value” for complex information retrieval infrastructure, the iPhrase profile may be useful.

Is it surprising that today’s vendors insist that their firms’ software is revolutionary? The Xenky profiles make one thing clear—there’s not much new happening in search. In fact, marketers are reinventing the wheel. The LinkedIn discussions speak to the assertion, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

The Xenky profiles put the challenge of enterprise search and content processing in a historical context.

Next up is a free Autonomy report covering the period from 1996 with a look back to Cambridge Neurodynamics up to December 2007. Is a profile of a company now owned by Hewlett Packard of value?

You may be surprised because Autonomy is one search vendor marching to a different drummer.

Stephen E Arnold, January 7, 2014


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