August 4, 2014
I read “Cloud Revenue Jumps, Led by Old Computing Titans.” If you have a hard copy of the “real” journalism Mt. Parnassus, you can find this story in the August 4, 2014 version delivered to Kentucky. Online, the story carries an August 3, 2014 date and, if you are quick, you may be able to locate it at http://nyti.ms/1xUXLw9.
I found the write up fascinating because the guts of the story pivot on three firms engaged in selling consulting services: Synergy, Gartner, and IDC. The facts of the article appear to come from the financial reports and other public statements of Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft. As real news goes, relying on “experts” and somewhat broad groupings of financial information continues to make the wheels of commerce go round. I like it. The confection is an excellent Twinkie-like approach to a diaphanous, hard to define topic—the cloud.
This cookbook does not explain how to whip up interest in consultant reports, the activities of large companies, or the specifics of some ingredients. An oversight it seems.
There were a couple of passages in the write up that I found thought starters.
Here’s the first item, a quote from a Synergy expert:
It’s not just talk—they are backing it up with a lot of investment.
I presume this is a reference to Amazon’s spending which seems to have put the company in the company of bears, IBM’s bet the farm approach to its tactics to keep the company an investment my grandmother would love, and Microsoft which is fresh from its knock-it-out-of-the-park mobile phone and Windows 8 initiatives.
A second passage begins “The so called magic quadrant…” and ends with the paragraph beginning “Amazon is still the star.” In between this atta boy for Gartner’s work is an interesting grammatical construction:
This year, helped by the [IBM] acquisition of Soft Layer, a cloud start up, and its own internal investment, it [IBM] has moved sharply to the right and higher thought it is not yet in the leaders area—the vision is strong, according to Gartner, but the executive still lags a bit.”
I am not trained in poetry, although I think some of the search analysts are, indeed, English majors. But I find these points remarkable:
- In a report by experts, IBM has moved. Now did IBM move or did an expert move IBM. The suggestion that IBM can move its $100 billion hulk around a “magic quadrant” drew a yellow highlight from me. I suppose I could have written, my yellow highlighted moved from the table to the paper and marked a yellow line, but that leaves out the who doesn’t it?
- I like the idea that an acquisition and internal development trigger the movement of IBM.
- In a moment of hedging, the New York Times’ writer added that Gartner analyzed IBM and found that its execution lagged. Okay, so IBM cannot deliver cloud whatever very well.
Third, I noted the disclaimer paragraph:
Measurements in the cloud marketplace are tricky. Companies define their cloud businesses differently. And the big companies do not report their cloud revenue or profit separately, although they do occasionally make statements.
High fives all around because no one knows much about what “cloud” means and the companies are not particularly generous with facts. The flow of baloney, however, appears to have caught the attention of the “experts” and the real journalists.
Please, read the original because it is a tribute to the public relations folks who labored to create this cloud stuff.
My interest is, as you may know, search. Now search has moved to the cloud, and there are some examples. The problem is that hard data about the ease with which the services can be deployed, the costs of the system over time, and the amount of customization required to deliver an acceptable service are sparse, not available, or made up.
Search from the cloud seems to be small potatoes. Sure, there are search services available from Amazon, and I suppose one can assume that the billion dollar bet on Watson will be cloud friendly someday. Microsoft cloud search is best experienced first hand. Fire up Windows 8.1 and run a query. You can see how the system deals with local, SkyDrive (once OneDrive), and Web content. A money maker for sure I assume.
I like certain time sharing services. However, I do not like Hollywood style naming and I do not like unsubstantiated assertions presented as fact. If you find this type of Twinkie satisfying, gorge yourself on the mid tier consulting firms’ outputs. Let me know how reality matches up to a sector where measurements are tricky and facts are not available.
Stephen E Arnold, August 4, 2014
August 2, 2014
Editor’s note: These three companies are involved in search and content processing. The opinion piece considers the question, “Is management unable to ensure standard business processes working in some businesses today?” Links have been inserted to open source information that puts some of the author’s comments in context. Comments about this essay may be posted using the Comments function for this blog.
Forgetting to Put Postage on Lots of Letters
I read “HP to Pay $32.5 Million to Settle Claims of Overbilling USPS.” (Keep in mind you may have to pony up some cash to access this article. Mr. Murdoch needs cash to buy more media properties. Do your part!)
The main point of the story, told by “real” journalists, is that the company failed “to comply with pricing terms.” The “real” news story asserts:
The DOJ also alleged H-P made misrepresentations during the negotiation of the contract with the USPS regarding its pricing and its plans to ensure it would provide the required most favored customer pricing.
I suppose any company can overlook putting postage on an envelope. When that happened to me in my day of snail mail activity, my local postmistress Claudette would give me a call and I would go to the Harrod’s Creek post office and buy a stamp.
I am no big time manager, but I understood that snail mail required a stamp. If you are a member of the House or Senate, the rules are different, but even the savvy Congressperson makes sure the proper markings appear on the absolutely essential missives.
My mind, which I admit is not as agile as it was when I worked at Halliburton Nuclear Utility Services, drew a dotted line between this seemingly trivial matter of goofing on an administrative procedure and the fantastic events still swirling around Hewlett Packard’s purchase of Autonomy, a vendor of search and content processing software.
A number of questions flapped slowly across my mind:
- Is HP management becoming careless with trivial matters like paying $11 billion for a company generating about $800 million in revenue and forgetting to pay the US post office?
- Is the thread weaving together such HP events as the mobile operating system affair, the HP tablet, the fumbling of the Alta Vista opportunity, and the apparent administrative goofs like the Autonomy purchase and this alleged postage stamp licking flawed administrative processes?
- What does the stamp sticking, Autonomy litigating, and alleged eavesdropping say about the company’s “git ‘er done” approach?
The attitude may apply to confident senior managers with incentives to produce revenue. Image source: http://profileengine.com/groups/profile/420722222/larry-the-cable-guy-for-president
I don’t think too much about Hewlett Packard. I do wonder if HP is an isolated actor or if companies with search interests are focusing on priorities that seem to be orthogonal to what I understand to be appropriate corporate behavior. One isolated event is highly suggestive.
But what do similar events suggest? In this short essai, I want to summarize two events. Both of these are interesting. For me, I see a common theme connecting the HP stamp licking and the two macro events. The glue fixing these in my mind is what seems to be a failure of management to pay attention to details.
But first, let’s go back in time for a modest effort penned by Edmund Spenser.
July 31, 2014
At lunch yesterday, several search aware people discussed a July 2014 Gartner study. One of the folks had a crumpled image of the July 2014 “magic quadrant.” This is, I believe, report number G00260831. Like other mid tier consulting firms, Gartner works hard to find something that will hook customers’ and prospects’ attention. The Gartner approach is focused on companies that purport to have enterprise search systems. From my vantage point, the Gartner approach is miles ahead of the wild and illogical IDC report about knowledge, a “quotient,” and “unlocking” hidden value. See http://bit.ly/1rpQymz. Now I have not fallen in love with Gartner. The situation is more like my finding my content and my name for sale on Amazon. You can see what my attorney complained about via this link, http://bit.ly/1k7HT8k. I think I was “schubmehled,” not outwitted.
I am the really good looking person. Image source: http://bit.ly/1rPWjN3
What the IDC report lacks in comprehensiveness with regard to vendors, Gartner mentions quite a few companies allegedly offering enterprise search solutions. You must chase down your local Garnter sales person for more details. I want to summarize the points that surfaced in our lunch time pizza fest.
First, the Gartner “study” includes 18 or 19 vendors. Recommind is on the Gartner list even though a supremely confident public relations “professional” named Laurent Ionta insisted that Recommind was not in the July 2014 Gartner report. I called her attention to report number G00260831 and urged her to use her “bulldog” motivation to contact her client and Gartner’s experts to get the information from the horse’s mouth as it were. (Her firm is www.lewispr.com and its is supported to be the Digital Agency of the Year and on the Inc 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in America.) I am impressed with the accolades she included in her emails to me. The fact that this person who may work on the Recommind account was unaware that Gartner pegged Recommind as a niche player seemed like a flub of the first rank. When it comes to search, not even those in the search sector may know who’s on first or among the chosen 19.
To continue with my first take away from lunch, there were several companies that those at lunch thought should be included in the Gartner “analysis.” As I recall, the companies to which my motley lunch group wanted Gartner to apply their considerable objective and subjective talents were:
- ElasticSearch. This in my view is the Big Dog in enterprise search at the moment. The sole reason is that ElasticSearch has received an injection of another $70 million to complement the $30 odd million it had previously gather. Oh, ElasticSearch is a developer magnet. Other search vendors should be so popular with the community crowd.
- Oracle. This company owns and seems to offer Endeca solutions along with RightNow/InQuira natural language processing for enterprise customer support, the fading Secure Enterprise Search system, and still popping and snapping Oracle Text. I did not mention to the lunch crowd that Oracle also owns Artificial Linguistics and Triple Hop technology. This information was, in my view, irrelevant to my lunch mates.
- SphinxSearch. This system is still getting love from the MySQL contingent. Imagine no complex structured query language syntax to find information tucked in a cell.
There are some other information retrieval outfits that I thought of mentioning, but again, my free lunch group does not know what it does not know. Like many folks who discuss search with me, learning details about search systems is not even on the menu. Even when the information is free, few want to confuse fantasy with reality.
The second take away is that rational for putting most vendors in the niche category puzzled me. If a company really has an enterprise search solution, how is that solution a niche? The companies identified as those who can see where search is going are, as I heard, labeled “visionaries.” The problem is that I am not sure what a search visionary is; for example, how does a French aerospace and engineering firm qualify as a visionary? Was HP a visionary when it bought Autonomy, wrote off $8 billion, and initiated litigation against former colleagues? How does this Google supplied definition apply to enterprise search:
able to see visions in a dream or trance, or as a supernatural apparition?
The final takeaway for me was the failure to include any search system from China, Germany, or Russia. Interesting. Even my down on their heels lunch group was aware of Yandex and its effort in enterprise search via a Yandex appliance. Well, internationalization only goes so far I suppose.
I recall hearing one of my luncheon guests say that IBM was, according the “experts” at Gartner, a niche player.Gentle reader, I can describe IBM many ways, but I am not sure it is a niche player like Exorbyte (eCommerce mostly) and MarkLogic (XML data management). Nope, IBM’s search embraces winning Jeopardy, creating recipes with tamarind, and curing assorted diseases. And IBM offers plain old search as part of DB2 and its content management products plus some products obtained via acquisition. Cybertap search, anyone? When someone installs, what used to be OmniFind, I thought IBM was providing an enterprise class information retrieval solution. Guess I am wrong again.
Net net: Gartner has prepared the ground for a raft of follow on analyses. I would suggest that you purchase a copy of the July 2014 Gartner search report. You may be able to get your bearings so you can answer these questions:
- What are the functional differences among the enterprise search systems?
- How does the HP Autonomy “solution” compare to the pre-HP Autonomy solution?
- What is the cost of a Google Search Appliance compared to a competing product from Maxxcat or Thunderstone? (Yep, two more vendors not in the Gartner sample.)
- What causes a company to move from being a challenger in search to a niche player?
- What makes both a printer company and a Microsoft-centric solution qualified to match up with Google and HP Autonomy in enterprise search?
- What are the licensing costs, customizing costs, optimizing costs, and scaling costs of each company’s enterprise search solution? (You can find the going rate for the Google Search Appliance at www.gsaadvantage.gov. The other 18? Good luck.)
I will leave you to your enterprise search missions. Remember. Gartner, unlike some other mid-tier consulting firms, makes an effort to try to talk about what its consultants perceive as concrete aspects of information retrieval. Other outfits not so much. That’s why I remain confused about the IDC KQ (knowledge quotient) thing, the meaning of hidden value, and unlocking. Is information like a bike padlock?
Stephen E Arnold, July 31, 2014
July 28, 2014
Content marketing hath embraced the mid tier consulting firms. IDC, an outfit that used my information without my permission from 2012 until July 2014, has published a study about “knowledge.” I was not able to view the entire report, but the executive summary was available for download at http://bit.ly/1l10sGH. (Verified at 11 am, July 25, 2014) If you have some extra money, you may want to pay an IDC scale fee to learned about “the knowledge quotient.”
I am looking forward to the full IDC report, which promises to be as amusing as a recent Gartner report about search. The idea of rigorous, original research and an endorsement from a company like McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group is a Holy Grail of marketing. McKinsey and BCG (what I call blue chip firms), while not perfect, are produce client smiles for most of their engagements.
Consulting, however, does not have an American Bar Association or other certification process to “certify” a professional’s capabilities. In fact, at Booz, Allen I learned that Halliburton NUS, a nuclear consulting and services shop, was in the eyes of Booz, Allen a “grateful C.” Booz, Allen, like Bain and SRI, were grade A firms. I figured if I were hired at Booz, Allen I could pick up some A-level attributes. Consultants not trained by one of the blue chip firms had to work harder, smarter, and more effectively. Slack off and the consulting firms lower on the totem pole were unlikely to claw their way to the top. When a consulting firm has been a grade C for decades, it is highly unlikely that the blue chip outfits will worry too much about these competitors.
This IDC particular report 249643ES is funded by whom? The fact that I was able to download the report from one of the companies listed as a “sponsor” suggests that Smartlogic and nine other companies were underwriting the rigorous research. You can download the report (verified at 2 30 pm, July 25, 2014) at this link. Hasten to do it, please.
In the consulting arena, multi-client studies come in different flavors or variants. At Booz, Allen & Hamilton, the 1976 Study of World Economic Change was paid for by a number of large banks. We did not write about these banks. We delivered previously uncollected information in a Booz, Allen package. The boss was William Simon, former secretary of the US treasury. He brought a certain mindset and credibility to our project.
The authors of the IDC report are Dave Schubmehl and Dan Vesset. Frankly I don’t known enough about these “experts” to compare them to William Simon. My hunch is that Mr. Simon’s credentials might have had a bit more credibility. We supplemented the Booz, Allen team with specialists from Claremont College, where Peter Drucker was grooming some quite bright business analysts. In short, the high caliber Booz, Allen professionals, the Claremont College whiz kids, and William Simon combined to generate a report with a substantive information payload.
Based on my review of the Executive Summary of “The Knowledge Quotient,” direct comparisons with the Booz, Allen report or even reports from some of the mid tier firms’ analyses in my files are difficult to make. I can, however, highlight a handful of issues that warrant further consideration. Let’s look at three areas where the information highway may be melting in the summer heat.
1. A Focus on Knowledge and the Notion of a Quotient
I do a for fee column for Knowledge Management Magazine. I want to be candid. I am not sure that I have a solid understanding of what the heck “knowledge” is. I know that a quotient is the result obtained by dividing one number by another number. I am not able to accept that an intangible like “knowledge” can be converted to a numeric output. Lard on some other abstractions like “value” and the entire premise of the report is difficult to take seriously.
Well, quite a few companies did take the idea seriously, and we need to look at the IDC material to get a feel for the results based on a survey of 2,155 organizations and in depth interviews with 11 organizations “discovered.” The fact that there are 11 sponsors and 11 in depth interviews suggests that the sample is not an objective one as far as the interviews are concerned. But I may be wrong. Is that a signal that this IDC report is a marketing exercise dressed up as an objective report?
2. The Old Chestnut Makes an Appearance
A second clue is the inclusion of a matrix that reminded me of an unimaginative variation on the 1970 Boston Consulting Group’s tool. The BCG approach used market share or similar “hard” data about products and business units. A version of the BCG quadrant appears below:
IDC’s “experts” may be able to apply numbers to nebulous concepts. I would not want to try and pull off this legerdemain. The Schubmehl and Vesset version for IDC strikes me a somewhat spongy; for example, how does one create a quotient for knowledge when parameterizing “socialization” or “culture.” Is the association with New Age and pop culture intentional?
3. The Sponsors: An Eclectic Group United by Sponsoring IDC?
The third tip off to the focus of the report are the sponsors themselves. The 11 companies are an eclectic group, including a giant computer services firm (IBM) a handful of small companies with little or no corporate profile, and an indexing company that delivers training, services, and advice.
4. A Glimpse of the Takeaways
Fourth, the Executive Summary highlights what appear to be important takeaways from the year long research effort. For example, KQ leaders have their expectations exceeded presumably because these KQ savvy outfits have licensed one or more of the study sponsors’ products. The Executive Summary references a number of case studies. As you may know, positive case studies about search and content processing are not readily available. IDC promises a clutch of cases.
And IDC on pages iv and v of the Executive Summary uses a bullet list and some jargon to give a glimpse of high KQ outfits’ best practices. The idea is that if content is indexed and searchable, there are some benefits to the companies.
After 50 years, I assume IDC has this type of work nailed. I would point out that IDC used my information in its for fee reports from August 2012 until July 2014. My attorney was successful in getting IDC to stop connecting my name and that of my researchers with one of IDC’s top billing analysts. I find surfing on my content and name untoward. But again there are substantive differences between blue chip consulting firms and those lower on the for fee services totem pole.
I wonder if the full report will contain positive profiles of the sponsoring organizations. Be prepared to pay a lot for this “knowledge quotient” report. On the other hand, some of the sponsors may provide you with a copy if you have a gnawing curiosity about the buzzwords and jargon the report embraces; for example, analytics,
Some potential reader will have to write a big check. For example, to get one of the IDC reports with my name on it from 2012 to July 2014, the per report price was $3,500. I would not be surprised if the sticker for this KQ report is even higher. Based on the Executive Summary, KQ looks like a content marketing play. The “inclusions” are the profiles of the sponsors.
I will scout around for the Full Monty, and I hope it is fully clothed and buttoned up. Does IDC have a William Simon to ride herd on its “experts”? From my experience, IDC’s rigorousness is quite different. For example, IDC’s Dave Schubmehl used my information and attached himself to my name. Is this the behavior of a blue chip?
Stephen E Arnold, July 28, 2014
July 25, 2014
I wanted to nail down a handful of facts.
First, IDC published without a contract four reports in 2012. These reports were disseminated via the IDC Web site, various communications, and via Amazon’s eCommerce site. These reports were:
- Attivio 236514
- Elasticsearch 237410
- Lucid Imagination / Works 236086
- Polyspot 236511
Each report was $3,500. One report about Attivio was sold on Amazon until July 17, 2014.
The “authors” of these IDC reports included:
- Susan Feldman, a former IDC professional positioned as a “search expert”. Only Attivio.
- David Schubmehl, a former OpenText and Janya (no longer in business) “professional” and heir to Ms Feldman as IDC’s search expert who has jumped from my Attivio information into a consulting relationship with that company founded by former Fast Search & Transfer executives. See this link. Dave Schubmehl’s name appears on each of the four published reports using information from my team and me.
- Constance Ard, MLS, who was at this time the coordinator of my research projects
- Dr. Tyra Oldham, one of the 2012 members of my research team
- Stephen E Arnold, me. I have pointed to a biography on my Web site set up to promote the deal I had with IDC to publish an open source search monograph containing profiles of more than a dozen companies in 2012.
So what’s the big deal? Let me highlight the reason I will be taking a look at some of the IDC expertise in the future.
First, Ms. Feldman and I worked on projects that originated at Manning & Napier, then an investment services company. I was happy to cooperate with her when she joined IDC as the head of the IDC search practice. However, under circumstances I don’t understand, Ms. Feldman left IDC and the area of her responsibility was snagged by David Schubmehl. Without Ms. Feldman at IDC, I made numerous efforts to get a contract, get information about sales, find out where the 13 profiles provided by me and my team were at IDC, and, of course, get paid. Ms. Feldman made administrative procedures work. Mr. Schubmehl took a different approach from where I sat.
Second, Mr. Schubmehl made certain his name appeared on the reports published and sold by IDC without written permission from me to use my material or to stake a claim on the work. Furthermore, the source material we provided contained certain information that was in 2012 not widely known. Significant information about the companies we analyzed were not included in the IDC reports. As a result, the IDC reports using my material were not in line with my thinking. One example of Mr. Schubmehl’s thinking is this tweet:
According to LinkedIn, IDC’s analyst profile, and various biographies charting his work career, he is an expert in Enterprise Search, Text Analytics, Customer Relations, Consultancy, Document Management, Enterprise Content Management, Business Intelligence, Information Management, Intellectual Property, Litigation Support, Enterprise Software, SaaS, Product Management, Cloud Computing, Analytics, Go-to-market Strategy, Knowledge Management, Software Development, and Enterprise Architecture. This impressive list begs one simple question: “If one is so expert, why is it necessary to use without permission and payment the work of others?”
Third, my attorney sought information about sales and finally pressed IDC to stop selling reports with my name and David Schubmehl’s on them. One fix was for IDC to roll Lucid information into a separate report. IDC stopped selling the four reports identified above in early 2014. IDC continued to sell the Attivio report on Amazon until July 17, 2014. IDC is no longer selling reports with my name on them. This is a modest victory, but it leaves the question hanging, “What motivates a large and presumably well regarded consulting firm to trample over basic business procedures?” I don’t have an answer. I do believe IDC is perhaps not quite so confident of its “experts’” expertise, particularly with regard to search and content processing.
Net net: IDC used my name without my permission. IDC published my research material without issuing a contract for work for hire. IDC took possession of detailed, high value information and permitted that information to “inform” David Schubmehl to further his impact as a sales person and “expert” at IDC like Mr. Schubmehl, a “long suffering Buffalo Bills fan and reformed youth soccer referee.”
The next time you read an IDC report, please, consider these questions:
- Who is the “expert”? The contributors or the IDC person who piggybacks on the names of others with particular expertise?
- Is $3,500 for a rehash of other people’s work a wise use of scarce resources?
- Why does a large company fail to follow standard business practices such as issuing contracts, observing contracts, providing sales reports, and compensating those who actually performed original work?
Stephen E Arnold, July 25, 2014
July 20, 2014
One of my readers sent me a link to this IDC report on Amazon. If you cannot read the image, here’s the link verified on July 20, 2014.
Now check out the price of $500. The author is a former IDC expert, Sue Feldman.
Now check out this IDC report on Amazon and note that the price for my work and that of my researchers is $3,500. Notice that Ms. Feldman’s name is on the report. I don’t know if she was employed at IDC when my work was posted on Amazon without my permission. There is one new IDC “expert” name: Dave Schubmehl, a former OpenText and Janya executive. Also, my name is listed almost as an extra.
This is an archived article. IDC removed the report from the Amazon Web site shortly before this update was written.
I wonder if my name and my team’s contribution delivered up to 7X value or was Dave Schubmehl’s contributions the reason for the price boost. What’s clear is that IDC is taking content, using my name, selling reports with my name, and then deleting documents in a stepwise manner.
In any event, thanks to my reader and a pointed reminder to anyone purchasing consulting firm content marketing, find out who provided the information. I would suggest that my team obviously has some value because the former IDC professional’s work was a comparative bargain at $500.
Contracts for reuse of another’s work? No.
Permission to resell my research on Amazon? No.
Payments, sales reports, follow through? No.
What’s that say about well known consulting firm behavior? Exploiting a 70 year old and his research team is one more example of a lapse in common sense, fair play, and corporate governance. Does this seem like a smaller scale version of the Google X Labs’ Forrest Hayes’ matter? I leave you to consider the question and your answer.
Stephen E Arnold, July 20, 2014
January 8, 2014
As SharePoint deployments get more and more involved and customized, many organizations are turning to SharePoint consultants to help launch or refresh implementations. In light of the trend, PR Web looks at the most successful SharePoint consulting firms in the article, “Ten Top SharePoint Consulting Services Issued in December 2013 by bestwebdesignagencies.com.”
The article says:
“The independent authority on web solutions, bestwebdesignagencies.com, has promoted the best SharePoint consulting firms in the mobile development industry for the month of December 2013 . . . The rankings are produced by the independent research team through painstaking testing and analysis to decide the best firms offering SharePoint consulting solutions. To view the ratings of the top SharePoint development services click here.”
Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and frequently covers SharePoint on his information service, ArnoldIT.com. His coverage also points to an increasingly complicated enterprise environment, one that begs for outside expertise and consultation. Users who are in need of such services may find some assistance in the consulting services ranked by bestwebdesignagencies.com.
Emily Rae Aldridge, January 8, 2014
December 30, 2013
SharePoint consulting is always in demand, because as anyone who has attempted to implement or use SharePoint knows, it is not a simple platform. There are lots of options for customization and lots of ways that individual organizations can make it their own. But all of those decisions take time and expertise, so many organizations turn to SharePoint consultants. Check out the latest list of top ranking SharePoint consultants in the article, “Best SharePoint Consulting Consultants Rankings Declared by bestwebdesignagencies.com for December 2013.”
The article begins:
“The ten best SharePoint consulting consultants have been announced by bestwebdesignagencies.com for the month of December 2013. Consultants are showcased based on their achievement in a meticulous analysis of their principal services.”
The article then goes on to list the top performing firms. If your organization is looking for some SharePoint assistance, you may find a good recommendation on the list. And you would not be alone in needing some help. Stephen E. Arnold, a longtime leader in search and brains behind ArnoldIT.com, covers the latest in SharePoint news. He finds that as SharePoint functionality increases, organizations are more frequently outsourcing their customization in an effort to save time and sanity.
Emily Rae Aldridge, December 30, 2013
December 13, 2013
I have been working through some of the archives in my personal file about search vendors. I came across a wonderfully amusing article from DMReview. The article “The Problem with Unstructured Data.”
Here’s the part I have circled in 2003, a decade ago, about the next big thing:
Content intelligence is maturing into an essential enterprise technology, comparable to the relational database. The technology comes in several flavors, namely: search, classification and discovery. In most cases, however, enterprises will want to integrate this technology with one or more of their existing enterprise systems to derive greater value from the embedded unstructured data. Many organizations have identified high-value, content intelligence-centric applications that can now be constructed using platforms from leading vendors. What will make content intelligence the next big trend is how this not-so-new set of technologies will be used to uncover new issues and trends and to answer specific business questions, akin to business intelligence. When this happens, unstructured data will be a source of actionable, time-critical business intelligence.
I can see this paragraph appearing without much of a change in any one of a number of today’s vendors’ marketing collateral.
I just finished an article for about the lack of innovation in search and content processing. My focus in that essay was from 2007 to the present. I will keep my eyes open for examples of jargon and high-flying buzzwords that reach even deeper into the forgotten past of search and retrieval.
The chit chat on LinkedIn about “best” search system is a little disappointing but almost as amusing as this quote from DM Review. Yep, “content intelligence” was the next big thing a decade ago. I suppose that “maturing” process is like the one used for Kentucky bourbon. No oak barrels, just hyperbole, for the search mavens.
Stephen E Arnold, January 26, 2013
October 31, 2013
I spoke with a colleague after my webinar about Google’s “bulletproof vest.” After some small talk about the difficulty some folks having getting actionable information from online services, my colleague asked, “Have you seen ‘Forrester Is Failing Marketers with BS Data about Facebook’”?
After the call I located the article which appeared in Business Insider. I am not sure who owns Business Insider and I don’t know anything about the author of the write up. What was clear to me is that a mid tier consulting firm sure annoyed at least one person.
How did the annoyance surface?
The cause, it seems, was a report by the upscale Forrester consultancy. The write up works through some snippets and methodological observations. The main point of the write up, in my opinion, was:
The Forrester analyst who produced this appeared to have an axe to grind long before they ever got the “data” quoted in this report. The report says: “A handful of notable brands have drawn first blood, announcing they’re leaving Facebook entirely.” The analyst’s endnotes cite only one company, namely General Motors, who (a) did NOT say in May 2012 they were leaving entirely but were just stopping Facebook paid media, and (b) over six months ago said they were also returning to buy Facebook ads once more.
I don’t pay much attention to Facebook. I pay even less attention to the antics of the mid tier consulting companies. What I do pay attention to includes:
- The difficulty I have in figuring out what data are accurate and what data are public relations
- The motivation for certain somewhat snappy analyses. I am not sure if it is a brilliant insight, a desire to outwit Google’s pandas and penguins, or a signal that someone hired a person who just misunderstands certain business facts, events, or models.
- The foam whip up following a flashy report. Folks appear to care a great deal about Facebook, its revenue, and its importance in the advertising world. I suppose my surprise is a result of my living in rural Kentucky, far from the hip hop of Madison Avenue.
Take a look at the write up in Business Insider. Chase down a copy of the Forrester report. Look at Facebook’s financials in today’s frothy investment pool.
I have a simple question. Why do I have to use www.seekky.com to locate information in non English social media. Perhaps the experts should focus on systems that make it easy to use these Facebook-type services? Just a thought. I am delighted the “BS” does not refer to Beyond Search.
Stephen E Arnold, October 31, 2013