Silobreaker Highlighted in SC Magazine

August 13, 2014

I have been a fan of Silobreaker’s online system and services for almost a decade. Unlike free online services, Silobreaker provides access to third party content as well as online information. An organization can work with Silobreaker in a variety of ways. The firm provides specialized services to process content for organizations as well as offering licensing deals to meet the needs of business information professionals and government entities.

The SC Magazine article “Soft Intelligence Is Important Too: Silobreaker.” I noted several passages in the story by Peter Stephenson as important to me in my work. The first snippet that I created observes:

With intelligence, especially cyber intelligence, the name of the game is situational awareness. That comes from reading lots of news items, blogs, social media, etc. In fact, Silobreaker does that well – to the tune of around 50,000 sources, more than 300 specific major malwares, thousands of vulnerabilities (from the CVE), and tracking 200-plus hacker groups. Then it applies proprietary algorithms to figure out what it has and to make that content available for a variety of queries, some automated and some manual. Specific target groups – such as various industry sectors – can be followed in conjunction with this raw data, which allows the setting of watch lists.

I am not too keen on the phrase “soft intelligence.” When data contribute to action, the service that provided information delivers something I would not characterize as soft. However, the comment is a good one. I would note that when Silobreaker includes a consultant’s report, what I call mid tier content marketing or saucisson by experts from outfits that emulate IDC-like “reports”, the Silobreaker display provides a context of other information.

I also noted:

Silobreaker can be employed as a SaaS service (Silobreaker Premium) or as a server in one’s enterprise – behind a firewall – as Silobreaker Enterprise Software. In either deployment, the key to the company’s success is in its suite of proprietary algorithms and its deep Internet search capability. We have tested the SaaS version with excellent results and have been able to correlate Silobreaker open source intelligence (OSINT) with bits and bytes from such sources as IP Viking and the SANS Internet Storm Center. That, added to monitored data at our Advanced Computing Center has provided an excellent picture of cyber activity and cyber activity trends. There are multiple ways to collect and analyze Silobreaker data. For example, you can easily create your own dashboard and include only those things that are important to you. You might watch trends within your own industry, trending malware, trending attacks, etc. You can relate those back to your particular business environment. So, we can watch trending attacks, hacker ops and malware that relates particularly to the banking industry, for example.

This is a helpful description of Silobreaker. I would point out that Silobreaker incorporates a number of features that other systems available to organizations struggle to implement in a context sensitive way; for example, a map that pinpoints an entity in a specific geographic area.

I too find Silobreaker’s trending functions quite useful. SC Magazine says:

Trending is the key analysis tool. Things happen. They don’t usually happen in isolation, but sometimes they do. What is important, though, are the trends that we can use predicatively to help erect proactive defenses. Silobreaker generates trend information using heat and time series. These show, graphically, the trends over whatever time period you want. Heat shows within one day or one week at time series set by you. The system uses a 360-degree analysis approach that looks at the interactions between trending items, rather than looking at them in isolation.

Again I would point out that the “last known location function” and the “at a glance” reports that can be used in a meeting are also outstanding. Silobreaker includes a robust searching system too. Very important. Recommended.

For more information, visit www.silobreaker.com.

Stephen E Arnold, August 13, 2014

Actuate: Some Metrics

August 9, 2014

The blurring of search, business intelligence, and number crouching makes it difficult to figure out exactly what a company licenses. In the case of Actuate, there are some crystal clear products and services, and there are some which weave across boundaries.

For some, Actuate means an open source business data-reporting project launched by the Eclipse Foundation in 2004. You can download Eclipse BIRT here.

Actuate released BIRT 4.4, a commercial product, in July 2014. The company issued a news release titled “Actuate Announces BIRT Analytics 4.4 for Even Easier and Faster Big Data Advanced Analytics for Business Professionals.” Actuate employs the jargon that electrifies those who ride the data analytics bandwagon; for example:

BIRT Analytics 4.4 is a sophisticated, end-to-end software solution that allows users to extract maximum value from Big Data, in the form of visual statistical insights that enable sharper commercial decision-making, and greater customer responsiveness, providing organizations a powerful competitive edge. The built-in, columnar database engine loads at an unrivalled speed of up to 60 GB/hour. With BIRT Analytics 4.4, users are able to explore up to 6 billion records in less than a second, and perform advanced analytics on a million records in under a minute. Business analysts and business users can get to the exact insight they need in seconds rather than days or weeks – freeing IT and data scientists to work on projects that require their expertise. A new user interface (UI) and instructions further increase productivity for business users and administrators.

The news release should pump some life into Actuate’s revenues which were $135 million for the year ending 12-31-2013. In May 2014, the company reported a quarterly decrease in net income and a decrease in net operating cash flow. Emerging Growth’s report “Actuate Corporation Offers Underwhelming Performance” stated:

The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 6 percent. Compared to the same quarter last year, Actuate revenues fell by 31 percent.

Is Actuate struggling with some of the same market forces that bedevil search and content processing vendors? Announcements and feature upgrades have to translate into sustainable revenue; otherwise, stakeholders will become increasingly grumpy.

Stephen E Arnold, August 9, 2014

Recent Innovations At KB Crawl

May 30, 2014

It is not an uncommon thought in the technology sector that search tools could become more important that business intelligence. Veille Mag reports that KB Crawl President Bruno Etinne does not agree with this idea. In the article, “KB Crawl Or How To Structure Unstructured Data” states that most Web sites are designed these days to make finding information easier than typing keywords into a search engine. Information is categorized so finely; it leads to more business intelligence solutions than to search.

Such thinking might have led KB Crawl’s “new look,” described as way for data to meet the needs of many departments:

“KB Crawl “new look” for example prepare data for Excel that contains a mapping tool as PowerView will connect to publishing systems or online booking. The last application is that of a client who has financed a portion of the development. The software meets the needs of marketing, documentation, ereputation, strategy and decision support that are fundamental to economic intelligence. It allows you to make the right decisions.”

KB Crawl has designed its software as a SaaS with a simple user interface and with a new version releasing soon.

While information might be easy to find, if it is not readily available users will turn to a search function. Is KB Crawl depending on people to have a certain amount of information literacy? Clearly, the have forgotten that search is a business intelligence tool.

Whitney Grace, May 30, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Software AG Happy About JackBe

May 30, 2014

Business Wire via Sys Con has some great news: “Software AG’s Acquisition Of JackBe Recognized As Strategic M&A Deal Of The Year.” Software AG is a big data, integration, and business process technologies firm driven to help companies achieve their desired outcomes. With the acquisition of real time visual analytics and intelligence software provider JackBe will be the foundation for Software AG’s new Intelligent Business Operations Platform. The acquisition even garnered attention from the Association for Corporate Growth and was recognized as the Strategic M&A deal of the year in the $100 million category.

JackBe will allow Software AG to offers its clients a broader range of enterprise functions in real-time, especially in areas related to the Internet of Things and customer experience management.

“The real-time analysis and visualization of massive amounts of data is increasingly becoming the basis for fast and intelligent business decisions. With the capabilities of JackBe integrated in its Intelligent Business Operations platform, Software AG has been able to provide customers with a comprehensive 360-degree view of operational processes by combining live, historical and transactional data with machine-to-machine communications.”

Purchasing JackBe was one of the largest big data deals in 2013 and it also proves that technology used by the US government can be turned into a viable commercial industry.

Software AG definitely has big plans for 2014. Will they continue to make headlines this year?
Whitney Grace, May 30, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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

Gauge Your Company’s Speed to Intelligence

April 14, 2014

ClearCI helps clients collect, analyze, manage, and share intelligence across the enterprise. They claim it is enterprise intelligence reimagined. The latest ClearCI white paper promises quite a lot. Read more in their press release, “How to Gauge and Test Your Company’s Speed to Intelligence.”

Note this wording:

“By downloading this white paper, you’ll be part of a growing movement that’s changing the way companies compete across the board. Now, more than ever, companies are adopting powerful competitive intelligence tools to view their competitive landscape in a way that’s automated, relevant, and measurable!”

No doubt that better training and greater knowledge improves a company’s competitiveness, but these exaggerations are a bit much.

Perhaps reading the white paper is a better, and simpler, first step.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 14, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Jet Reports and Targit Collaborate on Business Intelligence

April 5, 2014

A press release at PRWeb announces that “Jet Reports and TARGIT to Offer a Combined Business Intelligence Solution.” Apparently, some users of the resource management software Dynamics AX had taken it upon themselves to cobble together the BI and reporting functionality of Jet Reports with Targit’s BI and analysis tools for use with that Microsoft solution. Now, the article reports:

“Jet Reports and TARGIT have joined forces to deliver a Business Intelligence solution for Microsoft Dynamics AX that combines the most comprehensive and user-friendly ETL tool with the most intelligent and intuitive analytics front-end on the market. Jet Enterprise consistently delivers a data warehouse and OLAP cubes 80 percent faster than other solutions, while TARGIT is the most powerful tool available for presenting your data and analyzing all aspects of the business. For Dynamics AX users, this means not having to make a compromise between back-end or front-end capabilities. They can now have the best of both in one package.”

Interestingly, the idea for this software trinity comes not from the companies involved, but from the Dynamics user community. Jet Reports and Targit are wise to capitalize on the trend, and making the combined solution easier to use can only help sales.

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Jet Reports maintains several offices around the world. Their products are built specifically to work with Dynamics products. Targit declares that their philosophy is rooted in respect for everyone with whom they work. The company is based in Hjørring, Denmark, but also has locations in Tampa and Boston. Some readers like to know that both companies hiring as of this writing.

Cynthia Murrell, April 05, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

PathAR: Bold Claims

February 23, 2014

I came across a quite remarkable marketing assertion. The company using the wording is PathAR LLC, based in the midwest. Here’s what the company says:

Today 1 of the 3.8 Billion users of social media WILL impact your organization! Do you know who that 1 user is? How do we do it?
We built the world’s most advanced commercially available end-to-end solution for creating actionable intelligence from big data! Our proprietary intelligence engine powers Dunami, our web-based software platform. Dunami combines breakthrough advances in network analysis with advanced analytical techniques derived from long standing intelligence practices. Dunami’s broad capabilities are being used to Find, Understand, and Predict the behaviors of thought leaders and organizers on any topic, including identifying extremists, criminals, and others who are inciting potential violence around the globe!

When I read the statements, I wonder how predictive methods can pinpoint a single datum as the pivotal item of information.

Dunami, as a product/service name, poses some findability challenges. The name is in use for an exercise studio, a religious connotation, and a visual novel.

The company has filed for a trademark. See http://bit.ly/1hlK9mk. The company has a modest LinkedIn presence. See http://goo.gl/5a2JiK.

Is this another outfit chasing after IBM i2, Recorded Future, and the dozens of vendors listed on the Carasoft Web site?

Stephen E Arnold, February 23, 2014

Cluuz Offline

January 29, 2014

My Overflight system posted an alert a few days ago that www.cluuz.com was returning null sets. I tried to telephone and email the company, but no one has replied. According to Nick Waddell in February 2012, Sprylogics was founded about seven years ago. The co0founder was Avi Schachar, a former officer in Israeli intelligence. His idea for a relationship analysis system became the principal product of Sprylogics. The software gained some traction in Canada.

Sprylogics went public in 2007. When Mr. Waddell wrote his commentary “Investors Look for Cluuz to Sprylogics [sic] Resurgence”, the share price of Sprylogics dropped to one penny. On January 29, 2014, the share price is $0.49, ticker SPY on the Canadian exchange. An analyst report presents the company as a mobile solution.

In December 2013, a Sprylogics’ presentation to investors circulated. The document is “Sprylogics: Seeing beyond the Obvious Investor Presentation.” That document asserted that the company was focusing on “patented, location-based and cont4ext-sensitive search.” Sprylogics intends to monetize the intersection of mobile messaging and local search. The presentation highlights three differentiators for the company’s technology:

  • More functionality within chat
  • A method for preventing “users from leaving for third party services”
  • Keeps users in context via a sharing function.

The company’s technology plus that of Poynt, a “strategic acquisition”, delivers Sprylogics 2.0. The company’s presentation suggests that it has a war chest of $6 million. The search technology appears to come from Nimbuzz.

The management of the company, according to the presentation, consists of:

  • Marvin Igelman, CEO
  • Alex Zivkovic, CTO. A 2008 with Mr. Zivkovic is available in the Search Wizards Speak series at http://bit.ly/1egcIlV
  • David Berman, CFO
  • Bhavuk Kaul, VP product marketing, who was the head of search at Research in Motion.

If you want to contact the company, I would suggest a snail mail letter to 64 Jardin Drive, 2A in Concord, Ontario L4K 3P3.

The ArnoldIT team was quite fond of the Cluuz.com service.

Stephen E Arnold, January 29, 2014

Business Intelligence: A Functional Barrier

January 26, 2014

Walls.

I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees. (Robert Frost, Mending Wall)

A reader sent me a link to an item that appeared in Phi Beta Iota. You can find the graphic at http://bit.ly/1d3H3Q4. The original document appeared on 2010 at http://bit.ly/1fnOB2Y. I thought again of walls.

In late 2014, O1Business published a short item that provides more back up for the apparent slow down in some business intelligence markets. You can find that original article at http://bit.ly/1aAgA27. My take on the 01Business story by Marie Jung appeared in December 2013 at http://bit.ly/19VUqH9.

I don’t have a dog in the fight, a cranky neighbor, or a ground swell. There is a LinkedIn thread that contains an assertion that search and content processing are heading toward a cornucopia of sales, revenue, and bliss.

Several observations:

  • IBM, despite its $1 billion bet on Watson, essentially a business intelligence system, is struggling to hit its financial targets. IBM, however, is confident that it will make Watson into a multi-billion dollar a year business and much more quickly than Autonomy labored to get close to $1 billion in revenue.
  • HP Autonomy is motivated to generate a return on its purchase of IDOL, the Digital Reasoning Engine, and other meaning-based computing technology.
  • Palantir, Recorded Future, and other cutting-edge intelligence software vendors are working very hard to generate a return for their stakeholders.
  • Incumbents like SAP Business Objects, Oracle, and SAS are ramping up their marketing activities.

Promising companies may find themselves out-gunned in terms of industry clout and marketing revenue. Are we entering a time when there are too few customers and too many purveyors.

So what?

I think the future of consultants and financial professionals who are brokering deals for companies in the business intelligence or “intelligence” sector may be able to sell their consulting and advisory services.

However, I am not confident that most of the companies with software in this “business intelligence” category can generate robust organic growth. Furthermore, I am somewhat skeptical that the claims of vendors making the rounds on the conference circuit can provide hard facts that provide cash-strapped, somewhat cautious prospects that “value” will result from certain types of smart software.

As the diagram prepared by Stephen Few makes clear there is a barrier in business intelligence. The problem in France may be an early warning that the economic malaise exists. Like the passengers on a cruise ship with a mysterious disease, there is not much those affected can do. The vessel has to return to port, disinfect, and start over.

I anticipate considerable acrobatics from business intelligence vendors as they labor to generate organic revenues, differentiate themselves from a legion of me-too providers, and return a payout to their stakeholders.

The recent news assertions that fancy data analysis does not deliver results. I saw one report that used the word “useless.” See http://bit.ly/1n1HjHN)

Strong words, which—obviously—may be incorrect.

Stephen E Arnold, January 26, 2014

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