Another Week, Another Enterprise Search System

March 21, 2014

Cloud? Check.

Azure chip consultant reference? Check.

Social angle? Check.

Support for distributed information? Check.

Consumerized interface? Check.

Reference to value? Check.

Automatic alerts? Check.

Customer reference? Check.

Big company pedigree? Check.

Open sourciness? Check.

Exotic technology? Check.

There you have the recipe for a new enterprise search system, at least according to eWeek’s “Highspot Brings Machine Learning to Enterprise Search.” Highpoint’s Web site describes itself this way:

Built for the cloud era, Highspot uses advanced machine learning to help organizations capture, share, and cultivate their most valuable working knowledge.

The pricing information, omitted from the eWeek story just as azure chip consultants omit enterprise search fees, begins at free and comes out of the gate at $20 per user per month or $240 per user per year. For an organization with 400 users, the annual fee works out to about $96,000 for an open source, machine-learning system, a bargain compared to the Google Search Appliance but more expensive than downloading Solr, Searchdaimon, or Elasticsearch and having one staff get search up and running. A less expensive option that works reasonably well is dtSearch, but you need to love the color blue for this search system. If you want an appliance, check out Maxxcat’s systems. These are far less expensive than other appliances, and the new systems are easy to set up and deploy. For cloud action, take a look at Blossom Software’s solution. Chances are your state, country, or municipal government is using the Blossom system built by a former Bell Labs’ whiz kid.

Net net: The enterprise search market is flooded with options. With big, waddling outfits like HP and IBM getting increasingly desperate to make their billion dollar bets pay off, you have high end options as well as free downloadable systems from organizations in Denmark, Norway, Russia, and elsewhere.

Will the pricing hold if a business licensee points the system at 50 million documents? My hunch is that there will be some fine print. Google charges about $900,000 for its appliance capable of processing tens of millions of documents with three years of support. You can check the latest US government discount prices at www.gsaadvantage.gov. Just search for “Google Search Appliance” and peruse the government’s price. A commercial price may vary.

The key is that the engines of many systems are open source. The “solution” is software wrappers and checklists that hit the marketing hot buttons. Keep up with Highspot via the company’s blog at http://blog.highspot.com/.

Stephen E Arnold, March 21, 2014

Lasting Truths about Enterprise Solutions

January 7, 2014

Since their inception, there have been many changes in the world of enterprise software. Yet, there are consistent truths that can guide users in the selection of enterprise solutions, depending on the individual context. Tony Byrne attempts a list of these truths in his article for Information Week, “6 More Enduring Truths About Selecting Enterprise Software.”

After discussions involving open source as well as large versus small vendors, Byrne turns his attention to the biggest option on the market, SharePoint:

“Long-suffering platforms like Lotus have continued to endure because of the strong community around them. For the same reason, SharePoint will probably endure long past the time people think fondly of it. In other words, your technology can become undead but remain viable due to external support and enhancements. Surely, that’s better than having a vendor or technology kick the bucket on you before you’re ready to migrate.”

Stephen E. Arnold of ArnoldIT.com is a longtime leader in search, including enterprise. He has found this same truth in his SharePoint coverage – SharePoint is staying on top of the market, but often because it is enhanced and propped up by a great variety of externals supports and enhancements.

Emily Rae Aldridge, January 7, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Xenky Vendor Profile: Dieselpoint

November 6, 2013

If you need a search system and love Java, you will want to read the most recent Xenky Vendor Profile. Dieselpoint is based in Chicago, Illinois. Compared to some search vendors, Dieselpoint keeps a low profile. The profile is available without charge at Xenky’s Vendor Profile page. Be sure to read the caveats for these free profiles. If you want to make a comment or explain a point I missed by a mile, use the comments section of Beyond Search. The profiles are drafts and will not be updated.

Stephen E Arnold, November 6, 2013

Enterprise Partnership Announced

August 2, 2013

The shift to unified information access is occurring throughout the enterprise search market. In order to make that shift more seamless and effective Attivio has partnered with Capax Global. Read all about the partnership in the article, “Capax Global and Attivio Announce Strategic Reseller Partnership.”

The article begins:

Attivio, creator of the award-winning Active Intelligence Engine (AIE), has formed a strategic reseller partnership with Capax Global, a recognised leader in enterprise search and critical business technology consulting. The partnership addresses the changing needs of Capax Global’s customers as they deal with the widespread shift from traditional enterprise search to unified information access (UIA).”

Unified information access addresses both Big Data and unstructured data. Users are looking for a way to intuitively interact with their data in a way that produces meaning but does not disregard the user experience. LucidWorks, and other value-added open source enterprise providers, seek these same objectives through the use of open source infrastructure. LucidWorks relies on the power of Apache Lucene Solr to keep its customers satisfied at a low cost of both time and money.

Emily Rae Aldridge, August 2, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search

Redesigning Enterprise Architecture at Gartner Catalyst Conference

August 1, 2013

The announcement has been made that Chris Haddad will deliver a presentation at the Gartner Catalyst Conference which concludes today in San Diego, California. Read more in the press release on PR Web, “WSO2 Vice President of Technology Evangelism to Speak on Redesigning Enterprise Architecture at Gartner Catalyst Conference 2013.”

The release begins:

“WSO2 today announced that WSO2 Vice President of Technology Evangelism Chris Haddad will deliver a presentation at the Gartner Catalyst Conference 2013, ‘Driving Enterprise Architecture Redesign: Cloud-Native Platforms, APIs, and DevOps.’ WSO2 is a platinum sponsor of the Gartner Catalyst Conference, which will run July 29 – August 1, 2013 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA.”

The talk should give some insight into the three fundamental drivers that power current enterprise architecture: cloud platforms, APIs, and DevOps. Many open source enterprise solutions providers, like LucidWorks, seek to incorporate these technologies into their software, ensuring flexibility and intuitiveness. LucidWorks Big Data and LucidWorks Search are both built on a solid base of Apache Lucene Solr, and incorporate a variety of leading technologies like Hadoop.

Emily Rae Aldridge, August 1, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search

Business Efficiency to Increase with Semantic Search

July 23, 2013

Looking for an alternative to Google and other big-name web search platforms? Teach Amazing recommends “Hakia—Semantic Search Portal.” Writer Mark Brumley explains that the semantic web search portal presents multiple types of content in the same results page. The various sections encompass the gamut and this type of aggregated search displayed on a single point of access seems to be the wave of the future.

Brumley shares his user experience:

I love how search results are displayed. Various sections are populated on a single page. Sections include web, news, blogs, Twitter, images and videos. The Twitter feed is a real plus for me and gives an indication of the current pulse of a particular topic. Give Hakia a try the next time you are doing some research. Make sure you try it in the classroom as well. Students need to know that Google is not the only search provider on the planet.

Brumley is not alone in recognizing the advantages of parsing data with context and meaning that semantic search provides. The enterprise also functions more efficiently when using tools that take a semantic approach to data. For example, Expert System offers solutions that empowers users to work at new heights of discovery and collaboration.

Megan Feil,  July 23, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search.

Google and Its Enterprise Push: Changes Ahead?

July 23, 2013

I read “Google Will Invest More in Enterprise Business.” The story reported, “More than half of Fortune 500 companies are paying for Google enterprise products, and 5 million companies are using Google Apps for Business.” The story added:

Google’s deepening ties with HP could also help it crack into more enterprise accounts. HP is selling a Chromebook and is using Android for two of its tablets. Google and HP are also partnering on SMB IT In a Box, which bundles Google Apps with HP PCs and printers.

One important factoid in the write up was the assertion that Google’s cloud business and its applications business was generating about $200 million in the most recent quarter. Assuming that the figure is accurate, Google is on track to generate about $1 billion from its enterprise services. If the company ends the current fiscal year in the $60 billion in revenue range, the enterprise unit will make up one minute  of 60 minutes of Google revenue.

Google may be using its own predictive system to help guide its decision to push into the enterprise. The UK Telegraph reported some interesting information about online ads and user behavior. “Study: Users Don’t Click on Online Ads” said:

An academic study concluded that brand adverts in internet searches have “no short-term bene?ts”, and added that “returns from all other keywords are a fraction of conventional estimates.” Byron Sharp, Professor of Marketing Science at the University of South Australia tweeted, “Google won’t like this”….With much of the web funded by advertising, and more advertising needed to make mobile pay, it seems that web business is becoming even more difficult.

Google has been working in the enterprise sector for a decade, maybe longer. There have been a number of initiatives, managers, and products. Perhaps now that Microsoft seems to be in the midst of some management change, Google thinks the time is right to ramp up its enterprise business? If ad revenue is no longer the sure thing it was, Google and other online advertising firms will have to step up their monetization efforts and probably take other actions users may not enjoy; for example, raising prices. Will Google boost prices for the Google Search Appliance, Google Apps, or Cloud Services?

Stephen E Arnold, July 23, 2013

Sponsored by Xenky

Acquisition of Gigablast by Yippy Leaves Some Questions Unanswered

July 19, 2013

An article on Yahoo titled Yippy, Inc. (YIPI) to Acquire Gigablast, Inc. And Web Research Properties, LLC to Expand Consumer Search, Enterprise, and eDiscovery Products reported on the important acquisition by the young company. Yippy, Inc. is a search clustering tech company based in Florida with some innovative eDiscovery resources. Matt Wells, the founder of Gigablast states in the article,

“Gigablast and its related properties can provide advanced technologies for consumer, eDiscovery, and enterprise big data customers.  Gigabits, a related program, is the first operational enterprise class clustering program which I put into service in 2004.  Yippy’s Velocity platform was essentially based off of my original work which will allow Yippy to sell behind the firewall installations for all types of search based applications for enterprise and eDiscovery customers.”

Yippy’s Chief Executive Rich Granville claims that the acquisition will not only benefit customers through technological innovation but by low costs. He directed interested parties to a demo that might illustrate the massive potential in the merger of these companies. The demo shows that the combined indexing of billions of pages of data has already begun, although not when it will be complete. What is less clear is who is indexing what in this tie-up?

Chelsea Kerwin, July 19, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Flawed Enterprise Information Solutions

July 8, 2013

It can be hard to get any insider information out of Microsoft, but Ahmet Alp Balkan is a young software engineer working at the aforementioned company. He started working at Windows Azure as an intern and he was hired right after college. Since working there he was learned a lot, much of which he did not glean from college. He tells what he learned about the business world in, “8 Months In Microsoft, I Learned These.” Some of the items he learned are quite startling and others will not even make you blink. For instance, everyone learns at some point that they are working for someone else to earn their paycheck, they also have to step outside their specialty comfort zones, getting the job done, is the most important, and the latest upgrades are usually skipped.

What is alarming is this:

“Expect no documentation in corporations. I have seen the knowledge inside the company is mostly transferred by talking and hands-on sessions. Some parts of knowledge base generated are only emailed and not saved anywhere permanent. This is not how the information flows in the digital world. There are certain people, if they got hit by a bus, nobody can pick up their work or code. And it is okay. If this would have been my own company there would be tons of wiki pages.”

Also the mentality that it is  more about what you sell rather than what you do that matters. Money speaks and makes the world go around. This mentality demonstrates how corporate America has the blinders on. Is this an explanation about why there are some enterprise information solutions that are flawed? Or maybe why some search applications suck? Can anyone else say narrow-minded and lack of the big picture?

Whitney Grace, July 08, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search

Oracle and Business Intelligence Reality

July 4, 2013

I don’t know if this Computerworld write up is accurate. For the purposes of the addled goose, let’s assume that it is semi-accurate. The story is “Oracle Quietly Slashes BI Software Prices.” Now “BI” for those in the know means “business intelligence.” I am not sure what “business intelligence” means. I have some evidence to suggest that, like “military intelligence,” we have a trendy oxymoron.

I am okay with stealthy price increases. Every time I visit the Kia dealership to fix up my small Kia Soul, I know that what I think the cost will be and what the final cost will be are two very different types of number tweaking. Is enterprise software any different? I think agile pricing is pretty much the name of the game. I bought two tubes of toothpaste. When I presented my “affiliate” card, the price dropped. Then I was told if I bought another tube of toothpaste, I would get an additional discount. Car repairs, toothpaste, enterprise software — those MBAs and bean counters have figured an angle.

slippery pricing copy copy

The point of the Computerworld write up is that Oracle (the company which owns Endeca) offers a business foundation suite. Endeca morphed from a search and eCommerce company into business intelligence years ago. The Computerworld story does not mention Endeca, which I find interesting. If one pays $1 billion or more for an acquisition which is in the business intelligence business, why isn’t Endeca part of the BI Foundation Suite?

Here’s the purportedly accurate pricing:

BI Foundation Suite encompasses Oracle BI Enterprise Edition 11g, BI Publisher, Essbase, Scorecard and Strategy Management, and Essbase Analytics Link, according to an official whitepaper. The new price list also lowers the price of BI Suite Enterprise Edition Plus from $295,000 to $221,250, as well as Scorecard and Strategy Management from $149,250 to $89,550.

The Computerworld story quotes an expert that there may be a catch in Oracle’s enterprise software pricing. Do you think that’s possible?

Another interesting item from the article is the unsupported assertion about Oracle’s revenue growth from business intelligence:

However, Oracle’s BI revenue grew by 2 percent in 2012, compared to SAP’s 0.6 percent BI growth rate that year, Gartner said.

The economy is not so good. Why is pricing such a slippery issue? Perhaps the growth is coming from efforts akin to climbing a mountain in bad weather? Maybe the traditional customers are struggling to find value from software which offers “business intelligence”?

My hunch is that like toothpaste pricing the economy is forcing big companies to increase their pricing agility. Maybe there will be an enterprise software loyalty card? If so, I want one. I am fascinated by cascading and fluid discounts.

Stephen E Arnold, July 4, 2013

Sponsored by Xenky

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