December 17, 2012
The introduction of hybrid technology comes as no surprise, but one has to wonder how current developers will feel about being cloned in the future. TechCrunch’s article “CloudVelocity Launches With $5M from Mayfield to Bring the Hybrid Cloud to the Enterprise” discusses the introduction of a hybrid cloud and its growing potential, along with its cloud cloning ability.
This new technology could save companies a bundle off initial investments, but smart platform designers may take precautions against cloning in the future. One has to wonder what preparations have already been made, if any. Investors want to be certain the risk of this approach is worth the effort.
“One Hybrid Cloud platform, aims to extend the enterprise data center to the public cloud, by enabling multi-tier applications to run without modification in the cloud and access services that reside in the enterprise data center. In a nutshell, the startup allows enterprises to get the benefits of private clouds in the public cloud. Users can discover, blueprint, clone, and migrate applications between data centers and public clouds. Currently, CloudVelocity supports full server, networking, security and storage integration with AWS but plans to integrate other public clouds.”
The excitement around startups and cloud solutions is great but corporations are reluctant to take chances with sensitive data. Those enterprises seeking stability in the growing hybrid cloud universe may find some assurance in relying on a mature, capable enterprise provider. Intrafind offers consultative solutions and reliable cloud solutions with secure access.
Jennifer Shockley, December 17, 2012
November 23, 2012
Savvy companies will not be getting their head out of the clouds anytime soon because the cloud is the place to be for businesses seeking success. ZDNet’s article “A Snapshot of Enterprise Cloud Adopters at Workday Rising” explains why the sky is not the limit when it comes to the enterprise cloud as it is continuing to evolve.
In order to keep up with the growing demands of the enterprise, Cloud providers have to stay on top of the latest developments:
“Having opted for the speed, agility and on-demand responsiveness of a cloud platform, customers rely on their chosen vendor maintaining the same pace going forward. One of the most remarkable things about watching a cloud vendor like Workday evolve is the extent of innovation that happens in the underlying infrastructure. These are not static structures. New components are constantly being introduced that advance performance, scalability and functionality — not just the three-times-a-year functional updates but architectural advances too.”
With the ongoing evolution of the enterprise, utilizing the expert advice of an established enterprise search consultant can keep a company’s head above the cloud, so to speak. Cloud search adopters could benefit from the services of enterprise search providers who offer a full range of assessment and solution selection services. Intrafind has offered solid guidance to customers seeking the right solution that improves efficiency and offers a solid return on investment in enterprise search for well over 10 years.
Jennifer Shockley, November 23, 2012
November 22, 2012
Heck, let’s put the 451 Group quote in granite.
I am getting ready to head from England, the land my ancestors fled in 1596, to return to Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky, the culinary center for down home Thanksgiving cooking. (We do squirrel stew. How about you? Now I am sitting in the Dublin airport relishing comments allegedly made by a “real” expert, a 451 Group consultant no less. My source is “HP-Autonomy Fraud Allegations Fallout: The Winners and Losers.” Please, read the original article. It is priceless.
Here is what has me seeing those cartoon stars and exclamation points popular in the funny papers:
The fraud scandal “probably will” affect Autonomy’s fortunes “and I think that’s a shame…Autonomy always had very good technology, but they weren’t able to leverage it very effectively. In HP’s hands, it could be leveraged much better. On the other hand, Autonomy was “acting as a holding company to a large extent, anyway,” following many acquisitions. Only its core IDOL product is quite closely linked to the Autonomy name, “There are some good pieces there and still some strong brands.” (Attributed to a real consultant doing business as Alan Pelz-Sharp.)
Yowza. Consider these observations I jotted down.
- The word “probably”. Better safe than confident in one’s facts.
- I absolutely love “shame”. Yep, investment bankers are really sensitive to shame, particularly a year after a deal closes and the fees have been paid.
- The assertion “they [Autonomy] were not able to leverage it.” Stunning. I thought Autonomy had been in business for 13 or 14 years and had generated north of $700 million, bought a number of companies, and got its logo on a football team and an F1 car. To my albeit limited knowledge, no other search vendor has come close to Autonomy’s top line revenue. $700 million is a healthy figure and somewhere along the line taxes had to be paid, financial reviews conducted, and invoices sent.
- Autonomy was a holding company. Okay, this is not the analogy I would choose but let’s assume Autonomy was a holding company. Perhaps the 451 Group’s expert knows line of business revenues and pre tax profits by each of Autonomy’s operating units. Where are the breakdowns?
- Only IDOL is linked to Autonomy. My obviously misguided notion was that Autonomy bought a company and then slapped the IDOL brand on the company’s products and services. Then integration tagged along but Autonomy management worked hard to make IDOL the brand for many of its services as Autonomy managed the heck out of staff costs and embarked on upselling. Guess I was ill informed.
- “There are some good pieces” begs some detail. Perhaps a good piece is Virage or the virtual reality Aurasma technology which I covered in one of my Information Today columns?
- Again that categorical “only” troubles me but I will soldier on.
- Yes, I presume fraud will have some impact.
- I find the Latinate predicates stimulating as well.
Some color is in order.
451 Group (the “number” references either a science fiction novel or the flash point of paper, which is going out of fashion among some digerati) is a consulting and professional services firm with expertise in “cloudscape,” “multitenant data centers, and a half dozen other specialties. Disclaimer. I used to work for Booz, Allen & Hamilton and now I write “reports” for IDC, another outfit in the same line of work at 451. This means that one has to determine which consulting firm is on the beam. I will let the reader decide, but my bet is on folks who have done time at one of the pantheon firms, not the firms lower in the rental brains’ pecking order.
I have commented on Autonomy is a number of published reports. These range from the now hoary Enterprise Search Report which first appeared in 2003 or 2004 to my 2011 study “The New Landscape of Enterprise Search.” Free download here. I had to sit through various briefings, do some independent verification and validation work, and interact with some of the folks who had a little first hand experience with things Autonomy. I have to check my files, but I think I did a tiny job for Autonomy, but it is tough for me to remember after 40 years of blundering around in the online, search, and content processing sectors. Unlike the 451 Group’s experts, I am not qualified in the cloudscape thing or the multi whozit. I am so so in search and okay in a couple of other disciplines. I eat squirrels too.
My official position is that folks who license enterprise search systems like Autonomy or Endeca usually wind up with some interesting challenges and some hefty bills. When one taps Autonomy-like system or even a free, open source search solution, the likelihood of financial excitement six months into a search project is quite high. When signing on for an enterprise search system, arrogance and ignorance on the part of the customer can equal the spirit of a gaggle of Googlers. One difference: The Googlers are usually okay with resources, money, code and math. Procurement teams, in my experience, assume their intellectual firepower would decimate other mortals. Wrong. But optimism can be a positive attribute. Just not in big time search solutions.
Enter the marketers, lawyers, and MBAs.
Now a covey of these professionals can draw fascinating conclusions about enterprise search. My problem with the write up and the quote is that the facts of the matter are stark. HP paid billions for a search vendor. HP is in a bit of a financial muddle. HP wants to blame everyone except itself. The losers omitted from the write up are the ones which matter: HP employees, HP management, and the HP Board of Directors.
Maybe the accounting was erroneous. Maybe the auditors stayed up late and drifted through the various audits. Maybe the lawyers, MBAs, and auditors were more focused on their billable hours and commissions. Maybe Autonomy explained how search and content processing deals worked and assumed that the HP team “understood” the upsides and downsides of search.
Somewhere along the line “real” consultants and the legions of people grabbing a piece of the billion dollar deal may be revealing their own intellectual shortcomings. Search is tough. The price HP paid for Autonomy is what it is. A year after buying a property, HP wants its money back. That’s the charming world of business today.
With “real” consultants and big companies looking for a silver bullet to complete their imaginary magic wands, bad deals are the rule. What makes Autonomy interesting is the amount paid by a company which is fraught with management, financial, and technical challenges. I used to keep a list of missteps. But after fumbling the Alta Vista search system opportunity, I lost interest. HP and the “real” consultants want to explain away a mistake without pointing out who triggered the problem. Arrogance, superficial analysis, and lack of search expertise caught fire when big money was in play. Combustible mixture? Yes, indeed.
Stephen E Arnold, November 22, 2012
November 21, 2012
I don’t have much interaction with Autonomy and I have even less with Forrester or Gartner, both azure chip consultants stuffed with high IQ big thinkers about technology. How can someone residing in Harrod’s Creek hope to compare to sleek, real consultants who work in cities with electricity and running water.
However, on a recent trip to a dumpy Internet cafe near Victoria Station, I read “Hewlett’s Loss: A Folly Unfolds, by the Numbers.” In that article I noted this quote from an azure chip consultant working at the tony Forrester Research outfit. Here’s the passage that made my feathers twitch:
Autonomy, too, was facing challenges after years of fast growth but poor customer relations, according to Leslie Owens, an analyst with Forrester Research. “They didn’t invest in R&D; they didn’t have regular software releases; they weren’t transparent with a road map of where they were going; they didn’t seek customer feedback,” she said. “Customers complained, but the promise of managing all their information and making better decisions was so attractive. They bought more.” Soon after the H.P. acquisition, Ms. Owens said, Autonomy announced a new version of its core product. “We asked for a demo,” she said, and “we’re still waiting.”
Okay. I remember seeing a Boston Consulting Group dog, question mark, star, and cow type chart in 2009. Allegedly produced by another high end think tank, Gartner Group. I did not recall Autonomy getting low marks. I did some poking around and I would like to direct you, gentle reader, to this Web address: http://www.contentmanager.eu.com/graphics/gartner-wcm2010.jpg.
I am fearful of azure chip retribution, so you have to navigate to the page and look at the 2010 BCG style chart by Gartner Group experts.
What is interesting is that Gartner pegs Autonomy in the leaders quadrant for Web content management. I don’t know what that means. I do understand what it means to be a “leader”, singled out for excellence on whatever yardstick was used to size up 17 vendors of a particular type of enterprise software.
What is interesting is that two expert consulting firms have such conflicting opinions about Autonomy less than 18 to 20 months apart. Forrester “knows” that Autonomy had some issues. Gartner seems to find the company superior to such rivals as IBM and Microsoft.
Did Autonomy crash and burn between these two azure chip viewpoints? Are Forrester’s analysts more sveltish and brighter than Gartner’s high protein crowd?
Assume that each of these consulting outfits have comparable intellectual horsepower. Assume that each firm’s experts gathered information from open source and private sources. What causes two apparently superficial assessments of Autonomy.
My question: “If two blue chip consultants see Autonomy differently, won’t the truth and beauty of Autonomy will be in the eye of the beholder?”
In a legal dispute, subjective, maybe emotion, will play a larger role than dull old objective data. Little wonder so many advisors interpreted Autonomy differently. Enterprise software as an interpretation problem in 21st century business poetry. Lawyers are happy. HP and its shareholders, not so much.
Stephen E Arnold, November 21, 2012
November 15, 2012
Short honk: The ArnoldIT team worked with IDC to produce “ElasticSearch: An Open Source Search Option for Big Data.” The write up discusses the origins of the company. Compass was the precursor of Elastic Search. My understanding is that Compass was built on Lucence. The new incarnation is built on Solr. There is a discussion of ElasticSearch’s enhancements to the Solr system. The most significant part of the report is the explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of the ElasticSearch approach. The analysis is not written from the developers’ point of view. The focus is on the business value of ElasticSearch in the highly volatile, increasingly crowded market for search systems based on open source technology. Already published in the multi-part research series are analyses of Attivio, LucidWorks, and PolySpot. Unlike the cheerleading on free blogs and developer forums, the IDC analyses cost $3,500 per report. IDC customers have access to the analyses, but should check with their IDC account manager to determine if access is permitted under their subscription plan.
Stephen E Arnold, November 15, 2012
Sponsored by ArnoldIT. Watch for our new professional social media consulting services coming in 2013
August 26, 2012
I agree in general with “Which USA Do You Work In? The premise is that it is good to be smart and digital. Those who are not smart and pretty much users of ATM machines or maybe robbers of those who use ATM machines. Mr. Cuban, a digital and smarts mogul, writes:
The problem for those who work in brick and mortar is that as the intelligence is sucked out of the job. The intelligence required to do the
job is reduced. Yes, you still have to be good at what you do. But you can be great at customer service or great in a factory line with out a college education. The competition for jobs that don’t require degrees has pushed down the wages paid for brick and mortar jobs as well. When there are no specific skills beyond basic people and communication skills required the job pool competing for any openings expands considerably. Forcing down wages. Leaving more unemployed unemployed. The other unfortunate part of working brick and mortar is that as intelligence is moved out of of physical locations it also reduces the number of jobs available. Have you ever seen a cashier at an Apple Store ? Unemployment is sky high in the brick and mortar world.
In my goose pond, the split is described as “knowledge value.” And “split” is not exactly right. Knowledge value suggests that information can be monetized. If the facts or skills one possesses match a need, then one may be able to charge to deliver knowledge value. Skip the socio-political implications of this idea and focus on work, money, and influence.
I like to visualize one of those sliding controls in a user interface. Move the virtual know to the left and the knowledge value drops to zero. Slide the virtual knob to the right and you get into McKinsey and Bain territory. If you know about the compensation for blue chip consultants, you see the monetary value of the high knowledge value setting.
What’s this mean to the issues Mr. Cuban addresses?
First, those who have low knowledge value jobs are stuck unless the individuals pump up their knowledge value. Here’s how it works. You know how to fix an MBA’s laptop so it will print a document. You can do this for free or you can charge big bucks. If the person with the know how is into the knowledge value game, the MBA may pony up some cash to get the document. Now think about a nasty legal situation. Do you want a low knowledge value or a high knowledge value attorney helping you out?
Second, some knowledge work can deliver a big payday. I suggest people think about getting jobs in terms of knowledge value. When one leverages knowledge value in an optimal way, money awaits the person who can find a person or company requiring knowledge value. How does one get knowledge? How does one communicate value? High knowledge value has more magnetism than low knowledge value. One can determine one’s knowledge value when others find you.
Do schools teach this knowledge value method? See The Knowledge-Value Revolution, Or, a History of the Future.
July 25, 2012
Short honk: Check out “Why Booz Allen Is Significantly Undervalued.” Interesting. The main point, as I understand it, is that Booz Allen is a great deal for investors. Okay, if it is such a great deal why does it take 1,300 words and a dozen charts to get the point across. There was one omission in the “protest too much write up”. Booz Allen is dependent on government contracts. When governments cut spending, outfits like Booz Allen face some revenue challenges. I assume this aspect of the firm’s business is irrelevant in light of alleged backlog, explanations, and lots of tables and bar charts. Booz Allen was once a blue chip outfit. As I have noted, the firm has a history of being private, going public, going back to private, splitting up, and going public. Is the firm’s management fancy dancing to cope with the realities of a blue chip firm transforming to azure?
Stephen E Arnold, July 25, 2012
June 22, 2012
Users find laundry lists of results a necessary but sometimes hard to use way to pinpoint needed information. Users looking for a PowerPoint presentation want a way to spot presentations without browsing, opening, scanning, and repeating the process. One feature of SharePoint is its document thumbnail and preview function. Instead of a list of text results, SharePoint can display search results with a thumbnail image of the document. Users can quickly identify a document type, which allows a research task to be accomplished more quickly.
There is, however, one challenge in some SharePoint installations. According to the document Office Web App & FAST Search Document Thumbnail and Preview scenarios, many users found document previews and thumbnails to not show up in FAST search results for SharePoint 2010. Microsoft acknowledges:
“Document Previews do not work with Claims Based Authentication and is a known limitation with the Product.”
Microsoft’s knowledge base article provides a number of ways to resolve the problem. But what does a SharePoint administrator do when a third party application is part of the mix? The SharePoint licensee needs immediate access to deep expertise with both SharePoint and Fast search are required to ensure that system performance and functionality are maintained at a high level.
Comperio, one of the world’s leading firms in Fast search engineering and consulting, can resolve preview issues quickly. Comperio’s engineers have in-depth experience with both SharePoint and Fast search. If you want to tap document previews using Microsoft’s native functions or employ third party software from firms such as BA Insight (www.bainsight.com), Comperio delivers. Comperio combines experience and technical expertise for leveraging Fast search within SharePoint. For more information about Comperio, visit the firm’s Web site at www.comperiosearch.com.
Jennifer Shockley, June 22, 2012
Sponsored by Comperio
June 6, 2012
At a recent conference devoted to enterprise search, I spoke with Bjørn Laukli, now the president of Comperio US. Mr. Laukli was the Fast Search & Transfer chief technical officer. Prior to Fast Search’s acquisition by Microsoft in 2008, Mr. Laukli joined Comperio AS, a search solutions company. For more information about Comperio, navigate to the company’s Web site, www.comperiosearch.com. If you mistype the url as comperio.com, Google displays a malware warning, which does not apply to Comperio AS.
I asked Mr. Laukli about Comperio’s business focus. He told me:
We founded Comperio AS in 2004 with a vision of utilizing search technology to improve the way people interact with information, ensuring that the solutions understand people and context, rather than the other way round. Early on, Scandinavia was Comperio’s focus area, however, since 2008, it has expanded into the US and UK. Initially, the business was building a practice around the FAST Enterprise Search Platform (ESP) with both products and services. Since Microsoft acquired FAST, Comperio’s business focus has expanded into SharePoint and FAST Search for SharePoint.
A company’s approach to client engagements is key to the success of an engineering services firm. In response to the question, “How do you lead a client through a solution?”, Mr. Laukli said:
After an engagement agreement has been established, we typically enter the discovery phase. Often we follow an agile methodology like Scrum, and in such a setting we refer this phase to Sprint 0. In Sprint 0, we gather requirements and talk with the stakeholders from the client. This includes business and IT resources, as well as end users of the system. Sprint 0 consists of many activities from analysis, to concept development, interaction and technology design. The output of this initial phase is normally a detailed project plan outlining key deliverables and dependencies. A system design is also outlined and communicated. After sign-off on the project plan, we start the implementation. After the solution is deployed, it enters the maintenance phase. Comperio offers application management service (AMS) which in many cases is a great option for the client. That way they can focus on their core business, while we can ensure that their system produce high-quality results all the time.
You can read the full text of the interview with Mr. Laukli on the ArnoldIT.com subsite Search Wizards Speak. For one click access to the 2009 interview with Mr. Laukli, click here. For the 2012 interview, click here.
The Search Wizards Speak collection of interviews contains more than 70 interviews with individuals who are involved in search and content processing. The index of the interviews is available at the subsite http://www.arnoldit.com/search-wizards-speak/.
Stephen E Arnold, June 6, 2012
Sponsored by IKANOW
May 22, 2012
I don’t care too much about outfits who surf on other company’s software. Been there. Done that. In my experience with Infozen, an outfit with which I was affiliated during the wild and crazy “index the Federal government” years, I learned:
- Integrators and resellers take advantage of clients who lack the expertise, time, and management acumen to get a job done in a cost effective manner during normal work hours
- Partners, integrators and resellers sell what generates money. Investing in research and development is a PowerPoint or Keynote slide, not a business practice. Clients pay for the resellers and integrators to solve a problem. If the solution works, the integrator or reseller will resell the solution, emphasizing that it is an invention.
- Integrators and resellers are trying to avoid the “pay to play” model enforced by a number of software giants. A good way to determine if the outfit requires integrators or resellers to pony6 up hard cash for the privilege of selling enterprise software is too look for print advertising in various trade publications.
- Integrators and resellers use a tie up as an occasion for a news release. A good example is the “Oracle Endeca Getting Started Partner Guide.”
At a recent briefing I gave in New York, I had an occasion to talk to a very energetic investment type. I picked up three signals about the Microsoft SharePoint reseller and partner ecosystem. Like most information floating around after 6 pm in Manhattan, I suspect there is mostly baloney in the observations. But I wanted to snag them before they slipped from my flawed short term memory bank:
First, it seems that Microsoft is not putting much wood behind Fast Search & Transfer technology. I believe the phrase the MBA squirrel used was “end of life.” If true, the $1.2 billion and messy Fast situation may be in the midst of a rethink. What will Microsoft do? With the juicy search companies gobbled up, Microsoft may have to pull some rabbits out of its many hats. Open source, non US search and content processing vendors, making a cake from its own search ingredients, leveraging Powerset and other technologies?
Second, some Microsoft partners are starting to “go off the reservation.” In the free blog, I do not want to mention names. I learned that one prominent Microsoft Certified Partner had quietly embraced non Microsoft technologies. The “quietly” suggests to me that Microsoft could choke off a flow of sales leads if the shift caused big waves. The reason to “go off the reservation” boiled down to the sense that some Microsoft centric shops were starting to demonstrate “fee fatigue.” What do resellers do when revenue from Old Faithful slows, resellers and integrators look for what will sell.
Third, after decades of having a sure-fire business model, some partners and integrators see that alternatives exist and may be worth exploring. Examples include cloud alternatives to on premises Microsoft solutions or – hang on to your hat – open source solutions.
The impact of the lousy financial climate is taking a toll on some Microsoft centric vendors. The toll will be more burdensome going forward. In short, integrators and resellers are in play.
Stephen E Arnold, May 22, 2012
Sponsored by Polyspot