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Ami Albert Joined Bertin Technologies a Year Ago and Is Alive

August 22, 2016

I learned about the Ami search system called Albert a decade ago. My notes indicated that at that time the company was Swiss but had strong ties to France. Not surprisingly, when Ami’s market momentum dictated a sale, a French company stepped forward and bought Ami and its happy face identity:

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Bertin Technologies has integrated Ami Albert into its market intelligence suite. Search appears to be a utility function. The company says that it is “a publisher and integrator of cutting edge software solutions.” The company offers cyber security, digital intelligence, and speech processing.

According to the deal description on the Bertin Web site:

The ability to offer Market Intelligence and Risk Intelligence sees the creation of a key player in Web Content Mining, whose international outlook is supported by an industrial group with a presence in 15 countries.

Ami, a search vendor, morphed into a market intelligence company. When the deal was announced in mid 2015, AMI had 150 clients. The company operated via two subsidiaries in the UK and Morocco. The unique value of Ami comes from Bertin’s capabilities.

In 2006, Ami counted LexisNexis, Sinequa, Lingway, and itself via the Go Albert unit as “partners.”

The company’s search interface looked like this before Ami pivoted to content scraping and “market intelligence.”

ami interface

Search results looked like this:

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Ami emphasized that it could perform metasearch functions; that is, take a user’s query and send it to different systems with individual search interfaces. Here’s how Ami presented this idea to prospective customers:

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Ami also emulated the analytic report methods found in i2 Analyst’s Notebook and Palantir Technologies, among others.

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No details about the terms of the deal were announced. I did not include Ami Albert in any of the Enterprise Search Report profiles I created. The company seemed to be focused on building traction in Europe, not the US. In retrospect, Ami’s trajectory is similar to many other search vendors’. The company enters the market, moves forward for ten years, and then sells. A new owner is probably a better fate than locking the doors and turning off the lights.

Stephen E Arnold, August 22, 2016

Quote to Note: Hard Work Equals Winning Maybe Sometimes or Not

August 16, 2016

I am not much of a worker. I am fat, lazy, indifferent, and a good citizen of Harrod’s Creek, my home in rural Kentucky. That’s why I don’t understand articles like “Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Explains How She Worked 130 Hours a Week and Why It Matters.”

I noted this point:

Mayer [top Yahooligan and Xoogler] added that hard work is what separates startups that succeed and fail, and that she’s able to tell which ones are more likely to succeed — without even knowing what they do — by simply looking at their work ethics.

I recall reading “Here’s What Happened To All 53 of Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo Acquisitions.” If the information is this write up is correct, the Xoogler asserted success with these acquisitions. I noted:

The reasons for Yahoo’s decline are complex. But what’s clear is that the MaVeNS and acquisitions rescue strategy hasn’t been able to save the company from itself, despite Mayer’s protestations that it was successful.

So what’s the disconnect? Talking and believing are easy, even when one works without sleep. Delivering is a different kettle of fish.

My slothful self thinks that there is a gap between hard work, recognizing winners from start up land, and creating a successful company. If Ms. Mayer’s Yahoo were a success, would not Yahoo be more than a unit of the old America Online, which is owned by a former Baby Bell?

I am too lazy to think about that. I need a nap.

Stephen E Arnold, August 16, 2016

Palantir Technologies Fancies Silk

August 15, 2016

Palantir Technologies has developed a fondness for Silk. Silk is an interactive data visualization company. You can read about the announcement in “CIA-Backed Palantir Just Bought This Entire Startup Team.” If the write up is correct, Silk is an “acquihire” play, not a product play. I learned:

Employees of the graph and chart-making platform will directly join Palantir, leaving the Silk platform behind running on its own. Meanwhile, the Silk team will “work on even bigger and more important data problems”

A British newspaper described Silk as a “Tumblr for data.” Silk’s technology allowed a person viewing an interactive Silk-generated visualization to point and click to explore the data. A Silk user can flip between a map or a traditional bar chart, also with a click.

Several observations:

  • Palantir wants to add to its secret sauce with some visual exploration spice. The wheel menu was hot years ago, but the shelf life of “wow” can be short
  • Palantir has designs on the commercial sector, which makes sense. Even though Palantir has government work, the banks and pharma companies may have a quicker buy cycle to go with their desire for instant analysis
  • Buying a company to get people is one way to deal with the shortage of certain types of technical and management talent.

Palantir competitors like IBM i2 Analyst’s Notebook have been, in my opinion, less agile in moving their systems toward the burgeoning millennial decision makers.

Stephen E Arnold, August 15, 2016

Verizon and Yahoo Integration

July 30, 2016

Short honk: How does a former Baby Bell plan? The answer appears to be, “Not too much.” Navigate to “AOL’s Tim Armstrong Says ‘Scale Is Imperative’ in the Verizon-Yahoo Deal.”

Here’s the quote to note:

… Because this has been an auction process, he noted, rather than a direct sale, there has been no time to make specific integration plans between Verizon and Yahoo. In fact, according to many sources, Verizon has had little insight into a number of issues, including the terms of the contracts with key employees, that it will need to make plans for the future.

Is this an example of “Fire, ready, aim”? Will two Xooglers blend to create a viable competitor to Facebook and Google? What happens if 1 Xoogler + 1 Xoogler = 0?

Stephen E Arnold, July 30, 2016

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:

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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

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