Consulting Content Marketing: The Value of a Name

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

SharePoint Consulting Services Ranked

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”

The article says:

“The independent authority on web solutions,, 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, 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

Emily Rae Aldridge, January 8, 2014

SharePoint Consulting Rankings Available

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 for December 2013.”

The article begins:

“The ten best SharePoint consulting consultants have been announced by 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, 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

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Content Intelligence: 2003 and the Next Big Thing

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

Forrester: Unwarranted Criticism?

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:

  1. The difficulty I have in figuring out what data are accurate and what data are public relations
  2. 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.
  3. 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 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

Search Factoid from Research Moz

July 29, 2013

I saw “Global Enterprise Search Market to 2016: Latest Industry Analysis, Strategies, Survey, Size, Share, Growth Trends, and Forecast Research Report Available at Research Moz.” The news release explains that Research Moz has completed a study of the enterprise search market, making an effort to cover every possible angle. The report, unlike other analyses, purposes to cover the Middle East and what I used to think of as the Pacific Rim.

I navigated to Research Moz and learned that the report is 58 pages in length. The most fascinating item in the news release, in my view, was:

Global Enterprise Search market to grow at a CAGR of 12.98 percent over the period 2012-2016.

If the robust growth rate is accurate, the search and content processing firms working hard to cover their payroll can look forward to a brighter future. The information available to me suggests that search is fracturing, making growth estimates difficult. The fastest growing sectors like military intelligence are less than forthcoming about the size of the contracts awarded by various nation states. In addition, the sharp uptake of open source search solutions continues to have an impact of some commercial vendors. Companies which sell services to support information retrieval are, in my view, consulting and engineering firms, not vendors of search solutions.

Research Moz also offers reports on other global markets; for example, pet food.

More information is available at Pricing information was not available.

Stephen E Arnold, July 29, 2013

Sponsored by Xenky

PRatronizer Alert: Have Info for ArnoldIT? Proceed with Caution

July 4, 2013

I am not a journalist. My academic training is in medieval poetry in Latin. I was lucky to get out of high school, college, and a couple of graduate programs. Few people embraced my interest in indexing medieval Latin manuscripts. Among those who made the most fun of my interests were those in journalism school, electrical engineers, and people studying to be middle school teachers.

In graduate school, the mathematics majors found my work interesting and offered grudging respect because one of my relatives was Vladimir Ivanovich Arnold, a co-worker with that so-so math guy, the long distance hiker Andrey Kolmogorov.

I have, therefore, some deep seated skepticism about “real” journalists, folks who carry around soldering irons, and the aforementioned middle school teachers.

Last week I received a semi-snarky email about one of my articles. The person writing me shall remain nameless. I have assembled some thoughts designed to address his question, “Why did you not mention [company A] and [company B] in your article about desktop search. I think this was a for fee column which appeared in KMWorld, but I can’t be sure. My team and I produce a number of “articles” every day, and I am not a librarian, another group granted an exemption from my anti journalist, anti EE, and anti middle school stance.


Let me highlight the points which are important to me. I understand that you, gentle reader, probably do not have much interest. But this is my blog and I am not a journalist.

First, each of my for fee columns which run in four different publications focus on something “sort of” connected to search, online, analytics, knowledge management (whatever that means), and the even more indefinable content processing. I write about topics which my team suggests might be interesting to people younger and smarter than I. In short, PR people stay away. I pay professionals to identify topics for me. I don’t need help from you. I don’t need the PR attitude which I call “PRantronizing.” Is this clear enough? Do not spam me with crazy “news” releases. Do not call me and pretend we are pals. When a call came in yesterday, I was in a meeting with a law librarian. I put the call on the speaker phone and told the caller to know whom she buzzes before she pretends we are pals. The PRatronizer was annoyed. The law librarian said, “None of us on your team are that friendly to you. Heck, I don’t think you are my friend after four years of daily work.” My reaction, “That’s why you are sitting here with me and the PRatronizer is dealing with a firm, ‘Get lost.’”

Read more

A New Report on Search Just in Time for Derby

May 1, 2013

It’s spring in Harrods Creek. The Kentucky Derby marks the beginning of a frenzy of gambling, partying, and social climbing. Spring is also brightened this year by a new report from a big daddy consulting firm. I hesitate to say “azure chip consultant” because so many big time consulting firms have run into a muddy track. Most consulting firms are moving to known methods of boosting revenue. One thing is certain: The marketing horse race is underway. Unlike the Kentucky Derby where the entrants are pretty similar, the horses in the search, content processing, and analytics race are marvelous hybrids. Even though the same words are used to describe some functions, most companies are shaped by their marketing, not their technologies. I think of vendors as having the same bloodline with only the jockeys and their silks differentiating the companies. I suppose that is why there are groupings which are confusing, at least to me.

The particular pair of news announcements in question illustrate this point:

  1. Attivio, “a visionary”. See
  2. Coveo, “a visionary”. See

A number of other companies are sporting labels awarded by a big daddy  consulting firm. I have not seen the “study”, which I hope is based on fact, not marketing. Frankly I am not sure if I understand how big daddy consulting firms conduct their business today in an Adwords world.

Do two firms with the same metatag suggests the type of hybridization of functionality I see?

I find this fascinating because it suggests a similarity between the firms. The firms’ respective Web pages position each company in a different manner: Attivio seems more closely allied to business intelligence via unified information access and Coveo seems more focused on point solutions such as customer support. I probably cannot see the track through the spectators. No surprise there. I am far, far from the burning center  of big time consulting here in rural Harrods Creek.

I do know that both Attivio and Coveo and  have ingested significant venture funding in the last 12 months. (See “Swinging for the Fences and Search.”) Not surprisingly, various promotional and marketing actioins are warranted, if not essential.

Executives at these firms need to differentiate themselves with new companies entering certain market sectors and capturing headlines. Firms in search, content processing, and analytics have to come up with buzz like upstarts who garner headlines in the influential Techcrunch. (See, for example, “Docurated Is An Enterprise Service To Search And Collect The Data You Need From Your Files.”)

Also firms which have been in business a while are interesting because the point at which organic growth kicks is and carries the companies to Endeca-type heights is a signal of the health of the search and content processing sector. What’s interesting to me is that Hewlett Packard has not been emphasizing “search” as a marketing hook for its high profile Autonomy operation.

I will monitor public news releases about companies which sport a very compelling metatag. I don’t think I will be alone in tracking the actions of these and other search “visionaries” which share a very upbeat metatag. Investors and stakeholders will be monitoring the firms as well. I hope I have contributed to the buzz as pesky outfits like SRCH2 and Docurated gallop through the datasphere.

Stephen E Arnold, May 1, 2013

Update: Apology to Ventana Research

April 3, 2013

An update on Ventana. We have no reservations about recommending Ventana and its team for research projects.

The draft story “Big Claims of Analytics Progress” written by Cynthia Murrell was inadvertently published. The write up took the angle that Ventana’s research raised some questions. The wrongly published draft ran on March 29, 2013, was inadvertently posted by me. After doing some checking into this unfortunate matter, I learned that indeed I hit the incorrect button in the WordPress interface.

As a result, a draft story ran as a “ready for publication” story. I certainly do not and did not want to question the professionalism of Ventana and its consulting team.

The article in question was deleted in a routine check of posted write ups, but the links to the story are in various indexes. You may have seen a reference to the story at this link:

When I checked a few moments (8 30 am Eastern) ago, the Silobreaker story was reported “not found.” There was another link to the story at and the story points to another 404 page.

My experience is that when a Beyond Search link goes dark, some indexes drop the link to the source.

So, I am sorry I hit the wrong button, sending a story to the publication queue and not to the “draft” queue for further revision. I apologized yesterday in this story and I have been asked to make clear that I made the error myself.

To be crystal clear, I am sorry that I made the mistake.

If anyone reading Beyond Search wishes to comment or offer additional inputs, please, use the Comments section of the blog.

Stephen E Arnold, April 3, 2013

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Ventana Benchmark Research: A Mistake and a Correction

April 2, 2013

Inadvertently by me or as a result of the same clever teens who hacked our Twitter account, a story about Ventana Research appeared which was not edited for actual release. To set the record straight, I want to quote from the Ventana news release and apologize for this unfortunate error. The item which caught our attention focused on research conducted by Ventana.

You will want to check out “Ventana Research Commences New Benchmark Research on Information Optimization.” Here’s the core of the announcement:

Ventana Research announced today that the firm is set to begin their latest Benchmark Research on Information Optimization. The firm has embarked on this benchmark research to evaluate how technology is used to support better access and utilization of information in business and IT. Information optimization is also a key driver and benefit of the use of big data technology. Information powers today’s businesses, and previous research conducted by Ventana Research indicates that organizations are aware of the challenges associated with accessing and assembling information so that it is useful and relevant. This new research on Information optimization, the latest from the leading business technology research firm, will analyze how organizations collect data, in what forms they collect it, how it is assemble and integrated and how it is best used. The research is designed to provide the building blocks for a foundation for optimizing the use and integration of information, enabling Ventana Research to provide guidance on efficiently and effectively using technology to deliver the right information to business and IT when and how it is needed. This research will also examine organizations’ people, process, information and technology competencies, maturity, trends and best practices in how they make information available to those who need it. The research aims to provide significant new insights into attitudes toward information optimization and the processes they enable. It will help provide information on best practices and practical methods to build a business case for investment. The research will also investigate the most critical information sources and how organizations provide access that critical information to decision makers in the form and cycles they need it.

For more information about Ventana, navigate to

Sorry for the confusion caused by either an error made by me, one of my team, or the folks who seem to find Beyond Search worthy of spoofing. If you have a comment, feel free to use the Comments section of the blog.

Stephen E Arnold, April 2, 2013

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