Sinequa Review: Questions Go Unanswered

July 12, 2018

I read “Sinequa Review” by an outfit called Finances Online. I think the idea is an interesting one. Navigate to a Web page and get a snapshot about a product. In this case, the vendor is Sinequa, and its product is described as “an integrated search platform that can extract information from your interconnected applications and environments.  Aside from letting you draw data rapidly, it affords you actionable and intelligent insights that it gains through its deep content analyses.”

That suggests that Sinequa is more than a search engine. In my book CyberOSINT, I pointed out that next generation information access systems represent the path forward for making sense of digital information. I did not include Sinequa is that book’s profiles of vendors to watch.

Like many vendors of keyword search, Sinequa has been working hard to find a way to describe basic search in terms of higher value functions. The Finances Online write up about Sinequa illustrates the difficulty a company like Sinequa has in describing its various functions; for example, “extract information from your interconnected applications and environments.” I am not sure what that means.

The listing of benefits strikes me as different from what I identified in CyberOSINT. In that monograph, I focused on a system’s ability to identify high value or potentially high interest data automatically, interfaces which move beyond Google style lists of results which create more work for the analyst because relevance and a document’s inclusion of a specific item of data are impossible without directly reading a document, and analytic functions designed to present data in the context of the user.

Contrast CyberOSINT’s key features with Sinequa’s:

  • In depth analytics
  • Connectors
  • Mobile strategy

We have congruence with analytics; however, misses on the other features.

The features of Sinequa are a listing of buzzwords. In CyberOSINT, the idea is that next generation information access systems emphasize outputs, not the mechanisms “under the hood.”

The cost of an enterprise search or NGIA system is a difficult issue. The big expenses for enterprise search or NGIA systems are planning, administration, training, set up, optimization, customization, content preparation, and remediation (most of these systems don’t work “out of the box.”)

Here’s how pricing of Sinequa is explained:

Sinequa is a platform that transforms your organization into an information driven one. If you are interested in powering your company or institution with the solution, you can request custom enterprise pricing from the sales team by phone, email, web form, or chat.

I think that inclusion of downsides about a product is important. Perhaps Finances Online will include:

    • Pricing information from verified customers; for example, last year, the total cost of ownership was …
    • Details about issues with the Sinequa system which may date from 2002
    • A more informed listing of competitors
    • Less jargon and fewer undefined buzzwords; for example, “deep content analytics” and “semantics”.

The trajectory of old school search vendors has been similar to the approach taken to extend the life and usefulness of DEC 10s and 20s. Wrappers of software can keep somethings youthful—at least at first glance. Don’t get me wrong. Quick looks can be useful.

Stephen E Arnold, July 12, 2018

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