Microsoft Deepens Yammer Assimilation

June 12, 2014

With its purchase of Yammer two years ago, Microsoft made a public statement that they were increasing social integration within its SharePoint platform. Now, two years into the process, integration has deepened through SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Read all about it in the CRN article, “Microsoft Deepens Yammer Integration With SharePoint Online, OneDrive For Business.”

The article begins:

“Microsoft, which bundled Yammer with Office 365 last November, has taken another big step toward integrating the social networking technology with SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Microsoft Tuesday unveiled a new feature called Document Conversations, which adds Yammer conversations to more than 30 different file types, including Office documents, images and videos.”

Stephen E. Arnold has covered SharePoint for many years on his information service, ArnoldIT.com. He found that many users wanted better social integration before the release of SharePoint 2013, so with the announcement of Yammer’s purchase, users were looking forward to seeing the social aspect of SharePoint move forward. Arnold provides good coverage on his SharePoint feed and SharePoint users and managers can look there for the latest news, tips, and tricks.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 12, 2014

Watson on the Move: Cognea

May 20, 2014

I wanted to associate Cognos with Cognea. Two different things. IBM’s Watson unit, according to “IBM Watson Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup Cognea,” is beefing up its artificial intelligence capabilities. Facebook, Google, and other outfits are embracing the dreams of artificial intelligence like it is 1981 when Marvin Weinberger was giving talks about AI’s revolutionizing information processing. I have lost track of Marvin, although I recall his impassioned polemics, 30 years after hearing him lecture. Unfortunately I remain skeptical about “artificial intelligence” because Watson, as I understood the pitch after Jeopardy, was already super smart. I suppose Cognea can add some marketing credibility to Watson. That system is curing disease and performing wonders for the insurance industry, if I embrace the IBM public relations’ flow.

In my lectures about the Big O problem, I point out that many of today’s smartest systems (for example, Search2, to name one) implements clever methods to make well known numerical recipes run like a teenager who just gulped three cans of Jolt Cola followed by a Red Bull energy drink.

The reality is that there are more sophisticated mathematical tools available. The problem is that the systems available cannot exploit these algorithmic methods. I am pretty confident that Cognea tells a great story. I am even more confident that IBM will do the “Vivisimo” thing with whatever technology Cognea actually has. Without a concrete demo, benchmarks, and independent evaluations, I will remain skeptical about “a cognitive computing and conversational artificial intelligence platform.”

I am far more interested in the Cybertap technology that IBM acquired and seems to  be keeping under wraps. Cybertap works. Artificial intelligence, well, it depends on how one defines “artificial” and “intelligence” doesn’t it?

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2014

Yahoo Acquisitions: A Hunch about Why

May 8, 2014

I read “Yahoo Spent More Than Anyone on Acquisitions in 2013, but Why?” At dinner tonight several colleagues and I discussed Yahoo’s buying spree. The article surmises:

There has to be rhyme and reason for Yahoo to have picked up these companies, even if it was just to keep talent from the likes of Google or Facebook. In the continued push for Yahoo to be more mobile and contextual, we should look forward to a Yahoo stacked with both talent and money in 2014.

That’s a positive view. The thoughts of the ArnoldIT conversation drifted a different direction; for example:

  • Yahoo is taking advantage of the “bet on a bunch of horses.” The notion is that one or more will be winners
  • Yahoo is just doing stuff to demonstrate that it has direction, intent, and purpose. In short, the deals are Wall Street theatre, just way off Broadway
  • The Silicon bubble is a habitat that encourages gorging.

Financial results may shine a light on the actions.

Stephen E Arnold, May 8, 2014

Tibco, Business Intelligence, and Open Source—Not Search

April 29, 2014

I read “Consolidation Looms in Business Intelligence, as Tibco Buys Jaspersoft for $185M.” The write up is interesting, but not exactly congruent with my views. May I explain?

The article points out:

Enterprise software vendor TIBCO has acquired Jaspersoft, an open source business intelligence company, for approximately $185 million. It’s not an earth-shaking deal, but it could be a sign of things to come in an analytics software market full of companies and products that have a hard time standing out from the crowd.

MBAs will drooling at the thought of business intelligence deal making if the article’s premise is correct.

But there are several other angles in this Tibco Jaspersoft tie up.

image

First, check out the list of open source “leaders.” Jaspersoft appears in the list, but with its number six on the “Top of Mind Emerging Companies in Data Discovery Chart,” the response to this deal might be “Who?” The other factoid I gleaned from the Gigaom Research chart was who the heck are SiSense, Logi Analytics, and Roambi. I can only wonder at what firms account for the “other” category. Tibco bought an open source analytics company that is one of those “we’re open source but commercial too” outfits. The purchase price, compared to the deal for Autonomy, is a rounding error in the Autonomy transaction. I find this interesting because Autonomy IDOL does business intelligence, visualization, and a number of other enterprise software functions as well. My take. Why is an open source business intelligence deal going for what seems to be a bargain price?

Second, Tibco did not buy a search company. Jaspersoft is a business intelligence outfit. But what does “business intelligence” mean? A review of Jaspersoft’s products and services points to analytics; that is to say, math. The cloud angle is interesting, but I am not sure how Tibco will convert open source into a hefty chunk of the astronomical $50 billion market the Gigaom research is available for the taking. Is analytics business intelligence? At least, I can sort of define “analytics.” I am not so confident about “business intelligence.”

Third, the implications for search and retrieval are not particularly positive. Search vendors with odd ball product line ups are saying, “We are a business intelligence company.” Maybe so. Without a definition of “business intelligence”, search vendors can say almost anything and be “accurate.” For me, search is clearly a marginalized sector. IBM bought Vivisimo and, as one of my editors, discovered promptly discarded Vivisimo’s roots in clustering and metasearch for the foggy description of “information management.” I wonder if some search vendors are in the undefined Gigaom “other” category.

In my view, search and possibly some “business intelligence” vendors may be dismayed by Tibco’s deal. Can investors recoup their funding for their business intelligence bets? There is a big difference between the estimated $20 million IBM paid for the struggling Vivisimo and the $185 million Tibco paid for Jaspersoft when compared to the $1 billion Oracle paid for the aging Endeca technology. I don’t see consolidation. I see “everything must go” opportunities.

Stephen E Arnold, April 29, 2014

Ray Kurzweil Says Robots

March 17, 2014

We have reported on Ray Kurzweil’s uncanny psychic powers before (really, he is just has the notorious ability to predict future technology trends) and according to The Guardian article “Are The Robots About To Rise? Google’s New Director Of Engineering Thinks So” he thinks that robots are going to out think humans by 2029. It is not a farfetched idea, considering that technology is getting more advanced every year. Google hired Kurzweil to be its new engineering director, the first job he’s ever held. Google has also been snapping up artificial intelligence companies and researchers to build a new robotics division:

“And those are just the big deals. It also bought Bot & Dolly, Meka Robotics, Holomni, Redwood Robotics and Schaft, and another AI startup, DNNresearch. It hired Geoff Hinton, a British computer scientist who’s probably the world’s leading expert on neural networks. And it has embarked upon what one DeepMind investor told the technology publication Re/code two weeks ago was “a Manhattan project of AI”. If artificial intelligence was really possible, and if anybody could do it, he said, “this will be the team”. The future, in ways we can’t even begin to imagine, will be Google’s.”

This is starting to sound like every science-fiction story set in the near future. Kurzweil does not want robotic technology to overtake our lives, instead he wants it to augment our reality. He has his critics who point out not all of his predictions have been true. He does have the human fallacy. If we go back to the science-fiction genre, this is going to be the time romanticized by future authors.

Whitney Grace, March 17, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Innovation: Bring Cash

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

Thomson Reuters Acquires Entagen, Builds Cortellis Data Fusion Technology

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

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Startup Aviate Acquired by Yahoo for Homescreen Improvements

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

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Mondeca Acquisition by Stephane Senkowski and Christophe Prigent

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

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

RTT Renowned 3D Innovator Acquired by Dassault Systemes

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

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Next Page »