May 20, 2013
Why What You Do Not Can Bite Your Pocketbook. Marketers Have Their Interests Front and Center, Not the Customers’ Interests
A few days ago, I sat through several presentations about enterprise search. The systems struck me as quite similar. The emphasis was placed on providing basic information access to users. For the purpose of this short essay, I will not make distinctions among search vendors which position themselves as providers of analytics, business intelligence, discovery, and Big Data access, among other synonyms for search and information retrieval.
The missing pieces of the cost puzzle can make budget deficits a reality. A happy quack to Vermont’s Department of Information and Innovation. See the discussion to drive down the cost of doing business. States are paragons of fiscal probity.
However, the talks caused me to reflect on what the vendors left out of their presentations.
Here’s a checklist of the omissions in commercial systems which are now being marketed as an alternative to the high profile and expensive solutions available from Dassault, Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, Microsoft, and Oracle, Each of these large enterprise software vendors acquired one or more search systems. Each has taken steps to integrate search with other enterprise software solutions.
The gap the acquisition of such companies as Autonomy, Exalead, and others is now left to smaller and less well know vendors of search. I don’t want to mention these companies by name, but a quick search of Bing or Google will surface many of the firms vying to become the next $100 million vendor of enterprise search systems.
The first omission is a component which can acquire, normalize, and present textual content in a form the search system can process. For newcomers to enterprise search, the content acquisition process can add significantly to the cost of deploying an enterprise search system. Connectors are available from a number of specialist vendors. Most of the search vendors provide some basic tools for acquiring content. Depending on the organization, the vendor provided tools may be adequate for acquiring documents in text or Web pages in HTML. Other document types may be more problematic. A vendor offering a system which requires documents to be in a supported XML format often emphasizes the system’s ability to slice, dice, parse, and perform certain operations with alacrity. What’s omitted is the time, cost, technical expertise, and work flows required to get content into the search system. Cloud based enterprise search solutions and certain lower cost enterprise search systems leave content to the licensee or offer for fee consulting services to assist with these often complex activities.
May 15, 2013
Enterprise search is a must for American organizations, but new numbers show that enterprise search adoption is also on the rise for European organizations. Read more about the trend in the KM World piece, “Open Source, SharePoint, Big Data and User Experience Take Center Stage at Enterprise Search Europe.”
The author begins:
“Search has been steadily climbing up the attention ladder in many European organizations in recent years, according to Martin White, Conference Chair of Enterprise Search Europe which takes place in London on May 15-16. He identifies a number of reasons for this, ranging from a recognition of the power of open source search applications, the enhanced search functionality in SharePoint 2013, the fact that Big Data initiatives are causing organizations to look at wider issues of information discovery, and the need to improve user experience.”
The author goes on to explore the trend of European organizations seeing search as a long-term investment, and rightly so. When taking this long-term view, organizations are best off with a strong solution that produces results now, but offers a scalable and sustainable future. LucidWorks is one option for these companies who are new to the enterprise search market. Their open source foundation of Apache Lucene/Solr ensures a safe and promising future.
Emily Rae Aldridge, May 15, 2013
May 8, 2013
MapR Technologies M7 Edition is launching MapR into the world of enterprise with a platform for NoSQL and Hadoop. As everyone is trying to find a way to meet the needs of Big Data, MapR wanted to be in the game. Naturally, they sought a partnership with one of the existing leaders in the field, LucidWorks. Read more about their partnership and subsequent product offering in the story, “MapR Technologies Distributes Enterprise-Grade Search with Hadoop Platform.”
The press release begins:
“MapR Technologies, Inc., the Hadoop technology leader, today announced the distribution of LucidWorks Search™ with the MapR Platform for Apache Hadoop. On a single platform customers can now perform predictive analytics, full search and discovery; and conduct advanced database operations. MapR also announced today the general availability of its new M7 Edition which combines unprecedented Hadoop and NoSQL capabilities together in a single easy, dependable and fast platform.”
LucidWorks Search brings the added value of security, connectivity, and user management that are powered by the open source platform of Apache Lucene/Solr. Through LucidWorks and the MapR partnership, these are now fully supported benefits of the solution. The shared vision of MapR and LucidWorks makes this a big win for the enterprise industry and a bigger win for enterprise users.
Emily Rae Aldridge, May 8, 2013
May 6, 2013
In the world of information technology, Gartner is the standard in quality IT research and advisory. Their ranking and awards truly mean something to others in the industry. For this reason, when LucidWorks received their latest commendation from Gartner, people paid attention. Read the full report in the article, “LucidWorks Positioned in the ‘Challengers’ Quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search.”
The report begins:
‘”The LucidWorks product suite transforms the technical and distribution innovations of open source into a cost-effective, commercial-grade solution for building the next generation of business-critical applications,’ said Paul Doscher , president and CEO of LucidWorks. ‘We believe that being named in the ‘Challengers’ quadrant of the Gartner Enterprise Search Magic Quadrant validates the capabilities and flexibility of our existing suite and the business and product roadmaps we are implementing.’”
This is the first ranking of the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search by Gartner. Google, Oracle, and Microsoft were listed as the only three in the “leaders” ranking. The significance of being named as a challenger is that LucidWorks is in a strong enough position to join those big names at the top of the list in the near future. With their investment in a strong open source infrastructure, and their eye toward innovation, LucidWorks will be in the leader category very soon.
Emily Rae Aldridge, May 6, 2013
April 30, 2013
A new start-up is trying to bring Google-like search to the enterprise with its new SRCH2 solution. For quite a while, users have been discussing how to bring the Web search experience to the enterprise market. It seems SRCH2 is hoping to finally achieve that feel. Read more in the Venture Beat article, “SRCH2 Launches Google-like Tech to Fix Enterprise Search.”
The article begins:
“The newly launched startup SRCH2 doesn’t focus on standard web search, a space inhabited by Google and Bing. It’s offering a new take on ‘enterprise search.’ Bhatia considers search companies ElasticSearch and LucidWorks as the primary competition. But he clarifies that these search products are built on top of Lucene. SRCH2 is developed from the ground up.”
Unfortunately for Bhatia and his company SRCH2, what makes LucidWorks a standout is not just its creativity and agility, but its strong track record. Start-ups are great, and often inject a new shot of originality into any given market; however, what enterprise customers are looking for is dependability and security. These are qualities that LucidWorks can stand tall on, and defend now and in the future.
Emily Rae Aldridge, April 30, 2013
April 28, 2013
Is this a fresh angle in the enterprise search game? Gigaom announces, “ManageEngine Hones Enterprise Search for IT Admins.” The key lies in taming the wealth of information IT pros must now deal with every day. Writer Bob Darrow explains:
“Anyone who’s been an IT administrator for a decade or more will tell you of the good old days when there was far too little information about the underlying IT configuration of a given enterprise. Now, the problem is too much information — which can be just as useless unless put into the right context. That’s the issue that ManageEngine said it’s addressing with a new Enterprise Search function for its IT360 IT management software.
“‘There are too many IT consoles, too many vendors — one for network management, one for help desk, one for application performance,’ said Raj Sabhlok, president of ManageEngine’s parent company Zoho. Pity the poor admins who have to piece all that information together to figure out what’s going on, or worse, what went wrong.”
A “Google-like” interface simplifies these challenges, allowing ManageEngine users to search by device name, server type, and so on, and quickly view every relevant instance and associated data. (See the article for a screenshot.) Though this functionality is part of ManageEngine’s overall IT360 on-premises management product, it acts across all relational database backends. It even works, insists Darrow, on competitive management products like SolarWinds. The company is considering offering its Enterprise Search as a standalone package down the road.
Previously known as AdventNet, ManageEngine was founded in 1996. A part of Zoho Corporation, the company is splits its headquarters between Pleasanton, California and Chennai, India. The company’s global roster includes prominent clients like Disney, Sony, and the U.S. Federal Reserve System.
Cynthia Murrell, April 28, 2013
April 17, 2013
Readers of this information service, which I use to keep track of information I find useful for my columns and speeches, know that I have held Autonomy’s marketing in high regard. There are some azure chip consultants and failed webmasters who pointed out that the phrase “meaning based computing” was not particularly useful. I disagreed. Autonomy—the pre acquisition version of the company—was a darned good marketing and sales organization.
What is easily forgotten in today’s “did I get more traffic on my Facebook page” world is that Autonomy excelled in three areas:
- The company was able to enter new markets such as video indexing and fraud detection when other search vendors were running around pitching, “We can index all an organization’s information in one interface.” Autonomy picked a sector and figured out how to paint a compelling story around the IDOL black box, the notion of autonomous operation to reduce some costs, and “meaning based computing.” Competitors responded with a flood of buzz words, which made sense at an off site strategy meeting, but did not translate to simple propositions like “automatic,” reduce costs, and process content in more than 400 different formats.” As a sales pitch, Autonomy did a good job and managed to stay at the top of the search vendor stack in terms of closing deals.
- The company used a combination of buying firms which would permit upsells of IDOL related products and very capable management methods to help make the deals pay off. Examples range from the Zantaz buy and the subsequent leveraging of that firm’s technology into cloud service. Autonomy bought Interwoven and pulled together its marketing services into a reasonably compelling bundle of analytics with IDOL sauce.
- Autonomy developed what I thought were clever products and services which caught the eye of certain customers and helped the firm enter new markets. Examples range from the now mostly forgotten Kenjin (a smart desktop service) to Aurasma, a virtual reality service for print advertisers.
HP’s management and advisors paid a lot of money to own Autonomy. Like most search and content processing acquisitions, the realties of running a company in this very tough sector became apparent after a few months. I am not interested in the financial and legal battles underway. What’s important is that HP purchased a company, and HP now has to make it work.
A very interesting pair of articles or semi-marketing type articles appeared in eWeek on April 16, 2013. The first is “HP’s Autonomy: 10 Ways It’s Contributing to HP’s Hardware Story.” These slideshows are ways to get page views. Please, flip through the images in the slideshow. Here’s what I noted:
First, HP seems to acknowledge that turnover and management of the HP version of Autonomy has been a problem. The slideshow calls this a “rebirth”. But the big news from a marketing historian’s point of view is that “meaning based computing” is gone and replaced by “the OS for human information.” I find this fascinating. On one hand, competitors can now carp at the scope of the IDOL technology. On the other, in this social buzzword era, “human information” is actually quite a nice turn of phrase. I won’t make a big deal of the fact that when IDOL’s fraud detection algorithms are working on content, the data does not have to be “human” at all. It can be based on a person’s credit transaction, but algorithms for fraud work on machine and human generated information. No big deal because such distinctions are not of interest in today’s here and now environment.
Second, I did not notice much emphasis on search and retrieval. For someone familiar with Autonomy IDOL, I suppose that search is self evident. Autonomy, however, is mostly an information access system. The add ons were, as I noted above, were extensions or wrappers of the IDOL core, based on Bayesian methods and enhanced in many ways since the mid 1990s. Yep, Autonomy’s technology may seem magical to HP management, but it has been around a while and does not perform some of the functions which Google backed Recorded Future performs or which a skilled SAP programmer can crank out. To me, this is a big deal because it underscores the futility of HP’s trying to make big money deals based on plain old search. Companies chasing search deals are not landing huge deals like those HP needs to make its top line grow.
Third, the “10 ways” are focused almost exclusively on Autonomy capabilities which have been available for a long time. I think that the notion of putting Autonomy functions in a printer interesting, but that idea has been floating around for years. I heard presentations from Intel and Xerox which talked about putting content processing in hardware. Interesting stuff, but the “10 ways” are useful because each makes clear to competitors where HP’s marketing and sales will be going. Examples include using Autonomy for customer support, content management.
The second write up is “HP’s Autonomy Focused on Big Data, Cloud, Mobile, Security: GM”.
This write up contains a number of quite useful insights into HP Autonomy. The “voice” of the article is Robert Youngjohns, the HP manager for the Autonomy unit. I found a number of passages which warrant quoting. I want to highlight three snippets from the three page article. You can get the complete picture in the original article which is worth reading carefully.
First, the story contains the reference to “magical”. Autonomy is math, not magic. The use of the word “magical” is fascinating. It suggests that Autonomy goes well beyond what “normal” content processing can deliver.
Second, the interview lays out the markets which Autonomy will focus upon. These are, as I understand the lingo, big data, information governance, and digital marketing. I am not sure what these phrases encompass, but it is clear that “search” is not playing a front and center role.
Third, there is acknowledgment that the content archiving market is important. The pairing of Autonomy and various HP products is significant. Autonomy will be, to some degree, baked into other HP products and services. This is, in my opinion, an extension of the formula which made Autonomy a revenue producer prior to its sale to HP.
Net net: The Autonomy for 2013 will be fascinating to monitor.
Stephen E Arnold, April 17, 2013
April 11, 2013
Sinequa is one of the leaders in enterprise search and unified information access, including the emerging big data market. The firm, based in Paris, provides large enterprises and administrations with the means to tame the complexity of their structured and unstructured data and to extract value from large volumes of very heterogeneous data.
Eurocopter was looking for a solution that could meet all its different professional needs in the context of accessing relevant information, rather than creating a specific solution for each profession.
After a proof of concept, Sinequa won the contract competing against a number of big players in the search market. The Sinequa replaced Eurocopter’s existing solution provided by a vendor recently acquired by a large conglomerate.
Eurocopter embraced Sinequa’s “grid architecture” because the approach provides effective scaling. Eurocopter has implemented a five-node Sinequa Grid distributed across the sites at Marignane (Grance), Donauwörth (Germany), and La Courneuve (France). This architecture can easily be extended to subsidiaries in America and Asia.
At this time, two business solutions are in operation. The first is access to technical data for a group of about 800 technical experts. The second provides access to the information on the Eurocopter Intranet. The system supports approximately 15.000 employees of the group working from locations throughout the world.
The Eurocopter professionals working in technical support require relevant information not only in technical data and documentation contained in such systems as Filenet and in operating systems’ file systems and emails. The unified information access offered by the Sinequa platform these Eurocopter professionals assemble the relevant information pertaining to a client case in one structured space. The content in the Sinequa “space” is easily navigated and accessed. In addition, the system provides access to the image bank of helicopters covers four languages: French, German, Spanish, and English. The unified access to data on the Intranet is simpler and offers a new navigation based on search.
Sinequa’s linguistic capabilities help analyze users’ requests as well as the contents of documents. Sinequa’s linguistic methods optimize the relevance of information delivered and, thus, reduce search time to a minimum. Filters and a taxonomy specific to Eurocopter’s activity are used to facilitate the extraction of technical terms from content processed by the Sinequa system.
Due to a high performance generalized search, each and every employee can now find, in real time, the specific information they need for their work images, rules and regulations, agreements, procedures, reports, and forms).
In coming months, Eurocopter plans to extending the usage of Sinequa’s unified information access to other business applications, including
the indexation of further applications, such as product lifecycle management and customer relationship management.
Stephen E Arnold, April 11, 2013
Sponsored by HighGain
April 3, 2013
This week, the Text Radar big data and advanced intelligence blog covered a variety of stories that were pertinent to the realm of big data and advanced intelligence systems.
One of the advantages of big data analytics technology is that it allows marketers to take a more targeted advertising approach to their customers. “Advertising Gets More Personalized and Customized with Big Data” explains how technology and analytics are providing more personalized and customized ads.
The article states:
“Checking out one’s Facebook page provides lots of information about a person in such ways as their likes and where they travel, etc. And, by customers registering with a company site, codes can be placed in a customer’s computer to follow other sites that person visits, and when. In addition, companies are targeting prospective customers with ads that are meaningful and more targeted and will pay-off in the end. The internet and metrics on search engines have changed the way ad agencies are doing business. Companies can now learn from ‘clicks’ how to advertise and valuable details that lead to more targeted successful ads.”
Microtargeting can have a similar impact, according to “Microtargeting the Way of the Future of Business.” The article explains the impact of the technical and political masterminds behind the 2012 Obama/Biden presidential campaign.
Text Radar writer Alice Wilson comments:
“Team Obama changed the way political campaigns will compete in the future. And, you can be sure microtargeting tools with accompanying skills will be in the mix. This same method will be incorporated in all levels of business plans as well.”
The final article that I would like to highlight explains the impact that big data is having on health care. “Crunching Medical Big Data Helps to Find Correct Therapy” provides a story about a baby that was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes but did not respond well to the typical regimen of treatment.
The takeaway is this:
“We’ll discover a lot about ourselves and our diseases from big data — assessing the outcomes of different therapies and finding out in retrospect what works best for who. We will then match that against our gene sequences, which may be stored confidentially at birth. If Cameron Lundfelt had been born a few years later, his parents and doctors would perhaps have known before his symptoms had even appeared that he had monogenic diabetes type KCNJ11. And they would have known immediately what to do.”
It does not matter what industry your company falls into. Big data analytics solutions are going to benefit you not matter what. Smartlogic’s Semaphore Content Intelligence Platform has been recognized as an industry leader and it is useful when helping companies make smarter business decisions.
Jasmine Ashton, April 3, 2013
April 3, 2013
Some of the search and content processing companies are feeling the economic squeeze. BA Insight, based in New York, does not have this problem. I learned this morning that BA Insight closed a $4.5 million round of funding. The news release sent to me by Big Swing said:
BA Insight’s advanced search technology redefines how people access siloed information and collaborate. Organizations are increasingly dealing with rapidly growing volumes of structured and unstructured data, the inability to integrate information from legacy systems, and the move of many organizational systems to the cloud. As a result they often lack insight into critical business information. BA Insight enables enterprises to bring this information together for users, giving them actionable insights into customers, products, projects, expertise and more.
The key point that jumped out at me was this statement:
“Enterprise search is broken,” said Philip Eliot, Principal at Paladin Capital Group, “and BA Insight is unique in its ability to deliver useful information to the enterprise regardless of where, when and how they need it. Their solutions revolutionize information access.” “Our continued investment in BA Insight reflects our confidence in the ability of BA Insight’s platform to transform search into a powerful weapon for the enterprise,” said Todd Pietri, co-founder and General Partner of Milestone Venture Partners. “BA Insight delivers tools that enable organizations to leverage their investments in existing solutions and expose data in an actionable, relevant way.”
Stephen E Arnold, April 3, 2013
Sponsored by Augmentext