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Attivio ReachesTop 100 Status

June 29, 2015

The Data Dexterity Company announced the brand new Database Trends and Applications (DBTA) 100 and according to Yahoo Finance, Attivio is now on the list: “Attivio Named By Database Trends Applications To Its Prestigious Top 100 List.”

“We are pleased to be recognized by Database Trends and Applications as one of the most important firms in the data space; it further validates the type of feedback that our customers provide on a daily basis,” said Stephen Baker, CEO of Attivio. “As firms continue to be more reliant on maximizing their data to drive business-critical insights, we expect to play a critical role in driving this type of business innovation.”

Attivio joins the ranks of other companies that have made huge innovations in the data industry; they include EMC, Amazon, IBM, and more.  Attivio is an industry leader in enterprise systems with its intelligence search platform.  Attivio’s search platform enables users to make immediate insights with data visibility.  Attivio has a well-known client use that encompasses such names as National Instruments, Nexen, GE, UBS, and Qualcomm.  The company believes that there are many innovations to be made from all types, not just the type that is easily found in a database.  Attivio uses its search platform to uncover insights in unstructured data that would otherwise be missed by other enterprise search platforms.

We have been following Attivio for many years and by having its name added to DBTA 100 proves it can perform well and deliver useful results.  Enterprise search continues to be an important factor for enterprise systems, though people are often forgetting that today.  Attivio’s addition to the DBTA 100 stresses that not everyone has forgotten.

Whitney Grace, June 29, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Major SharePoint Features Disclosed

June 23, 2015

SharePoint Server 2016 has caused quite a stir, with users wondering what features will come through in the final version. At Microsoft Ignite last month, rumors turned to legitimate features. Read more about separating fact from fiction in the newest SharePoint release in the CIO article, “Top 4 Revelations about SharePoint.”

The article begins:

“Some of the biggest news to come out of Microsoft Ignite last month was the introduction and the first public demonstration of SharePoint Server 2016 – a demo that quelled a lot of speculation and uneasiness in the SharePoint administrator community. Here are the biggest takeaways from the conference, with an emphasis on the on-premises product.”

The article goes on to say that users can look forward to a full on-premises version, bolstered administrative features, four roles to divide the workload, and an emphasis on hybrid functions.  For users that need to stay in the loop with SharePoint updates and changes, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.com. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search, and his Web site offers a unique SharePoint feed to keep all the latest tips, tricks, and news in one convenient location.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 23, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Cloud Search: Are Data Secure?

June 19, 2015

I have seen a flurry of news announcements about Coveo’s cloud based enterprise search. You can review a representative example by reading “Coveo Lassos the Cloud for Enterprise Search.” Coveo is also aware of the questions about security. See “How Does Coveo Secure Your Data and Services.”

With Coveo’s me-too cloud service, I thought about other vendors which offer cloud-based solutions. The most robust based on our tests is Blossom Search. The company was founded by Dr. Alan Feuer, a former Bell Labs’ wizard. When my team was active in government work, we used the Blossom system to index a Federal law enforcement agency’s content shortly after Blossom opened for business in 1999. As government procurements unfold, Blossom was nosed out by an established government contractor, but the experience made clear:

  1. Blossom’s indexing method delivered near real time updates
  2. Creating and building an initial index was four times faster than the reference system against which we test Dr. Feuer’s solution. (The two reference systems were Fast Search & Transfer and Verity.)
  3. The Blossom security method conformed to the US government guidelines in effect at the time we did the work.

I read “Billions of Records at Risk from Mobile App Data Flow.” With search shifting from the desktop to other types of computing devices, I formulated several questions:

  1. Are vendors deploying search on clouds similar to Amazon’s system and method ensuring the security of their customers’ data? Open source vendors like resellers of Elastic and proprietary vendors like MarkLogic are likely to be giving some additional thought to the security of their customers’ data.
  2. Are licensees of cloud based search systems performing security reviews as we did when we implemented the Blossom search system? I am not sure if the responsibility for this security review rests with the vendor, the licensee, or a third party contracted to perform the work.
  3. How secure are hybrid systems; that is, an enterprise search or content processing system which pulls, processes, and stores customer data across disparate systems? Google, based on my experience, does a good job of handling search security for the Google Search Appliance and for Site Search. Other vendors may be taking similar steps, but the information is not presented with basic marketing information.

My view is that certain types of enterprise search may benefit from a cloud based solution. There will be other situations in which the licensee has a contractual or regulatory obligation to maintain indexes and content in systems which minimize the likelihood that alarmist headlines like “Billions of Records at Risk from Mobile App Data Flow.”

Security is the search industry’s industry of a topic which is moving up to number one with a “bullet.”

Stephen E Arnold, June 19, 2015

Enterprise Search: The Last Half of 2015

June 16, 2015

I saw a link this morning to an 11 month old report from an azure chip consulting firm. You know, azure chip. Not a Bain, BCG, Booz Allen, or McKinsey which are blue chip firms. A mid tier outfit. Business at the Boozer is booming is the word from O’Hare Airport, but who knows if airport gossip is valid.

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Which enterprise search vendor will come up a winner in December 2015?

What is possibly semi valid are analyses of enterprise search vendors. The “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search” triggered some fond memories of the good old days in 2003 when the leaders in enterprise search were brands or almost brands. You probably recall the thrilling days of these information retrieval leaders:

  • Autonomy, the math oriented outfit with components names like neuro linguistic programming and integrated data operating layer and some really big name customers like BAE
  • Convera, formerly Excalibur with juice from ConQuest (developer by a former Booz, Allen person no less)
  • Endeca, the all time champ for computationally intensive indexing
  • Fast Search & Transfer, the outfit that dumped Web search in order to take over the enterprise search sector
  • Verity, ah, truth be told, this puppy’s architecture ensured plenty of time to dash off and grab a can of Mountain Dew.

In 2014, if the azure chip firm’s analysis is on the money, the landscape was very different. If I understand the non analytic version of Boston Consulting Group’s matrix from 1970, the big players are:

  • Attivio, another business intelligence solution using open source technology and polymorphic positioning for the folks who have pumped more than $35 million into the company. One executive told me via LinkedIn, that the SEC investigation of an Attivio board member had zero impact on the company. I like the attitude. Bold.
  • BA Insight, a business software vendor focused on making SharePoint somewhat useful and some investors with deepening worry lines
  • Coveo, a start up which is nudging close to a decade in age, and more than $30 million in venture backing. I wonder if those stakeholders are getting nervous.
  • Dassault Systèmes, the owner of Exalead, who said in the most recent quarterly report that the company was happy, happy, happy with Exalead but provided no numbers and no detail about the once promising technology
  • Expert System, an interesting company with a name that makes online research pretty darned challenging
  • Google, ah, yes, the proud marketer of the ever thrilling Google Search Appliance, a product with customer support to make American Airlines jealous
  • Hewlett Packard Autonomy, now a leader in the acrimonious litigation field
  • IBM, ah, yes, the cognitive computing bunch from Armonk. IBM search is definitely a product that is on everyone’s lips because the major output of the Watson group is a book of recipes
  • IHS, an outfit which is banking on its patent analysis technology to generate big bucks in the Goldmine cellophane
  • LucidWorks (Really?), a repackager of open source search and a distant second to Elastic (formerly Elasticsearch, which did not make the list. Darned amazing to me.)
  • MarkLogic, a data management system trying to grow with a proprietary XML technology that is presented as search, business intelligence, and a tool for running a restaurant menu generation system. Will MarkLogic buy Smartlogic? Do two logics make a rational decision?
  • Mindbreeze, a side project at Fabasoft which is the darling of the Austrian government and frustrated European SharePoint managers
  • Perceptive Software, which is Lexmark’s packaging of ISYS Search Software. ISYS incorporates technology from – what did the founder tell me in 2009? – oh, right, code from the 1980s. Might it not be tough to make big bucks on this code base? I have 70 or 80 million ideas about the business challenge such a deal poses
  • PolySpot, like Sinequa, a French company which does infrastructure, information access, and, of course, customer support
  • Recommind, a legal search system which has delivered a down market variation of the Autonomy-type approach to indexing. The company is spreading its wings and tackling enterprise search.
  • Sinequa, another one of those quirky French companies which are more flexible than a leotard for an out of work acrobat

But this line up from the azure chip consulting omits some companies which may be important to those looking for search solutions but not so much for azure chip consultants angling for retainer engagements. Let me highlight some vendors the azure chip crowd elected to ignore:

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Paper.Li Enterprise Search Punts

June 15, 2015

Short honk: I monitor the automated “newsletter” called The Enterprise Search Daily. I am not sure how one receives this publication, but I use this url. In the last few days, there has been minimal—maybe zero—enterprise search news. The publication appears to recycle information about Big Data and text analytics. We will continue to report on the search flounders, oops, I mean, search vendors who offer enterprise search solutions. The problem is that venture backed enterprise search start ups will have to do some fancy dancing to explain why a search for enterprise search brings up items like this:

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The Beyond Search team will soldier on with one comment: Enterprise search does not do Big
Data without some careful wordsmithing.

Stephen E Arnold, June 15, 2015

Is Time Running Out for Non Performing, Venture Funded Enterprise Search Vendors?

June 12, 2015

Gee, impatient venture capital firms, grousing partners hungry for a payday, and agitated stakeholders, are these usually cheerful folks worrying about getting their money back with a hefty profit? My hunch is that some who wrote checks might be thinking about a vacation at WalMart instead of a couple of weeks bouncing around Europe or looking at animals in Africa from a Land Rover.

Navigate to “Something Is Rotting under Silicon Valley.” The point of the write up is that the sunshine and unicorn crowd may be getting nervous. The write up points out:

Only seven VC-backed tech companies have gone public so far this year, with just one more (Fitbit) currently on the pricing calendar for June. At this rate, 2015 could go down as the slowest year for VC-backed tech IPOs since the throes of the financial crisis. Moreover, there have been only two strategic sales of VC-backed tech companies valued at over $1 billion (Lynda.com to LinkedIn and Virtustream to EMC).

Forget training (online and walking around the parking lot). The worry may be that some outfits which have sucked in tens of millions of dollars may have — gasp! — liquidity issues and a downward valuation.

The article states:

A less charitable rationale is that too few of these companies [VC bets] have imposed the tough internal discipline — particularly in terms of burn rate — that public equity investors demand. Either way, limited partners in VC funds aren’t getting paid.

What about search? With the implosion of the proprietary search sector and the vaporization of substantive news reports about bubbling sales and profits, the enterprise search sector looks like a The Man with No Man desert scene. The LinkedIn enterprise search groups are somewhat low key. Hello, is anyone there? The automated Paper.Li enterprise search paper is stuffed with information about Big Data. More importantly, Attivio has pivoted… again. Coveo whips the customer support thing. Lucidworks is promising to have a mission. The European enterprise search vendors are making little noise. When did you hear about Exalead, Intrafind, or the stub of Fast deep in the folds of Microsoftland?

My hunch is that this Fortune Magazine article has identified what may be a “Houston, we have a problem” moment for venture funded search vendors. Is there a fix? Nah, just use Elastic or another open source solution. Good news for those who need utility search. Bad news for the bankish MBAs who bet that certain investments would just spin cash.

Here’s another passage I noted in the article:

If I’m a venture capitalist, it might be time to stop staring at the sun and take a peek at the darkening clouds.

Yep, might be time to check out the actual weather, not the pretend environment in those PowerPoints.

Stephen E Arnold, June 12, 2015

An Enterprise Search Mini Case: LucidWorks and Its Accelerating Mission

June 11, 2015

I read “Lucidworks Accelerates Product Focused Mission with Major Fusion Upgrades.” LucidWorks (Really?)—né Lucid Imagination—appears to be working on products. (Note that the company names appears in different ways: “Lucidworks” with variants “LucidWorks”, “Lucid Works,” and “lucidworks”.)

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Lucidworks wants to accelerate its mission. Will this be a quick and easy task?

Flashback in time. Lucid Imagination was founded in 2007. You can read about the vision of the company in interviews with these Lucid (no pun intended) executives:

  • Marc Krellenstein, formerly Northern Light and one of the founders of Lucid Imagination, March 17, 2009
  • Brian Pinkerton, formerly, December 21, 2010, possibly Amazon?
  • Paul Doscher, formerly with Exalead, April 16, 2012
  • Miles Kehoe, formerly New Idea Engineering, January 29, 2013, now a consultant
  • Mark Bennett, formerly New Idea Engineering, March 4, 2014

These interviews make clear the difficult journey that Lucid Imagination took. (What is interesting is that Lucid’s principal competitor was Elasticsearch, now Elastic. That company came from obscurity to the go-to provider of open source search. To be fair, Shay Bannon, founder of Elastic, had compiled considerable experience with the Compass open source search system.)

Why did I cover Lucid in five interviews?

The reason is that open source search appeared to be the salve to soothe the wounds inflicted by proprietary search system vendors. Satisfaction with search was declining. Users were disaffected with high profile proprietary brands. The community approach addressed, in part, the brutal research, development, and customer support costs which search drags to each meeting with stakeholders.

Lucid had a lead; Elastic benefited. Lucid seeks a focus; Elastic is serving customers. Lucid would be an excellent business school case study, ranking at the top along with the Hewlett Packard Autonomy search situation and the Fast Search criminal charges matter. That is rarified case study company.

In the interviews cited above, it is clear that Lucid embraced Solr and made an attempt to emulate the full featured approach to content processing exemplified by Autonomy and Fast Search & Transfer. Elastic, on the other hand, took a more direct approach, relying on Lucene for the heavy lifting, and narrowing its focus to tools which were almost utilitarian. Want to search a log file? Go with Elastic.

The other key difference is the lack of managerial drama at Elastic. Elastic’s management team appears, at least to this observer in Kentucky, as stable. Lucid, on the other hand, has seen the departure of founders early in the company’s history. Presidents arrived and departed. Marketers appeared and disappeared. Major committers joined and then jumped ship; for example, Brian Pinkerton ended up at Amazon, working on its search product. Yonik Seeley also left to start his own search company Heliosearch. Dr. Krellenstein went from strong supported of Lucid to a disaffected founded. He quit.

As recently as September 2014, Lucid Works featured in “Trouble at LucidWorks: Lawsuits, Lost Deals, and Layoffs Plague the Search Startup Despite Funding.” The headline makes several points. First, LucidWorks has ingested more than $40 million, which puts it on a par with Attivio and Coveo in the money department. But Elastic garnered about $70 million at about the same time. The headline also reveals the disjunctions among managers, regardless of which president was on watch. And, the headline focuses on the point that it is a search vendor, which is not in my opinion a particularly magnetic positioning for software.

According to the “Trouble at LucidWorks” article The Guardian and Nordstrom’s abandoned Lucid’s software. The less than flattering Venture Beat story added:

The situation seems to have worsened following shakeups in the sales team, leaving young salespeople inexperienced in the enterprise-software game trying to win deals. “I don’t think any of the sales team hits (their) number except one guy,” said a former employee. And that one guy has resorted to “dropping his pants,” as the sales expression goes, promising to significantly chop the price of a service if his lead commits to buying right away, a different former employee said. The sales goals aren’t increasing. The revenue target for the year is $12 million, right in line with last year, that former employee said. And it doesn’t help that LucidWorks has fumbled with partnerships it was trying to get in place. It was working on alliances with Amazon Web Services, Intel, and Splunk, one former employee told VentureBeat. “Will [Hayes] imploded that with comments he made in the final agreement,” that former employee said of one partnership. And after Hayes stepped up as chief executive in June, he’s laid off people in marketing, sales, and business development. On the technology side of the company, meanwhile, employees have missed deadlines for shipping software to customers, month after month, another former employee said. Outside the office, the company has other distractions — in court, to be exact. Mike Moody, a former senior vice president of engineering at LucidWorks who was terminated in December, sued LucidWorks and certain executives in February for unlawful termination, according to documents submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. LucidWorks is also ensnared in a case it filed against Seeley, one of its founders, in the Superior Court of California, San Mateo County. “This is a case about double-dealing on an employer, which arises from the secretive founding and launching of the company Heliosearch by Yonik Seeley before his resignation from his former employer LucidWorks in October 2013,” the complaint begins. “Unknown to LucidWorks, while Seeley was still employed by LucidWorks, he simultaneously was working directly against LucidWorks’ interests by developing and promoting his new venture Heliosearch as a competing alternative to LucidWorks.”

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Jury Is Still Out on Microsoft Delve

June 11, 2015

Sometimes hailed as Pinterest for the enterprise, Microsoft Delve is a combination of search, social, and machine learning, which produces an information hub of sorts. Delve is also becoming a test subject, as enterprise experts decide whether such offerings intrude into users’ workflow, or enhance productivity. Read more in the Search Content Management article, “Microsoft Delve May Drive Demand for Office365.”

The article summarizes the issue:

“As Microsoft advances further in its mobile-first, cloud-first strategy, new offerings such as Microsoft Delve are piquing companies’ curiosity but also raising eyebrows. Many companies will have to gauge whether services like Delve can enhance worker productivity or run the risk of being overly intrusive.”

As SharePoint unveils more about its SharePoint Server 2016, more will become known about how it functions along with all of its parts, including Delve. It will be up to the users to determine how efficient the new offerings will be, and whether they help or hinder a regular workflow. Until the latest versions become available for public release, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.com for the latest news regarding SharePoint and how it may affect your organization. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and his work on SharePoint is a great go-to resource for users and managers alike.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 11, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Enterprise Search Excitement: HP Autonomy Litigation News

June 10, 2015

It is not the weekend and there is some minor Hewlett Packard Autonomy litigation news. I read “HP to Pay $100 Million to Settle Case Tied to Autonomy Deal.” The write up reports that HP will pay $100 million to a settlement fund. In the words of the write up, the money is

to resolve a lawsuit stemming from an impairment charge HP took after paying $10 billion for the British company. The money will go to people who bought HP shares between Aug. 19, 2011 and Nov. 20, 2012.

According to write up, the litigation “has no merit.” If so, $100 million is a hefty chunk for something that is fairy dust.

One consequence of the HP Autonomy dust up is that enterprise search vendors are using some artful metaphors to describe their systems’ capabilities. With the Fast Search problem in Norway and the HP Autonomy issue in the US and the UK, enterprise search vendors have certain made me aware of the consequences of having a disagreement over business models and accounting.

Which enterprise search vendor is next in line to make headlines. I have heard that the Lexmark search push has resulted in some frowns and indigestion. Vivisimo has disappeared into the maelstrom of IBM and its software. Oracle is sending what I interpret as mixed signals about the benefits of its hat trick in search: Endeca, InQuira, and RightNow.

My view is that it is tough be a search vendor looking for traction using words like customer support and business intelligence. Worth watching the HP Autonomy imbroglio and the wordsmithing of vendors trying to sidestep the shockwave of high profile search vendor legal activities.

Stephen E Arnold, June 9, 2015

SharePoint: Enterprise Search Which Will Never Ever Let You Lose Anything Again

May 30, 2015

Bold assertion. I read “Why Using Microsoft SharePoint Will Improve Your Business Performance with a Simple Search Feature.” Memorable for several reasons:

  1. SharePoint has “amazing search capabilities.” (I mistakenly understood that the “new” SharePoint search was not yet available. Oh, well, I am in Harrod’s Creek, not a “nice venue in London.” Search is better when viewed from a “nice venue” I assume.
  2. I will never lose anything again. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the “anything” refers to a document I created and either parked intentionally or had parked for me by Microsoft’s “amazing” SharePoint. I note that the statement is a categorical, and then often present logical challenges to someone who asks, “Really? What’s the evidence you have to back up this wild and frisky claim?”
  3. I note that I can type a word or phrase to “surface every relevant document across all of the sites I have access to.” The author adds, “It’s brilliant.” Okay, got it, but I don’t believe it based on observation, our own hands on experiences, and the weed pile of third party vendors who insist their software actually makes SharePoint usable. I would list them, but you probably have these outfits’ burned into your memory.

What is interesting is that the focus of the write up seems to be Microsoft Dynamics GP. It is mentioned a couple of time. There are also references to Delve, another Microsoft search system.

Frankly I am not sure if the cheerleading for “brilliant” search is credible. We have worked on projects in organizations where SharePoint is the “pluming.” In a conference call last week, the client, a relatively large outfit in the Fortune 100, reported these “issues” with SharePoint:

  • Users cannot locate documents created within 24 hours and written to the designated SharePoint device
  • Documents in a results list do not include the version of the document for which the user searches
  • Images of purchase orders for a company issued with a unique code cannot be retrieved
  • Queries take more time than a Google query to complete
  • The information about employees with specific expertise is not complete; that is, there will be no data about education or certain projects
  • Collaboration is flakey
  • The system crashes.

I could work through the list, but the point is that SharePoint is big business for those who get a job to maintain it and, in theory, make it work. SharePoint is the fertile field in which third party vendors plant applications to improve on what Microsoft offers. There are integrators who have specialized skills and want SharePoint to remain the money tree plantation the consultants have come to call home.

In short, what can one believe about Microsoft search? Delve into that.

Stephen E Arnold, May 30, 2015

 

Stephen E Arnold, June 2, 2015

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