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Enterprise Search: You Cannot Do It Yourself, People.

July 31, 2015

I love write ups like “Don’t Settle When It Comes to Enterprise Search Platforms.” These articles are designed to make consulting firms with the marketing flim flam which positions each as an “expert” in enterprise information access. I would not be surprised to find copies of this article in the peddler kit of search sales professionals.

The main point of the write up is that enterprise search is a “platform.” Because there are options, no self respecting company will try to implement search without the equivalent of the F Troop in mid tier or below consultants.

I noted:

Let’s look at two very common workarounds some have tried, and then we will talk about why you must go with a reputable developer when you make your final decision.

When I read this, I wondered if the “expert” were familiar with the Maxxcat line of enterprise search systems or the Blossom hosted solution.

The write up dismisses an open source solution apparently unaware of research by Diomidis Spinellis and Vaggelis Giannikas work published in Journal of Systems and Software, March 2012, pages 666 to 682. That’s okay. My hunch is that those finding the “Don’t Settle” article compelling are not likely to be interested in researchy type stuff.

One of the more interesting segments in the write up is the assertion that scalability is a “given.” Hmmm. In my experience, there are some on going enterprise search challenges: Scalability is one facet of a nest of vipers which includes my favorite reptile indexing latency.

The article states:

Open source platforms are only as scalable as their code allows, so if the person who first made it didn’t have your company’s needs in mind, you’ll be in trouble. Even if they did, you could run into a problem where you find out that scaling up actually reveals some issues you hadn’t encountered before. This is the exact kind of event you want to avoid at all costs.

I don’t want to rain on this parade of “information,” but every enterprise search system which I have had the pleasure of procuring, managing, investigating, and analyzing has scalability problems.

The reason is simple: The volume of changed information and the flow of new information goes up. Whatever one starts with is rather rapidly choked. The solutions are painful: Spend more or index less.

I am not confident that one who follows the advice of certain experts will find his or her enterprise search journey pleasant. On the other hand, there are opportunities as Uber drivers one can pursue.

Stephen E Arnold, July 31, 2015

Organizations Should Consider Office 365 Utilization

July 30, 2015

Office 365 has been a bit contentious within the community. While Microsoft touts it as a solution that gives users more of the social and mobile components they were wishing for, it has not been widely adopted. IT Web gives some reasons to consider the upgrade in its article, “Why You Should Migrate SharePoint to Office 365.”

The article says:

“Although SharePoint as a technology has matured a great deal over the years, I still see many businesses struggling with issues related to on-premises SharePoint, says Simon Hepburn, director of bSOLVe . . . You may be thinking: ‘Are things really that different using SharePoint on Office 365?’ Office 365 is constantly evolving and as I will explain, this evolution brings with it opportunities that your business should seriously consider exploring.’”

Of course the irony is that with the new SharePoint 2016 upgrade, Microsoft is giving users a promise to stand behind on-premise installations, but they are continuing to integrate and promote the Office 365 components. Only time and feedback will dictate the continued direction of the enterprise solution. In the meantime, stay tuned to Stephen E. Arnold and his Web service, ArnoldIT.com. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and his dedicated SharePoint feed is a one-stop-shop for all the latest news, tips, and tricks.

Emily Rae Aldridge, July 30, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

 

Autonomy iManage: Out of the HP Way

July 29, 2015

Autonomy’s beefy revenues came from acquisitions. One of the properties in the pre-HP portfolio was iManage. Believe it or not, iManage is a document management-Outlook centric system. There are some customers who cannot prepare legal documents without its functionality. One can send an attachment in an email so a colleague can click on the document and edit the document within the iManage work flow and document management environment. Some attorneys is a very big US government agency are in raptures about this type of “keep it together” capability.

I read “Autonomy Unit iManage Exits HP With Buyout.” The main point of the article is that iManage was an “asset.” Imagine. HP is okay with the notion of some of Autonomy having value.

The deal puts some of the old team back in the saddle. To add some gloss to the “we want outta this place,” the article reports that the new iManage will use HP cloud services and will use IDOL for some content processes.

Several observations:

  • What other bits and pieces of Autonomy will HP dump?
  • Why was HP unable to leverage the iManage system as an organic revenue stream?
  • Is HP confident that it can generate pre-acquisition Autonomy revenues without the mosaic of products and services which allowed Autonomy to hit $700 million plus in revenues?

Interesting development. iManage has some significant accounts and is likely to have a bright future away from the HP way.

Stephen E Arnold, July 29, 2015

Google+ or Google Plus: A Minus It Seems

July 28, 2015

I love product and service names which are unsearchable. I think I have a Google+ or Goiogle Plus account. I am not sure. I will not care any time soon.

I read with interest “Google Gives Up on Google+ As a Facebook Rival.” Let’s see. Google gave up on Orkut, Wave, and I suppose other social things. Each of these “give ups” reminds me of the ethos of my high school math and science clubs. Heh heh, who cares if no one understands.

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According to the estimable Wall Street Journal article:

Google launched Google+ four years ago, seeking to create a big social network with a billion or more people updating their status, posting photos and keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues. The company wanted it to be a “platform layer” that unified Google’s sharing models, as well as a product and a mobile app, Horowitz explained in a (yes, you guessed it) Google+ update. “This was a well-intentioned goal, but as realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing,” he wrote. Among the most confusing – and irritating – was a requirement that a user have a Google+ account and profile to log into many other Google services.

But my fondest recollection was that some Googlers had to do Google+ or Google Plus things to get a bonus. Yes, that’s the way to motive the team.

My favorite social service was Orkut. Google allegedly skirmished in court a couple of times. Orkut then became a fave in Brazil among some of the folks who were not likely to be invited to join Google.

Google+ or Google Plus lacked this sort of zing. I remember a Googler writing me, imploring me to become active in Google+ or Google Plus. I think we pump Beyond Search content toward the service.

My hunch is that like Google Glass, Google+ or Google Plus is not dead. Like the characters in an Anne Rice novel, Google me too innovations are like Lestat and his relatives. Oh, when is the next meeting of the math club? I hope it does not conflict with the science club meeting.

Stephen E Arnold, July 28, 2015

Lucidworks (Really?) Does Fusion Too

July 23, 2015

I read “Lucidworks Delivers Fusion 2.0 with Spark Integration.” The idea is that search is not exactly flying off the shelves. Why not download Elasticsearch and move on? The way to make search relevant is to make it a Big Data thing. This is the hard to believe path IBM took with Vivisimo’s technology. Where is Vivisimo in the IBM revenue picture? Well, that picture seems gloomy. Maybe the Big Data thing doesn’t work particularly well.

In terms of venture backed Lucidworks, the write up explains:

Fusion 2.0 provides an organization with access to a streamlined, consumer-like search experience with enterprise-grade speed and scalability. The new release integrates Lucidworks’ Fusion with Apache Spark to enable real-time data analytics. Fusion 2.0 also features a new version of the company’s SiLK user interface (UI) that simplifies dashboard visualizations and enhances the user experience.  The SiLK UI runs on top of Fusion and the Apache Solr search platform, upon which Fusion is based. SiLK gives users the power to perform ad-hoc search and analysis of massive amounts of multi-structured and time series data. Users can swiftly transform their findings into visualizations and dashboards.

I think I understand. Wrappers of software provide more developer-friendly tools. The may be one slight  hitch in the git along. Those familiar with the technology of open source and fluent in the mumbo jumbo jargon that Lucid and other repositioning enterprise search vendors employ may not comprise a giant pool of prospects.

In short, writing wrappers is hard work. Dealing with fusion in an effective manner is harder work. Eliminating the latency that accompanies layers and handoffs is the hardest work of all.

The challenge will be generating substantial organic revenue and having enough profit to satisfy the investors which have been very patient with the Lucidworks outfit. No, really.

Stephen E Arnold, July 23, 2015

Italian Firm Delivers Semantic API to Wall Street

July 22, 2015

Short honk: There are quite a few high technology firms chasing the deep pockets on Wall Street and in the City. Some, like Digital Reasoning, have teamed with larger players to capture customers. Others, like Connotate, have relied on their stakeholders to open doors. Many companies attended financial technology showcases to demonstrate the power of their intelligent systems; for example, Digital Shadows. Some companies like Terbium Labs show up and demonstrate how their advanced technology reduces risk and improves financial performance.

Expert System is approaching the market with what it calls the “first semantic API”. The idea is that money folks can create cognitive computing systems. You can read about the system at this link.

Expert Systems is betting that this is true. The news release quotes Luca Scagliarini, CEO as saying:

Intelligent solutions for strategic information management are absolutely critical in today’s big data world, and no where is this more critical than in the financial services industry where inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to fatal decisions. With Cogito API Finance, we are filling a big gap and tremendous need for customized knowledge management solutions in the financial industry.

Expert System is a publicly traded company (EXSY:MI) so the payoff from this cognitive push should be evident in the firm’s next financial report.

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Today shares are trading at 2.12, up 0.02 or 0.76 percent. BAE Systems, a company with its NetReveal / Detica technologies which are in use in a number of financial applications, is trading at 29.35. There is market headroom available.

Stephen E Arnold, July 22, 2015

SharePoint Expert Rehmani Talks SharePoint 2016

July 21, 2015

There is enough news regarding the upcoming SharePoint Server 2016 release to keep every tech writer busy around the clock. Users are crafting expectations and experts are analyzing the little bits of pieces that have become known. Now a known expert, Asif Rehmani, is weighing in with his early assessment. Read more in the Redmond article, “Microsoft MVP Talks SharePoint 2016, Deprecated InfoPath and Getting Help.”

The article begins:

“Microsoft plans to improve usability aspects with its forthcoming SharePoint Server 2016 product, but people still will need help when it arrives. And that’s where Asif Rehmani comes into play. He’s tracked SharePoint from the beginning as a lecturer, educator and trainer and is a nine-year Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for SharePoint.”

The article goes on to discuss some of Rehmani’s thoughts on the upcoming release, including user expectations and how the cloud will integrate into the new version. Stephen E. Arnold is another expert who has his eye on the latest SharePoint news. He reports his findings in an easy to follow format on his Web service, ArnoldIT.com. In fact, his SharePoint feed is one of the go-to destinations for SharePoint tips and tricks on the Web.

Emily Rae Aldridge, July 21, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Whither IHS Goldfire Search

July 18, 2015

Short honk: I followed the Invention Machine for a while years ago. Developed to display systems and methods which could solve a problem, the Invention Machine was acquired by IHS, a Swiss Army Knife outfit.

The company made a push for Goldfire, the Invention Machine packaged as an enterprise search solution, a couple of years ago.

Curious about its market position?’

I navigated to the Goldfire blog and saw that 13 months have elapsed since the last post. That article was “Unlock Corporate Knowledge to Avoid Repeating Past Mistakes.”

The post stated:

Have you invested a lot of time, effort and money in file management systems yet still can’t find relevant engineering answers?

Good question. Perhaps IHS has come to understand that finding revenues from patent-centric technology can be tricky. On the other hand, the company’s revenues from search may be so massive that IHS does not have time to update its blog.

The individual whom I understood was one of the leaders of the IHS search pack is, according to LinkedIn, responsible for Virgil Visions, which is an independent video company, which according to Vimeo is owned by Mr. Belfiore. I could not determine who the IHS top search boss is. Use the comments section to help fill my addled goose’s brain.

Is IHS another in the long line of non search oriented outfits to gain access to information not available before it owned a search system?

Stephen E Arnold, July 18, 2015

Amazon: A Hungry Female Tarantula Amidst Digital Bananas

July 17, 2015

I read “The Book World Need Not Fear Amazon.” The essay tips its fedora to Amazon’s 20th year in business. I am reminded: “It [Amazon] kick started the ebook revolution.” Revolutions are good, aren’t they?

The main idea is that publishers are not too thrilled to find the Amazon tarantula in their now mostly empty book stores. The revenue from backlists is no longer the olive groves they once were.

The write up states:

Some publishers believe that, essentially, Bezos’s company despises them: they are unnecessary intermediaries between authors and the reading public. And then there are the working conditions in Amazon’s warehouses, and the company’s tax avoidance … The news that the European commission is investigating Amazon’s business practices – among which is the stipulation that rivals should never receive more favorable terms – has brought cheer.

But the kicker is this statement:

Perhaps Amazon will destroy literary culture. Or perhaps in 20 years’ time we’ll find it hard to remember, as we do with Microsoft, why we were so afraid of it.

Fascinating. The problem is not what Amazon has done. The problem is what book publishers were unable to do. The emergence of a digital book powerhouse comes as a result of publishers who were content and still are thrilled to operate with water wheels and oxen as sources of power.

The Amazon plugs in to a market that no longer reads by candlelight. The fear is warranted, but I don’t have too much sympathy for those who are increasingly disintermediated and marginalized.

Stephen E Arnold, July 17, 2015

Google, Its Strategy, and Cost Cutting: Excitement Looms

July 15, 2015

I will not mention Loon balloons. I promise.

Navigate to “Google Product Strategy: Make Two of Everything.” The write up points out that Google’s strategy is a variation on the Doublemint twins trope. If one is good, two are better. More better. Just like Vonage.

The write up points out:

The company’s actions have shown it doesn’t really believe in focusing on a single solution to a problem, regardless of how much easier that would make things for users. It has to deal with external competitors in all sorts of areas, and Google seems to see no reason why competition can’t also come from within—Google products competing with other Google products.

Internal competition good. Revenue? Well, now that is the one point I found lacking in the write up. Doublemint twins are expensive. Imagine being a frat rat trying to woo both of the Doublemint twins. Twice the cost. Exponentiate the management hassles. Yikes. Talk about complexity between classes and on weekends. I stayed in the library. A simple college life for me.

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Google has for more than a decade done many things. The Googlers have many interests. I understand. I have many interests, but I have learned at age 70 that one must bring discipline to make any progress.

After many years of effort, Google’s business model is based on the GoTo/Overture pay-to-play approach to traffic. Google, if I recall the Yahoo settlement regarding GoTo/Overture methods, did not invent its approach to online advertising.

What has played out over the last decade has been online advertising generating 90 to 95 percent of Google’s revenue.

The wild and crazy stuff has not, in my opinion, has not altered Google’s dependence on the online advertising business model.

How much more profitable would Google have been if it did not do the two of everything method? How much money would the company generate for stakeholders if some of the moon shots were put back in the hanger and the lights turned out.

Solving death. Great idea. Live forever. Well, maybe. Frittering away dough on YouTube and creating a mass of unfindable and often forgettable video content.

The write up mentions Android and Chrome. Google Glass and the wonky Google watch warrant a mention. The author identifies more than 10 additional duplications.

In my opinion, the big message is a lack of discipline. Now there is a new CFO who wants to cut costs. See “The five things Wall Street Wants from Google’s new CFO.” The write up also misses the mark.

Wall Street wants the revenues from the good old days. Go back to the hockey stick financials from 2004 to 2007. The company is, as Steve Ballmer said, a one-trick pony.

Google might consider taking a gander at the Sakai’s concept of bunsha. Those Xooglers are cranking out innovative outfits once they leave the GOOG. Some of these are going to do the hockey stick thing. (Sorry, no company names in a free blog, gentle reader.)

What’s happening is that Google is embracing the procedures of a high school math club. Now you can ponder the Loon balloons, elevators to space, etc. etc.

Stephen E Arnold, July 15, 2015

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