A New Partnership For Better Organization

October 28, 2014

Partnerships offer companies ways to improve their product quality and create new ones. Semantic Web reports that “Expert System And WAND Partner For A More Effective Management Of Enterprise Information.” Expert System is a leading semantic technology company and WAND is known for its enterprise taxonomies. Their new partnership will allow businesses to have a better and more accurate way to organize data.

Each company brings unique features to the partnership:

“The combination of the strengths of each company, on one side WAND’s unique expertise in the development of enterprise taxonomies and Expert System’s Cogito on the other side with its unique capability to analyze written text based on the comprehension of the meaning of each word, not only ensures the highest quality possible, but also opens up the opportunity to tackle the complexity of enterprise information management. With this new joint offer, companies will finally have full support for a faster and flexible information management process and immediate access to strategic information.”

Enterprise management teams are going to get excited about how Expert System and WAND will improve taxonomy selection and have more native integration with in-place data systems. One of the ways the two will combine their strengths is with the new automatic classification: when a WAND taxonomy is selecting, Expert System brings in its semantic based categorization rules and an engine for automatic categorization.

Whitney Grace, October 28, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Connecting Enterprise Content Management to SharePoint

October 23, 2014

In the enterprise, anything that makes creating connections easier is a necessity. And it seems that open source has had a greater and greater role to play in facilitating connections between content, especially in conjunction with SharePoint. The latest news comes out of CMS Wire in their article, “Alfresco Connects ECMs To SharePoint.”

The article begins:

“Alfresco just reaffirmed its good-guy enterprise content management (ECM) credentials. It’s contributing an open source integration called Chemistry Pars to the Apache Software Foundation. Using Chemistry Parts, enterprises will be able to connect Microsoft SharePoint to just about any major ECM system on the market — including Alfresco, obviously — using the open standard Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS).”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search with an interest in SharePoint. He maintains ArnoldIT.com and created a separate SharePoint feed for those who need to keep up with all the latest news, tips, and tricks. Keep an eye out for all the latest industry updates. Arnold will make them available.

Emily Rae Aldridge, October 23, 2014

Android in the Enterprise

September 16, 2014

Can a deal with HP help Google’s Android catch up to Apple’s iOS in the business market? According to Business Insider, “Google Is Chasing Apple’s Mega Deal with IBM.” The potential deal is said to revolve around Google Now, which would serve as a voice-search tool for company information. Considering Apple’s recent partnership with IBM, the timing here is interesting. However, despite the certainty implied in the BI headline, Google seems to be playing it cool. Writer Eugene Kim reports:

“The report [at the paywall-guarded site The Information] said the two companies have been in talks for about a year now, though Google hasn’t shown as much interest in the deal so far. But HP could be a potential partner since it has deep roots in enterprise clients and has been developing a mobile search product nicknamed ‘Enterprise Siri,’ according to the report.

“In fact, HP had discussed the ‘Enterprise Siri’ idea with Apple earlier this year, before Apple announced its partnership with IBM last month, the report said. It also said HP at one point pitched the idea of building a Nexus phone for businesses, with advanced encryption features, which was turned down by then-Android head, Andy Rubin.”

So, as of this writing we don’t really know whether this deal will go through. One thing seems certain—Google will have to do something if it wants to catch up to Apple in the enterprise. Is this deal with HP the answer, or is the famously innovative company eyeing some other solution(s)?

Cynthia Murrell, September 16, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Google and Findability without the Complexity

July 28, 2014

Shortly after writing the first draft of Google: The Digital Gutenberg, “Enterprise Findability without the Complexity” became available on the Google Web site. You can find this eight page polemic at http://bit.ly/1rKwyhd or you can search for the title on—what else?—Google.com.

Six years after the document became available, Google’s anonymous marketer/writer raised several interesting points about enterprise search. The document appeared just as the enterprise search sector was undergoing another major transformation. Fast Search & Transfer struggled to deliver robust revenues and a few months before the Google document became available, Microsoft paid $1.2 billion for what was another enterprise search flame out. As you may recall, in 2008, Convera was essentially non operational as an enterprise search vendor. In 2005, Autonomy bought the once high flying Verity and was exerting its considerable management talent to become the first enterprise search vendor to top $500 million in revenues. Endeca was flush with Intel and SAP cash, passing on other types of financial instruments due to the economic downturn. Endeca lagged behind Autonomy in revenues and there was little hope that Endeca could close the gap between it and Autonomy.

Secondary enterprise search companies were struggling to generate robust top line revenues. Enterprise search was not a popular term. Companies from Coveo to Sphinx sought to describe their information retrieval systems in terms of functions like customer support or database access to content stored in MySQL. Vivisimo donned a variety of descriptions, culminating in its “reinvention” as a Big Data tool, not a metasearch system with a nifty on the fly clustering algorithm. IBM was becoming more infatuated with open source search as a way to shift development an bug fixes to a “community” working for the benefit of other like minded developers.

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Google’s depiction of the complexity of traditional enterprise search solutions. The GSA is, of course, less complex—at least on the surface exposed to an administrator.

Google’s Findability document identified a number of important problems associated with traditional enterprise search solutions. To Google’s credit, the company did not point out that the majority of enterprise search vendors (regardless of the verbal plumage used to describe information retrieval) were either losing money or engaged in a somewhat frantic quest for financing and sales).

Here are the issues Google highlighted:

  • User of search systems are frustrated
  • Enterprise search is complex. Google used the word “daunting”, which was and still is accurate
  • Few systems handle file shares, Intranets, databases, content management systems, and real time business applications with aplomb. Of course, the Google enterprise search solution does deliver on these points, asserted Google.

Furthermore, Google provides integrated search results. The idea is that structured and unstructured information from different sources are presented in a form that Google called “integrated search results.”

Google also emphasized a personalized experience. Due to the marketing nature of the Findability document, Google did not point out that personalization was a feature of information retrieval systems lashed to an alert and work flow component. Fulcrum Technologies offered a clumsy option for personalization. iPhrase improved on the approach. Even Endeca supported roles, important for the company’s work at Fidelity Investments in the UK. But for Google, most enterprise search systems were not personalizing with Google aplomb.

Google then trotted out the old chestnuts gleaned from a lunch discussion with other Googlers and sifting competitors’ assertions, consultants’ pronouncements, and beliefs about search that seemed to be self-evident truths; for example:

  • Improved customer service
  • Speeding innovation
  • Reducing information technology costs
  • Accelerating adoption of search by employees who don’t get with the program.

Google concluded the Findability document with what has become a touchstone for the value of the Google Search Appliance. Kimberly Clark, “a global health and hygiene company,” reduced administrative costs for indexing 22 million documents. The costs of the Google Search Appliance, the consultant fees, and the extras like GSA fail over provisions were not mentioned. Hard numbers, even for Google, are not part of the important stuff about enterprise search.

One interesting semantic feature caught my attention. Google does not use the word knowledge in this 2008 document.

Several questions:

  1. Was Google unaware of the fusion of information retrieval and knowledge?
  2. Does the Google Search Appliance deliver a laundry list of results, not knowledge? (A GSA user has to scan the results, click on links, and figure out what’s important to the matter at hand, so the word “knowledge” is inappropriate.)
  3. Why did Google sidestep providing concrete information about costs, productivity, and the value of indexing more content that is allegedly germane to a “personalized” search experience? Are there data to support the implicit assertion “more is better.” Returning more results may mean that the poor user has to do more digging to find useful information. What about a few, on point results? Well, that’s not what today’s technology delivers. It is a fiction about which vendors and customers seem to suspend disbelief.

With a few minor edits—for example, a genuflection to “knowledge—this 2008 Findability essay is as fresh today as it was when Google output its PDF version.

Several observations:

First, the freshness of the Findability paper underscores the staleness and stasis of enterprise search in the past six years. If you scan the free search vendor profiles at www.xenky.com/vendor-profiles, explanations of the benefits and functions of search from the 1980s are also applicable today. Search, the enterprise variety, seems to be like a Grecian urn which “time cannot wither.”

Second, the assertions about the strengths and weaknesses of search were and still are presented without supporting facts. Everyone in the enterprise search business recycles the same cant. The approach reminds me of my experience questioning a member of a sect. The answer “It just is…” is simply not good enough.

Third, the Google Search Appliance has become a solution that costs as much, if not more, than other big dollar systems. Just run a query for the Google Search Appliance on www.gsaadvantage.gov and check out the options and pricing. Little wonder than low cost solutions—whether they are better or worse than expensive systems—are in vogue. Elasticsearch and Searchdaimon can be downloaded without charge. A hosted version is available from Qbox.com and is relatively free of headaches and seven figure charges.

Net net: Enterprise search is going to have to come up with some compelling arguments to gain momentum in a world of Big Data, open source, and once burned twice shy buyers. I wonder why venture / investment firms continue to pump money into what is same old search packaged with decades old lingo.

I suppose the idea that a venture funded operation like Attivio, BA Insight, Coveo, or any other company pitching information access will become the next Google is powerful. The problem is that Google does not seem capable of making its own enterprise search solution into another Google.

This is indeed interesting.

Stephen E Arnold, July 28, 2014

Big Data for Enterprise Logistics

June 26, 2014

The complex field of logistics and transport management is one that can surely benefit from data analysis. Inbound Logistics brings the benefits to the attention of its readers in, “Big Data Tools Enable Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics.” Writer Shannon Vaillancourt advises that, since the cost of implementing data systems has decreased, now is the time for companies to leverage these tools to understand and adjust their transportation patterns. He writes:

“By leveraging the big data tools that are becoming more prevalent, companies can quickly spot trends that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. Many people are under the impression that big data only refers to a large amount of data. The second definition of big data is that the dataset is too difficult to process using traditional data processing applications. When it comes to supply chain operations, many large companies are still dependent on using a spreadsheet to manage a very complex global part of the business.

“With big data tools, shippers can move past the business intelligence side of measuring and diagnosing, and move into the predictive and prescriptive side. A big data tool will allow transportation teams to have fewer experienced supply chain staff members, because the data will be more actionable.”

Stewart seems to acknowledge the shortfalls of current prescriptive algorithms; he reassures readers that the prescriptive side will be more useful as the technology evolves. Right now, we know it as the algorithm that tells us to buy more stuff at Amazon. Someday soon, though, it might accurately tell a manager which means of transport will most efficiently get a certain shipment to its destination.

It is interesting to watch as the big data trend spreads into different industries. As the hype fades, more of the truly useful applications will become clear.

Cynthia Murrell, June 26, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Free Trial of X1 Enterprise Client

June 3, 2014

X1 is offering a free fourteen-day trial of their desktop search engine, X1 Enterprise Client. Read more in the sneak preview:

“X1 Enterprise Client is a desktop search engine that automatically indexes files, email messages and contacts on your computer and returns instant results for your keyword searches. The results are organized in a tabbed interface, sorted by file type and provide a quick preview for most common file types including images, PDF files, Office files, ZIP files and many other formats. You can directly interact with the results by replying to emails, sending messages to contacts, opening files, playing music and also send any file as email attachment with the click of a button.”

This product could be a good investment for those who are not exactly careful as they label, name, and store files. Effective keyword search is the most useful tool in light of bad or nonexistent indexing. If you need a little more search in your workflow, and you do not want to be the one to impose the order, a solution like X1 Enterprise Client might be worth considering.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 03, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Interview with Jeff Catlin on the Future of Enterprise Data

May 22, 2014

The interview titled Text Analytics 2014: Jeff Catlin, Lexalytics on Breakthrough Analysis may be overstating its case when it is billed as a breakthrough analysis. Most of the questions cover state-of-the-industry topics and Lexalytics promotion. Catlin offers insight into the world of enterprise data and the future of the industry. For example, when asked about new features for 2014 and the near future, Catlin responded,

“As a company, Lexalytics is tackling both the basic improvements and the new features with a major new release, Sallience 6.0 which will be landing sometime in the second half of the year. The core text processing and grammatic parsing of the content will improve significantly, which will in turn enhance all of our core features of the engine. Additionally, this improved grammatic understanding will allow us to be the key to detecting intention, which is the big new feature in Salience 6.0”

Catlin repeats in several of his answers that the industry is in flux, and that vendors can only scramble to keep up, even going so far as to compare 2013 and 2014 enterprise data to the Berlin Wall. He describes two “fronts”, one involving improving core technology, and the other focused on vertical market prospects.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 22, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

MarkLogic Platform Now Supports JavaScript, JSON and Node.js

May 6, 2014

We learn that MarkLogic has become more supportive from the announcement, “MarkLogic Enhances Enterprise NoSQL Database Platform with Support for JavaScript and JSON” at Yahoo Finance. The press release tells us:

“With support for JavaScript and JSON at every tier, developers can create applications using a language and data format they are familiar with while being assured that the database platform will pass the scrutiny of IT operations and risk management. JavaScript expands the current list of languages that MarkLogic supports, including Java, PHP, C#, Ruby, Python, C++, C, Perl, SQL, and XQuery.

“The MarkLogic Node.js client will give developers a simple and agile way to use MarkLogic, while server-side JavaScript support will deliver the ultimate in performance and flexibility. With JavaScript and JSON at the core of the schema-agnostic, horizontally scalable and elastic architecture, developers can build, revise and deploy applications across multiple systems consistently, while being able to combine JSON, XML, binary, text and Semantic triples in the same database.”

The write-up emphasizes that MarkLogic’s Enterprise NoSQL database platform already offers high-quality integrated search, disaster recovery, and “government-grade” security, among other advantages. See the post for details, or navigate straight to MarkLogic‘s site for more info. The company is headquartered in San Carlos, California, and maintains offices around the world. Some of its high-profile clients include Citigroup, Boeing, and Warner Brothers.

Cynthia Murrell, May 06, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

ArnoldIT Video: Search Brands Video

April 15, 2014

Whatever happened to Convera and the other four companies comprising the Top Five in enterprise search: Autonomy, Endeca, Fast Search & Transfer and Verity. The video also mentions Exalead and ISYS Search Software. The wrap up to the video points to three open source enterprise search options. For those who want to be reminded of the Golden Age of enterprise search, check out the free, six minute video from Stephen E Arnold, publisher of Beyond Search. Mr. Arnold is converting some of his research into brief, hopefully entertaining and useful free videos. You can access this short search history lesson at http://bit.ly/1etGExr. The next video in the series tackles the subject of buzzword, argot, jargon, lingo, and verbal baloney. What vendor is the leader in the linguistic linguini competition? The video will be available before the end of April. In the meantime, take a walk down memory lane and learn how Cornelius Vanderbilt obtained needed information in the early 19th century.

Kenneth Toth, April 15, 2014

Up and Down for IBM

March 26, 2014

There is good news and there is bad news for IBM. First up, a real journalist asks difficult questions about their high-profile project in “What’s Up with Watson?” at Gigaom. Writer Barb Darrow begins by noting that IBM likes to hold up its Jeopardy winner as an example of the company’s prowess. However, she explains, the much-lauded project seems to be floundering. There is the fact that its former leader left for newer pastures just four months after touting Watson‘s business potential. Darrow also reports:

“One problem I’ve been hearing about for a while is that while Watson is impressive technology, it is not really a product that’s easy to sell. IBM’s decision to open up APIs, to offer Watson’s smarts as a service, is one response to that. You make Watson available in more affordable portions, maybe it’ll gain traction….

“Sources close to IBM have said privately for some time that Watson has not hit internal targets for new business — no doubt one impetus for the new business unit. One said IBM wanted 100 new ‘logos’— big-name corporate wins in IBM parlance for Watson last year and was only able to close a handful.”

That’s the bad news. Meanwhile, though, the company has launched a contest that both spreads their name and inspires students worldwide (that’s the good news.) We learn that IBM is expanding their Master the Mainframe Contest, begun in 2006, in eWeek‘s “IBM Launches Master the Mainframe World Championship.” Reporter Darryl K. Taft tells us:

“The world championship competition is designed to assemble the best university students from around the globe, who have demonstrated superior technical skills through participation in their regional IBM Master the Mainframe contests….

“Of the 20,000 students who have engaged in country-level Master the Mainframe Contests over the last three years, the top 44 students from 22 countries have been invited to participate in the inaugural IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship.”

The contest is viewed as a way to get millennials excited about enterprise computing. For my part, I hope these young people will breathe some fresh air into the enterprise mainframe. See the article for details, or head over to the official Championship website.

Cynthia Murrell, March 26, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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