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OpenText Buys CEM Platform from HP Inc.

July 27, 2016

When Hewlett Packard split up its business in 2015, consumer-printer firm HP Inc. was created; that entity got custody of HP’s CEM platform. Now we learn, from an article at TechCrunch, that “OpenText Acquires HP Customer Experience Content Management for $170 Million.” OpenText expects the deal to generate between $85 million and $95 million in its first year alone. Writer Ron Miller describes:

“The package of products sold to OpenText today come from the HP Engage line and includes HP TeamSite, a web content management tool left over from the purchase of Interwoven (which was actually bought by Autonomy before Autonomy was sold to HP), HP MediaBin, a digital asset management solution, HP Qfiniti, a workforce optimization solution for enterprise contact center management, as well as HP Explore, HP Aurasma, and HP Optimost.”

Some suspect HP was eager to unload this division from the time of the company’s split. Even if that is true, OpenText seems poised to make a lot from their investment; Miller cites the blog post of content-management consultant Tony Byrne:

“The most important thing to understand, though, is that as a vendor OpenText is a financial construct in search of a technology rationale. The company follows a ‘roll-up’ strategy: purchasing older tools for their maintenance revenue streams, streams which — while not always large — are almost always very profitable.”

It is true. In contrast to, say, Google’s method of trying nearly every idea conceived within their company and seeing what sticks, OpenText  tends to be deliberate and calculated in their decisions. We are curious to see where this investment goes.

Based in Waterloo, Ontario, OpenText offers tools for enterprise information management, business process management, and customer experience management. Launched in 1991, the company now serves over 100,000 customers around the world. They are also hiring in several locations as of this writing.

 

Cynthia Murrell, July 27, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Attivio Targets Profitability by the End of 2016 Through $31M Financing Round

July 18, 2016

The article on VentureBeat titled Attivio Raises $31 Million to Help Companies Make Sense of Big Data discusses the promises of profitability that Attivio has made since its inception in 2007. According to Crunchbase, the search vendor has raised over $100 million from four investors. In March 2016, the company closed a financing round at $31M with the expectation of becoming profitable within 2016. The article explains,

“Our increased investment underscores our belief that Attivio has game-changing capabilities for enterprises that have yet to unlock the full value of Big Data,” said Oak Investment Partners’ managing partner, Edward F. Glassmeyer. Attivio also highlighted such recent business victories as landing lab equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific as a client and partnering with medical informatics shop PerkinElmer. Oak Investment Partners, General Electric Pension Trust, and Tenth Avenue Holdings participated in the investment, which pushed Attivio’s funding to at least $102 million.”

In the VentureBeat Profile about the deal, Stephen Baker, CEO of Attivio makes it clear that 2015 was a turning point for the company, or in his words, “a watershed year.” Attivio prides itself on both speeding up the data preparation process and empowering their customers to “achieve true Data Dexterity.”  And hopefully they will also be profitable, soon.

 

Chelsea Kerwin, July 18, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark
Web meet up on July 26, 2016.
Information is at this link: http://bit.ly/29tVKpx.

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The U.S. Government Pushes Improved Public Access to Code Developed for Government Use

July 15, 2016

The article on Matthias Kirschner’s blog titled US Government Commits to Publish Publicly Financed Software Under Free Software Licenses relates the initiative in the draft policy involving governmental support for increased access to tailored software code built for the Federal Government. Kirschner is the President of the Free Software Foundation Europe, and thereby is interested in promoting the United States’ new policy in the European Union. The article explains,

“The Source Code Policy is intended for efficient use of US taxpayers’ money and reuse of existing custom-made software across the public sector. It is said to reduce vendor lock-in of the public sector, and decrease duplicate costs for the same code which in return will increase transparency of public agencies. The custom-build software will also be published to the general public either as public domain, or as Free Software so others can improve and reuse the software.”

Kirschner believes in empowering people by providing this sort of software, and the US government appears to be equally enthusiastic about promoting innovation rather than redundant software purchases. There are also examples of how non-techy people can use open source resources on the White House article about the draft policy. That article lists tools like free housing counselors, sexual assault data, and even college research through College Scorecard. All in all, this seems like a no-brainer.

 

Chelsea Kerwin, July 15, 2016

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark

Web meet up on July 26, 2016.

Information is at this link: http://bit.ly/29tVKpx.

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Google and Visual Search

July 13, 2016

I know that Google does many things. I learned that the company has a discover mode. Take a picture and the GOOG shows you more like this applies applied to mobile search. You can get more information in “More on Tap: Translate, discover and improved Search by Image.”

Google, at almost the same time, bought a company with technology that improves image search. Navigate to “Google Buys Machine Learning Startup Moodstocks to Help Your Phone’s Camera Identify Objects.” The shadow of good enough search is evident on this sunny day. Google rolls out a new service and has to acquire a company with people and technology presumably to add muscle to image recognition.

I find the timing interesting. Is this an example of a service becoming available when that service requires a demiboite of French technology?

Stephen E Arnold, July 13, 2016

Thomson Reuters: Selling at Peak Value?

July 12, 2016

I read “Thomson Reuters Announces Definitive Agreement to Sell its Intellectual Property & Science Business to Onex and Baring Asia for $3.55 billion.” Thomson Reuters has been working hard to pump up revenue and generate a juicy profit for its stakeholders. Like IBM, it seems that the best way to get a large, established company in gear is to sell assets. According to the write up, Thomson Reuters’ management thinks:

“With the completion of this divestiture, Thomson Reuters will be even more focused on operating at the intersection of global commerce and regulation.”

What’s next for Thomson Reuters? More video? More Palantir repackaging? Higher fees for its professional information services?

Thomson Reuters has tried many things in the last two decades. The result is suggested in this chart:

image

The top line has been drifting down. The profit margin (the all important red line) has been a roller coaster. The net income has been a result of management moves and cost controls.

The question is: Is this collection of patent and IP related properties at peak value?

My hunch is that Thomson Reuters found the deal palatable. What will the new owners do with the properties. Both are investment outfits. The trajectory of these “services” like Compumark will be interesting to follow.

For Thomson Reuters, the hurdle remains growth. Isn’t that a problem with which IBM is struggling? Running specialist businesses with those who are not experts in each niche has been a challenge for many firms. Now the new owners Onex Partners and Baring Private Equity Asia have an opportunity to display their management expertise.

Selling is easier than innovating. Managing a bundle of businesses may be even more difficult.

Stephen E Arnold, July 12, 2016

What Microsoft Knows via LinkedIn

June 26, 2016

I suppose there will be a “wall” between the data LinkedIn has about employees and Microsoft, LinkedIn’s new owner. There is a possibility that there will be no wall or the wall will have those automatic doors which let folks into shopping malls. Oh, right. Shopping malls are struggling.

LinkedIn has information provided by its customers of the free and for fee service. Some of those customers provide a list of articles along with the usual résumé baloney: Who worked where, when, doing what, etc. Nifty link analyses will provide some useful insight into the relationships of LinkedIn “members.” Oh, timelines will darned useful as well.

To see how “real” journalists explain some of the Microsoft LinkedIn goodies, navigate to “Google Scoops, Keeps the Best Talent: LinkedIn Report.” I learned:

The high ranking of Google, Facebook and Apple are predictable, LinkedIn columnist Suzy Welch, who worked on the project for several months…

I did not know about employer “gravity”. I noted:

A firm’s own narrative — such as a founder’s story, or around creation of a revolutionary product or service — also can play a major role in building the gravitational force that attracts and retains workers…

But a Stanford wizard suggests the study is flawed. Maybe?

My view is that Microsoft gains a useful intelligence resource. How will those data and the tools designed for law enforcement and intelligence entities be applied? No information about this appears in the write. No big surprise.

Stephen E Arnold, June 26, 2016

Microsoft LinkedIn: A Social Clippy Ahead?

June 15, 2016

I don’t pay too much attention to Microsoft. Once one of my Windows 7 machines morphed into Windows 10 and killed my video editing system, I learned to love the Apple. I did read the story “Microsoft Buying LinkedIn For $26.2 Billion Cash In Its Biggest Acquisition To Date” in the capitalist tool.

Fresh from its success in mobile phones, Microsoft is embracing professional social networking. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for those who are looking for work, people who want to create a billboard for themselves read by other LinkedIn users, and individuals who are LinkedIn thought leaders.

I assume that the story is indeed accurate. My thought is that lucky users of Microsoft Word will have a way to include LinkedIn information in a document. What could be better than slipping in one’s LinkedIn profile when one creates a memo to one’s boss?

The write up states:

LinkedIn’s shares jumped 48% to $194.55 in pre-market trading on Monday morning in New York, about a buck and a half under the offer price  suggesting investors are confident a rival big won’t emerge. Microsoft’s shares declined by 4.2% to $51.48 in pre-market trading.

If the deal goes through, LinkedIn stakeholders may be the winners. No word about the payoff for the intrepid job seekers who make LinkedIn chug along. I hope I can have a live LinkedIn link each time I include a person’s name or a company in a PowerPoint. Would that be annoying? Never just an improvement upon Clippy.

Recode thinks the deal is the org chart “for the whole world.” Hmmm. Whole world? SillyconValley hyperbole maybe? Rio’s slum entrpreneurs? Innovators in Soweto? Nope. it’s a clippy thing.

Stephen E Arnold, June 15, 2016

eBay Struggles with Cluttered, Unstructured Data, Deploys Artificial Intelligence Strategy

May 24, 2016

The article on Forbes titled eBay’s Next Move: Artificial Intelligence To Refine Product Searches predicts a strong future for eBay as the company moves further into machine learning. For roughly six years eBay has been working with Expertmaker, a Swedish AI and analytics company. Forbes believes that eBay may have recently purchased Expertmaker. The article explains the logic behind this logic,

“One of the key turnaround goals of eBay is to encourage sellers to define their products using structured data, making it easier for the marketplace to show relevant search results to buyers. The acquisition of Expertmaker should help the company in this initiative, given its expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data.”

The acquisition of Expertmaker should allow for a more comprehensive integration of eBay’s “noisy data.” Expertmaker’s AI strategy is based in genetics research, and has made great strides in extracting concealed value from data. For eBay, a company with hundreds of millions of listings clogging up the platform, Expertmaker’s approach might be the ticket to achieving a more streamlined, categorized search. If we take anything away from this, it is that eBay search currently does not work very well. At any rate, they are taking steps to improve their platform.

 
Chelsea Kerwin, May 24, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Enterprise Search: The Valiant Fight On

May 17, 2016

I read “VirtualWorks and Language Tools Announce Merger.” I ran across Language Tools several years ago. The company was working to create components for ElasticSearch’s burgeoning user base. The firm espoused natural language processing as a core technology. NLP is useful, but it imposes some computational burdens on some content processing functions. ElasticSearch works pretty well, and there are a number of companies optimizing, integrating, and creating widgets to make life with ElasticSearch better, faster, and presumably more impressive than the open source system is.

This news release highlights the fact that VirtualWorks and Language Tools have merged. The financial details are not explicit, and it appears that a company founded by a wizard from Citrix will make Language Tools’ R&D hub for the Florida-based VirtualWorks’ operation.

According to the story:

The combined organization brings together best of breed core technologies in the areas of enterprise search, data management, text analytics, discovery techniques and analytics to enable the development of new and exciting next generation applications in the business intelligence space.

VirtualWorks is or was a SharePoint centric solution. Like other search vendors, the company uses connectors to suck data into a central indexing point. Users then search the content and have access to the content without having to query separate systems.

This idea has fueled enterprise search since the days of Verity, Autonomy, Fast Search, Convera, et al. The real money today seems to be in the consulting and engineering services required to make enterprise search useful.

SharePoint is certainly widely used, and it is fraught with interesting challenges. Will the lash up of these two firms generate the type of revenue once associated with Autonomy and Fast Search & Transfer?

My hunch is that enterprise search continues to be a tough market. There are functional solutions to locating information available as open source or at comparatively modest license fees. I am thinking of dtSearch and Maxxcat. Both of these work well within Microsoft centric environments.

Stephen E Arnold, May 17, 2016

Lexmark to Take Chinese Lessons

May 6, 2016

Dateline Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky. A buzz echoed in the hollow where I live. The message brought good news to Chinese language instructors. When Reuters distributed “Consortium Led by China’s Apex to Buy Lexmark for $3.6 Billion,” a demand for Chinese lessons rippled through the weeds growing around the pond filled with mine drainage.

The write up stated:

Printer maker Lexmark International Inc has agreed to be taken private by a group of investors led by China-based Apex Technology Co Ltd and PAG Asia Capital in a deal valued at $3.6 billion net of cash, the company said….Lexmark said the deal will help its efforts to penetrate the Asia Pacific market.

What if Apex makes Lexmark a money machine? Think about IBM. Lenovo snapped up the IBM PC business. Now the former IBM printer outfit will go across the international date line. What’s next for IBM in the sell off space? Perhaps an outfit in China will ignore the chunks which IBM has divested and go after the whole enchilada.

Big news from the Bluegrass state, but it will not overshadow the Kentucky Derby.

Stephen E Arnold, May 6, 2016

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