Sinequa and Microsoft SharePoint: The Emperor Has No Search!

September 9, 2015

The French are endlessly entertaining. A number of information access outfits have emerged from the super sophisticated French academic machine. Most of these outfits are mostly unknown outside of France. I am not sure about the reason. For example, have you been keeping pace with the push of Antidot, Dassault Exalead, and Polyspot into the US market? Are you tracking the Spotter acquisition? What about the open source search solutions available?

I was in the wilds of Canada. A reader sent me a link to a LinkedIn thread about Gartner’s absolutely fantastic analyses of enterprise search. (Nope, don’t fret. I won’t rehash my earlier comments about this brilliant piece of work. I will not remind you that the report omitted a few outfits.)

On with the mission.

The post was/is “Don’t Forget These Solutions That Did NOT Qualify for 2015 Gartner MQ on Enterprise Search” and written by a professional at the consulting firm Search Technologies. (Search Technologies has some of its roots in the Excalibur/ConQuest/Convera era I believe). The “MQ” is the author’s way of referencing the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Yes, indeed, it is magic.

The author pointed out that Gartner ignored based on its extensive quantitative and poetical analyses Endeca (an Oracle outfit), Microsoft SharePoint (owner of the outstanding Fast Search & Transfer Technology from the late 1990s), Elasticsearch (which is now Elastic and inking deals in second string outfits like Goldman Sachs), and MarkLogic (which I think may be a data management system).

The meat of the thread was this comment by one of France’s most prescient experts on information access, who is also hooked up with Sinequa and presumably reflects the collective insight of that firm, which was founded in 2002.

Sinequa wrote:

Sorry, Graham but SharePoint is not an enterprise search platform. [Editor: We fixed the punctuation and spelling of SharePoint, gentle reader.]

Okay, there you have it. Two outfits disagree about search in SharePoint. Both are in the search game. Both are clearly wizards and mavens in the search thing.

I would humbly submit that Microsoft indeed does offer search in SharePoint. The methods can be mind breakers. See, for example, this write up about crawled properties in SharePoint 2013.

Better yet, check out the “Search in SharePoint 2013” from the horse’s mouth or as Donald Trump prefers, the horse’s whatever.

I want to reflect on what the statement “Sorry, Graham but SharePoint is not an enterprise search platform.”

My thoughts are:

  1. Sinequa is an enterprise search platform. If SharePoint is not an enterprise search platform, therefore, you, gentle reader, must license the French system Sinequa to deliver you to information access heaven. If you sign the deal in Paris, you may be delivered to an okay French restaurant.
  2. SharePoint is a box of Legos. Once a licensee builds something like a content management system for employees, there is absolutely no way whatsoever to look up if the person in the next cube or on contract and working from Starbuck’s is in the system. Wrong. Dear, dear Microsoft provides. Goodness, even Windows 10 offers a way to find a person if an expert has cracked the SharePoint and Windows 10 permissions and access codes.
  3. Sinequa is just reminding a consultant that real information access vendors do not make silly mistakes. I find that when I mispronounce a French word or phrase, native French speakers are ever so helpful. My fave is faire le pont, which means take more days off.

Why do I trouble myself to write this?

First, the silliness of arguing with the Gartner’s mathematical analyses of enterprise search vendors warrants not one whit of criticism. Perfection has been attained. This is not a European Philae lander bounce around thing.

Second, Sinequa feels strongly that Graham definitely needs to be set straight. Who better than a vendor of information access systems which was sidestepped by Microsoft when it was tire kicking before the 2008 Fast Search acquisition? Is there a sour French whine?

Third, LinkedIn loves these threads which attract a robust two comments. There are so many LinkedIn members involved in enterprise search. I mean two comments. Be still my heart.

What’s that say about Gartner? What’s that say about enterprise search? What’s that say about LinkedIn?

Answer: Three Michelin stars for paupiettes de porc.

Stephen E Arnold, September 9, 2015


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