February 21, 2014
Last week, two of the senior ArnoldIT professionals delivered a one hour lecture to a select group of executives. The topic was related to our work in locating high-value information using open source content sources.
Shortly after our presentation I read “Google Was Willing to Beat Facebook’s $19B Offer for WhatsApp.” Quite a windfall for WhatsApp.
The thought that struck me was the way the deal illuminated a comment made by an investment banker attending out lecture last week. The former consultant told me:
We focus on innovation. We are looking in high tech sectors.
The statement is a bit of misdirection. The investment firm wants to find companies, inject cash, and then do a deal like the WhatsApp anomaly. The user of the word “innovation” is an audible pause. Like the person who uses “so” or “um” in conversation, the individual talking about innovation is not interested in innovation.
From my perspective, brokering a big deal is not innovation. The company WhatsApp may be described as an innovator. The question is, “Did Facebook buy innovation?”
If WhatsApp was an innovation, why did Google step away from the deal?
The current economic environment is looking for blockbusters, home runs, and slam dunk content winners.
Innovation is related to cash. Without funding, most start ups struggle. Without cash, start ups are the raw material for the near-monopolies that the US tech landscape is husbanding.
In my series of search vendor profiles, a surprising trend is evident. In the search and content processing sector, innovation has stalled. Instead of breakthroughs, there are optimizing and bundling plays. Instead of light bulbs, I see recycled plastic.
Paying $19 billion is an indication that a blend of desperation and arrogance is filling the coffee shops in some locales.
Stephen E Arnold, February 21, 2014
February 19, 2014
The press release on ThomsonReuters.com titled Thomson Reuters Cortellis Data Fusion Addresses Big Data Challenges by Speeding Access to Critical Pharmaceutical Content announces the embrace of big data by revenue hungry Thomson Reuters. The new addition the suite of drug development technologies will offer users a more intuitive interface through which they will be able to analyze large volumes of data. Chris Bouton, General Manager at Thomson Reuters Life Sciences is quoted in the article,
“Cortellis Data Fusion gives us the ability to tie together information about entities like diseases and genes and the connections between them. We can do this from Cortellis data, from third party data, from a client’s internal data or from all of these at the same time. Our analytics enable the client to then explore these connections and identify unexpected associations, leading to new discoveries… driving novel insights for our clients is at the very core of our mission…”
The changes at Thomson Reuters are the result of the company’s acquisition of Entagen, according to the article. That company is a leader in the field of semantic search and has been working with biotech and pharmaceutical companies offering both development services and navigation software. Cortellis Data Fusion promises greater insights and better control over the data Thomson Reuters holds, while maintaining enterprise information security to keep the data safe.
Chelsea Kerwin, February 19, 2014
January 27, 2014
The article titled Yahoo Announced That It Has Acquired “Intelligent Homescreen” Startup Aviate on TechCrunch delves into Marissa Mayer’s opening words at the Consumer Electronics Show, where the Yahoo CEO was a keynote speaker. Mayer promises that Yahoo’s intention is to make homescreens “smarter and more personalized.” Her comments are outline in a Yahoo blog post where Aviate’s work in auto-categorizing apps to bring the relevant ones to the surface. “By using signals to understand your context – WIFI, GPS, Accelerometer, Time, etc – Aviate automatically surfaces information at the moment it’s useful.” The article mentioned that the Aviate team will most likely join Yahoo.
The article also states:
“Note that Aviate is an Android product, and the blog post says Yahoo plans to make it “a central part of our Android-based experiences in 2014 (and beyond)” — not, it seems, on iOS. When it was independent, Aviate did tell us that it had iOS plans, but I’m guessing its capabilities would be significantly limited.”
The service could be the new clippy or the adaptive menu system that Microsoft uses. By that I mean it could be sometimes helpful, possibly annoying. The article did mention that Yahoo intends to make Aviate a “central” aspect of their plans for their work with Android in the future.
Chelsea Kerwin, January 27, 2014
January 24, 2014
A article titled Mondeca is Taken by Private Investors, Operation Advised by Largilliere Finance, an Independent Firm of Corporate Board on the french-language Fusacq describes the semantic technology developer Mondeca’s acquisition by Stéphane Senkowski and Christophe Prigent through the administration of Largilliere Finance as of December 2013. Mendeca was established in 1999 and in recent years spent some time under the direction of investor capital.
The article explains:
“Mondeca is taken by two experienced in editing software professionals and IT service delivery. The company has a strong technology core and a client installed with reference customers in France Park… The new shareholders are the operational management of the company with the ambition to accelerate its development. They will rely on a team of research and development very involved and leading partners to carry out their expansion in France and abroad.”
Mondeca will be managed by Stéphane Senkowski and Christophe Prigent, who both stated their excitement at the prospect of taking over the company. Mondeca is comprised of a small team of 15 staffers who have, after more than a decade of effort, hit a revenue of 1.3 million euros. Their clients include AP-HP, BNF, National Geographic and LexisNexis France.
Chelsea Kerwin, January 24, 2014
December 27, 2013
The article on 4–traders titled Dassault Systemes Announces Voluntary Public Takeover Offer to Acquire up to 100% of the Share Capital in Realtime Technology AG that seems to put Dassault’s recent search momentum on hold for more 3D. The company that they are buying, RTT, proclaims itself as a 3D leader for “exploring innovative ways for an emotive digital product experience across the entire product lifestyle.” This includes showroom concepts, storyboard development and visualization tools. The details of the acquisition are outlined in the article,
“The voluntary public offer is subject to the fulfillment of the condition precedent that the closing of the aforementioned private acquisition agreements occurs. All terms and conditions as set out in the offer document apply… RTT shareholders can only accept the voluntary public offer vis-à-vis their respective custodian bank as set forth in further detail in the offer document.”
The acceptance period for the offer began December 11, 2013 and will end January 29, 2014. It is even possible to read the entire offer document (in German) online. Dassault Systemes is considered the premier 3DEXPERIENCE Company in design software, and solution management. With 170,000 customers internationally ranging in size and industry, we expected Dassault to continue with their development of search, but this acquisition seems like a retreat into their comfort zone.
Chelsea Kerwin, December 27, 2013
December 13, 2013
There is more NLP excitement at Yahoo, we learn from TechCrunch‘s piece, “Yahoo Acquires Natural Language Processing Company SkyPhrase to Help Drive Intent Identification.” Writer Darrell Etherington reports that SkyPhrase will be integrated into Yahoo’s office in New York.
The article observes:
“Back in October, we covered SkyPhrase, and noted specifically that its NLP tech could be used to advance fantasy sports, which is of course an area where Yahoo excels and has a considerable investment already. The company has created an app that makes it easy for fantasy football players to search through stats and find only those relevant to making picks and monitoring their team, which would be very handy integrated directly into Yahoo’s fantasy sports products.
“[…] In October, the entrepreneur and cognitive scientist said that what he really hoped to accomplish with the company was to make NLP tech useful to as much of the world as possible via tailoring it to specific verticals in a way that’s easy for everyday users to access, and to make it easier for third-party partners to build NLP-powered interfaces for their own products, data and services.”
Sounds great! Unfortunately, laments Etherington, Yahoo is more likely to task its new acquisition with improving Yahoo’s products than with spreading the wealth of their third-party-friendly NLP. He notes that Yahoo has been focusing on mobile functionality, and that SkyPhrase’s tech can help with that.
Launched in 2011, SkyPhrase has built its algorithms around research performed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by Cassimatis and some of his grad students. The startup received funding from investment firm Breakout Labs, which invests in breakthrough advances. Let us hope that Yahoo’s rulership does not dim SkyPhrase’s unique potential.
Cynthia Murrell, December 13, 2013
December 10, 2013
Oracle is in the business of acquisitions and upgrades lately. They are ramping up the headlines before 2014 and Rittman Mead Consulting reports that “Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.1 And Self-Service Data Mashup Capability.” The new Oracle Endeca Information Discovery (OEID) 3.1 moves Oracle toward providing its clients with better self-service discovery capabilities.
The article states:
“OEID 3.1 now enables its non-technical users to securely run agile business intelligence analysis on variety of data sources in much easier way and without need to IT. On the other hand the integration with Oracle Business Intelligence is now even more tight to the extend that Oracle announced OEID 3.1 as ‘the only complete data discovery platform for the enterprise.’ The product data sheet is accessible here and in the same way as older versions of OEID, this software is downloadable via Oracle e-Delivery website which is the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud where you can find downloads for all licensed Oracle products.”
The new version allows users to join data sources together, such as files, databases, and pre-built Endeca servers. Files no longer have to be solely in Excel format and the added geocode features allow users to map data. Users will not have to rely on IT to deliver enrichment for unstructured data, because there is a new option to find hidden entities, sentiment, and more. Managing data is easer with the application settings.
Oracle OEID 3.1 empowers the average user to become a data expert. The user-friendly UI and upgraded features are the software’s biggest selling features.
Whitney Grace, December 10, 2013
December 9, 2013
Oracle has made a new acquisition, according to CMSWire in the article, “Oracle Adds InQuira Knowledge Management Technology To CRM Offerings.” Oracle purchased InQuira in hopes to strengthen its stance in the customer relationship management market. By acquiring InQuira, Oracle gains CRM technology for analytics and knowledge management. Oracle wants a piece of the $4 billion revenue CRM pie predicted for 2014. Microsoft, SalesForce.com, and SAP are the company’s biggest rivals. One of the ways Oracle’s rivals stay on the top is by continuing to add new features to their products, such as social media integration. Oracle hopes InQuira’s technology will give it the same, if not better, competitive edge.
“Oracle is a huge software company and its Fusion suite is massive. Many may wonder why Oracle elected to acquire InQuira’s knowledge management technology instead of building its own. Knowledge management is a specialized area and InQuira is one of the market leaders. Acquiring InQuira means Oracle acquires the InQuira’s market leadership — if Oracle can do a good job integrating the technology into its existing product offerings.”
Oracle saves time and cuts development costs by purchasing a company already acknowledged as a leader in the CRM market. InQuira’s reputation and client base is now transferred to Oracle. Was it a good strategic move? Most definitely.
Whitney Grace, December 09, 2013
December 4, 2013
An article on ZDNet titled Splunk Shares Rise After Hours Thanks to Q3 Revenue Surge, Strong Outlook explains the progress of the San Francisco based software corporation Splunk. After upsetting estimates of losses on shares with the news of a record third quarter, Splunk announced the addition of 450 new customers, making the total 6400 customers internationally.
The article quotes Godfrey Sullivan, CEO of Splunk:
“ “More customers are adopting Splunk software as their enterprise standard. We expanded our product portfolio this quarter with the release of Splunk Enterprise6, Splunk Cloud and Hunk: Splunk Analytics for Hadoop, providing more power, functionality and flexibility for our customers.” For the fourth quarter, analysts were expecting Splunk to deliver non-GAAP earnings of six cents a share on revenue of $86.12 million. Splunk responded with revenue guidance of $88 million and $90 million.”
The upgrades Sullivan mentioned only skim the surface of the increased potential of the latest software. Splunk claims that the Enterprise 6 is 1,000 times faster than old versions. Quarter 3 also included the acquisition of BugSense Inc. and an expanded partnership with Amazon Web Services. Internal changes were also made, with Stephen Sorkin made chief strategy officer and Todd Papaioannou as chief tech officer for C-level appointments.
Chelsea Kerwin, December 04, 2013
October 11, 2013
Now that data outfit Kapow Software is part of Kofax, it is emphasizing its enterprise search chops. The page that introduces its enterprise search solution is titled, “Enhancing Content to Ensure Search Relevancy and Accuracy.” The product description leads with the usual big data introduction, emphasizing that businesses must adapt to the shift from structured to a combination of structured and unstructured data. The blurb states:
“The problem lies in the fact that standard search engines may index content faithfully, but they are unable to gauge the content’s significance to the user without rich metadata. They also do not offer an easy way to enrich the content with metadata applied based on rules that are meaningful to your business and that will ensure the best search results.
“We help you solve that challenge by opening up access to any web based content source, providing a platform that makes it easy to enrich the content with metadata attributes that are meaningful to your intended audience. Using Kapow Synthetic API technology, you can enrich legacy and unstructured content without relying on manual processes, custom scripting or connectors.”
I am reminded of a thoughtful presentation Kapow’s CEO, John Yapaola, gave last spring about the unknowns within the big data; it is evidence that Kofax made a smart choice in bringing the Kapow team aboard. Launched in 2005 and based in Denmark, Kapow Software brings with it a healthy roster of customers from around the globe.
Customer engagement company Kofax makes it a point to begin at the beginning, emphasizing a focus on customer interactions from the start of the relationship (what they call the “First Mile”). Since the company began in 1991, it has gathered more than 20,000 customers around the world in a variety of markets. Though headquartered in Irvine, California, Kofax maintains subsidiaries in 30 countries.
Cynthia Murrell, October 11, 2013