Enterprise Search Lacks NGIA Functions

January 29, 2015

Users Want More Than Hunting through a Rubbish

CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access is, according to Ric Manning, the publisher of Stephen E Arnold’s new study, is now available. You can order a copy at the Gumroad online store or via the link on Xenky.com.

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One of the key chapters in the 176 page study of information retrieval solution that move beyond search takes you under the hood of an NGIA system. Without reproducing the 10 page chapter and its illustrations, I want to highlight two important aspects of NGIA systems.

When a person requires information under time pressure, traditional systems pose a problem. The time required to figure out which repository to query, craft a query or take a stab at what “facet” (category) may contain the information, scanning the outputs the system displays, opening a document that appears to be related to the query, and then figuring out exactly what item of data is the one required makes traditional search a non starter in many work situations. The bottleneck is the human’s ability to keep track of which digital repository contains what. Many organizations have idiosyncratic terminology, and users in one department may not be familiar with the terminology used in another unit of the organization.


Register for the seminar on the Telestrategies’ Web site.

Traditional enterprise search systems trip and skin their knees over the time issue and over the “locate what’s needed issue.” These are problems that have persisted in search box oriented systems since the days of RECON, SDC Orbit, and Dialcom. There is little a manager can do to create more time. Time is a very valuable commodity and it often determines what type of decision is made and how risk laden that decision may be.

There is also little one can do to change how a bright human works with a system that forces a busy individual to perform iterative steps that often amount to guessing the word or phrase to unlock what’s hidden in an index or indexes.

Little wonder that convincing a customer to license a traditional keyword system continue to bedevil vendors.

A second problem is the nature of access. There is news floating around that Facebook has been able to generate more ad growth than Google because Facebook has more mobile users. Whether Facebook or Google dominates social mobile, the key development is “mobile.” Works need information access from devices which have smaller and different form factors from the multi core, 3.5 gigahertz, three screen workstation I am using to write this blog post.

The shift to mobile translates to trouble for systems that require the user to enter queries via a keyboard, scan complete documents or chunks of database tables, and copy pertinent items to a separate file. I suppose an agile 20 something can work the way I do at my desktop computer, but I confess, I cannot use any of my mobile devices in the way I use my high horsepower workstation.

The problem is that traditional enterprise search systems rely on the computing paradigm essentially unchanged since the late 1950s. When it comes to keyword search, a good enough solution allows a person to locate a word processing document. But for serious information analysis, traditional search is the wrong tool for the job.

In the chapter “NGIA: Under the Hood,” I use a simple diagram to illustrate the key features of a representative NGIA system. Here’s the illustration:


The figure makes clear that a cyber OSINT system is multi-dimensional. Most enterprise search systems add lower level functionality to work around the problems of keyword access. In contrast, the NGIA system is a suite of components that deliver outputs personalized to users or tasks. Predictive algorithms interact with workflow and user role information to deliver or push needed information often before the human users realizes specific information are required. NGIA systems make it possible for a user to run a query for a topic, person, or event. But the outputs are often illustrative, not lists of documents that might contain useful information. Illustration copyright Stephen E Arnold, 2015

The diagram makes clear that six functions operate continuously and make available to users and other software, information that is actionable. The idea is that the user can eliminate most of the time consuming work required to get high value information.

In one swoop, and NGIA system makes use of available time and frees up time for resource-constrained humans to perform higher value mental tasks. An enterprise search system dependent on a search box or a list of categories cannot perform these functions. Keep in mind that enterprise search vendors with traditional information retrieval underpinning often attribute more sophisticated functions to their products.

The reality is, based on my and my team’s research, is that enterprise search is a utility embedded in an NGIA system. Many NGIA systems use an open source keyword search system. The NGIA system delivers features and functions that leap frog the limitations of the search box.

For more information about NGIA systems, buy a copy of CyberOSINT from the Gumroad online store for $499. (No Amazon because an IDC professional, Dave Schubmehl, pegged my research at the absurd and possibly insane price of $3,500 for eight pages of diluted information. My legal eagle is on the wing in the event that any of the mid tier consulting firms appropriate my research.)

Stephen E Arnold, January 29, 2015

If you want to attend the Telestrategies CyberOSINT seminar on February 19, 2015, navigate to this link.


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