April 8, 2014
Now I enjoy crazy numbers. I recall that someone at Yahoo allegedly said to a New York Times reporter:
Yahoo estimates that it would cost $300 million to build a search service from scratch. [See New York Times, July 10, 2008, page C5) My story about this estimate is at http://wp.me/pf6p2-e9.]
Crazy number. Three hundred million would not buy a Web search system in 2008. Today it may cover the cost of jet fuel for Google’s fleet of airplanes.
But crazy numbers get traction and create “real news.”
I read “Enterprise Content Management Market worth $12.32 Billion by 2019.” Now that is an interesting estimate. The calculation surprised me for three reasons:
- The outfit promulgating the good “news” is selling a report, presumably to those in the content management sector who need reassurance.
- There was no mention of WordPress- and SquareSpace-type outfits, which seem to be moving ahead of the pack of name brand vendors.
- The assumption that I actually know what content management or CMS means.
Like search, the CMS vendors have been looking for a way to become more relevant. The implementations of Broadvision, Documentum, Interwoven, Vignette, and other well known CMS systems have had some successes and failures.
The “real” news about this report mentions some aspects of CMS that are similar to the scope creep visible in enterprise search. Here are some examples of what CMS embraces:
enterprise document management, enterprise document imaging and capture, enterprise web content management, enterprise records management, enterprise document collaboration, enterprise digital rights management, content analytics, rich media management, advanced case management, enterprise document output management, enterprise workflow management, and other solutions; by type of emerging applications: social content management, mobile content management, big data management, and cloud content management; by type of deployments: hosted and on-premises; by verticals: academia and education, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), consumer goods and retail, energy and power, government and defense, life science and healthcare, manufacturing, media and entertainment, telecom and IT, transportation, tourism, and hospitality, and other verticals; and by regions: North America (NA), Asia Pacific including Japan (APAC), Europe (EU), Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America (LA).
This list is not helpful to me. I think the collection of jargon, buzzwords, and impressive sounding concepts is designed for Web indexing systems and to give a marginalized type of software some strap on muscles.
If information about the magnitude of the CMS market requires this type of verbal legerdemain, how credible is the report, the estimate, and maybe content management itself?
My personal view is that the buzzword content management, like knowledge management, is tough to define and may ultimately lack relevance in today’s business environment. The notion that a specious estimate adds value to those laboring in the CMS sector is amusing. The puffery, apologias, and jargon generated by those trying to sell systems that “manage” content causes me to chortle. Estimates of the volume of Big Data seem to fly in the face of “content management.” Even Google’s robots are struggling to keep pace with content proliferation based on my test queries.
At a time when organizations struggle to figure out what information is in their possession, CMS seems to have failed in its “mission”: Managing content.
CMS’ weakness is the notion of management itself. Since “management” is tough to define, content management sounds like a discipline cooked up by MBA hopefuls in an innovation study group.
Stephen E Arnold, April 7, 2014
April 1, 2014
SharePoint is showcasing its brand new marketing automation features. Dynamics Marketing marks a formal entrance into a market where Microsoft previously had no presence. CMS Wire covers the details in their article, “Will Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Trigger the SharePoint Effect?”
Their coverage says:
“At last month’s Convergence conference in Atlanta, Microsoft revealed what it had been internally assembling around its 2012 acquisition of Marketing Resource Management (MRM) specialists MarketingPilot. The resulting digital marketing suite has the potential to shake up the marketplace just as SharePoint did in the enterprise content management (ECM) market in 2001.”
Many wonder if Microsoft Dynamics will enjoy the same momentum as SharePoint, or the “SharePoint effect.” Simply stated, many companies don’t care if Microsoft offers the best product; they just want a simple implementation that integrates with their other Microsoft products. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and covers a lot of SharePoint news on his Web site, ArnoldIT.com. We will have to see if Dynamics Marketing stands the test of time like SharePoint.
Emily Rae Aldridge, April 1, 2014
March 19, 2014
I suppose IBM will respond with more than recipes at South by Southwest. If you enjoy big companies’ analyses of one another, you will want to gobble up “15 Reasons HP Autonomy IDOL OnDemand Beats IBM Watson.” This is not the recipe for making pals with a $100 billion outfit.
What does IBM Watson have as weaknesses? What does the reinvented (sort of) Autonomy technology have as strengths? I cannot reproduce the 15 items, but I can highlight five of the weaknesses and enjoin you to crack open the slideshow that chops up the IBM Watson PR stunt.
Here are the six weaknesses I found interesting:
- Reason 3. IBM Watson is a data scientist heavy platform. IDOL is not. My view is that HP paid $11 billion for Autonomy and now has to deal with the write down, legal actions related to the deal, and tossing out Mike Lynch’s revenue producing formula. Set aside the data scientists and the flip side “too few data scientists” and consider the financial mountain HP has to climb. A data scientist or two might help.
- Reason 4. HP has “an ultimate partner story.” I find this fascinating. Autonomy grew via acquisitions and an indirect sales model. Now HP wants to make the partner model generate enough revenue to pay off the Autonomy purchase price, grow HP’s top line faster than traditional lines of business collapse, and make partners really happy. This may be a big job. See IBM weakness 9, 11, 12, and 14. There is some overlap which suggests HP is having difficulty cooking up 15 credible weaknesses of Watson. (I can name some, by the way.)
- Reason 6. HP offers a “proven power platform for analytics.” I am not sure about the alliteration nor am I confident in my understanding of analytics and search. IBM Watson doesn’t have much to offer in either of these departments. IDOL, at least the pre HP incarnation, had reasonably robust security capabilities. I wonder how these will be migrated to the HP multi cloud environment. IBM Watson is doing recipes, so it too has its hands full.
- Reason 10. HP asserts that it offers a “potential app store.” I understand app store. Apple offers one that works well. Google is in the app store business. Amazon has poked its nose into the marketplace as well. I don’t think either HP or IBM have credible app stores for variants of the two companies’ search technologies. Oh, well, it sounds good. “Potential” is a deal breaker for me.
- Reason 13. HP “is focused on ramping up the innovation lifecycle.” I think this means coming up with good ideas faster. I am not sure if a service can spark a client’s innovation. Doesn’t lifecycle include death? Since IBM Watson seems a work in progress, I am not sure HP’s just released reinvention of Autonomy has a significant advantage because it too is “ramping up.”
- Reason 15. HP has “fired up” engineers. Okay, maybe. IBM has engineers, but I am not sure if they are fired up. My question is, “Is being fired up” a good thing. I want engineers to deliver solutions that work, are not “ramping up,” and not marketing driven.
My take on this slide deck is that it is nothing more than a marketing vehicle. I had to click multiple ads for HP products and services to view the 15 reasons. Imagine my disappointment that five of the IBM weaknesses related to partnering programs. Wow, that must be really helpful to a licensee of cloud Autonomy trying to deal with performance issues on an HP data center. HP is definitely countering IBM Watson’s recipe play with old fashioned cheerleading. Rah, rah.
Stephen E Arnold, March 19, 2014
March 17, 2014
One of my two or three readers sent me a link to “IBM’s New Food Truck Uses a Supercomputer to Dream Up All Their ‘Surprising’ Recipes.” For code wrappers and Lucene, Watson is a versatile information processing system. Instead of an online demo of Web indexing, I learned about “surprising recipes.”
The initiative to boost Watson toward its $10 billion revenue goal involves the Institute of culinary Education.” The idea is that IBM and ICE deliver “computational creativity” to create new recipes. Julia Child would probably resist computerizing her food activities. Her other, less well known activities, would have eagerly accepted Watson’s inputs.
The article quotes IBM as saying:
“Creating a recipe for a novel and flavorful meal is the result of a system that generates millions of ideas out of the quintillions of possibilities,” IBM writes. “And then predicts which ones are the most surprising and pleasant, applying big data in new ways.”
The article even includes a video. Apparently the truck made an appearance at South by Southwest. From my cursory research, the Watson truck was smart enough to be elsewhere when the alleged inebriated driver struck attendees near the pivot point of Austin’s night life.
The IBM marketing professionals are definitely clear headed and destined for fame as the food truck gnaws its way into the $10 billion revenue objective. Did IBM researchers ask Watson is this was an optimal use of its computational capabilities. Did Watson contribute to the new Taco Bell loaded beefy nacho grillers. Ay, Caramba!
March 16, 2014
The article titled This $US600,000 Facebook Ad Disaster Is A Warning Small Business Owners on Business Insider Australia tells the story of Kapur Brar, CEO of small business Fetopolis. Fetopolis is a compendium of online fashion magazines with a healthy online following. Until recently, Brar relied heavily on marketing through Facebook, spending $100,000 a day. The article explains why Brar has “fallen out of love with Facebook,”
“He discovered…that his Facebook fanbase was becoming polluted with thousands of fake likes from bogus accounts. He can no longer tell the difference between his real fans and the fake ones. Many appear fake because the users have so few friends, are based in developing countries, or have generic profile pictures. At one point, he had a budget of more than $US600,000 for Facebook ad campaigns, he tells us. Now he believes those ads were a waste of time.”
Strangely, this story isn’t really being told, in spite of Facebook having 25 million small businesses using Facebook for marketing at varying levels of sophistication.
Did the purchase of WhatsApp cause this interesting story to slip into oblivion? The article offers some defense of Facebook- the majority of customers are happy, the payment of Brar’s bill is disputed, and yet it is also true that Facebook does not allow for third party “click audits,” which is standard practice.
Chelsea Kerwin, March 16, 2014
March 9, 2014
Figure skating, anyone? You can do a Salchow jump. The skater has some options. Falling is not one of them. The idea is to leap from one foot to another. The Axel jump tosses is some spinning; for example, a triple Axel is 3.5 revolutions. Want creativity? The skater can flip, bunny hop, and Mazurka.
But the ice has to be right. Skating requires a Zamboni. Search requires information retrieval that works.
One should not confuse a Zamboni with an ageing ice skater.
Fast Search & Transfer has just come back from an extended training period and is ready to perform. The founder may be retired after an unfavorable court decision. The Fast Search Linux and Unix customers have been blown off. But, according to Fortune CNN, Microsoft has made enterprise search better. Give the skater a three for that jump called Office 365.
Navigate to “Can Microsoft Make Enterprise Search Better?” The subtitle is ripe with promise: “Updates to its Office 365 suite show benefits from a 2008 acquisition.” There you go. Technology from the late 1990s, a withdrawal from Web search, a run at unseating Autonomy as the leading provider of enterprise content processing, and allegations of financial wrongdoing and you have a heck of base from which to “make enterprise search better.”
At one time, Fast Search offered an alternative to Google’s Web search system. The senior management of Fast Search decided to cede Web search to Google and pursue dominance in the enterprise search market. Well, how did that work out? The shift from the Web to the enterprise worked for a while, but the costs of customer support, sales, and implementation put the company in a bind. The result was a crash to the ice.
Microsoft bought the sliding Fast Search operation and embarked on a journey to make content in SharePoint findable. The effort was a boom to second tier search vendors who offered SharePoint licensees a search and retrieval system. Most of these vendors are all but unknown outside of the 150 million SharePoint license base. Others have added new jumps to their search routines and have skated to customer support and business intelligence.
January 25, 2014
The ArnoldIT Overflight snagged this headline on January 16, 2014: ‘Chocolate Toothpaste’ Prevents Tooth Decay. Unusual news can be entertaining. Then on January 24, 2014, I spotted this headline: P&G’s Chocolate Toothpaste: Innovation or Desperation? The source of this story was not a secondary information source. The Innovation or Desperation item appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Here’s the quote to note:
The line, which P&G (PG) promises to start selling soon, comprises three flavors: “Mint Chocolate Trek,” “Lime Spearmint Zest,” and “Vanilla Mint Spark.” Here’s how the Crest marketing team describes the new paste: “It’s a whole new world of deliciousness for toothbrushes everywhere.”
The hook for me was not “chocolate toothpaste prevents tooth decay.” This assertion reminds me of marketers who assert that a particular search system delivers value or understands human discourse. The problem is that the association of “chocolate AND tooth decay” is easier for me to grasp than “chocolate PREVENTS tooth decay.”
With search, value is difficult to connect to search. Search costs money, generates more work because documents have to be opened and read, or creates a willingness among busy users to assume that a search result is a correct result.
The Businessweek story connects “innovation” and “desperation.” Marketers have hit upon a product innovation that will make some influencers go for the chocolate toothpaste.
Search and content processing vendors have been following this path for many years. Not only is the uptake of new jargon standard operating procedure for search vendors, the consultants and experts working in search are turbochargers of constant exploration of ways to make search have sizzle. Search is analytics, taxonomy, knowledge, Big Data, etc.
I recall that in one of my university’s required classes, one professor insisted that ancient people cleaned their teeth with twigs. I also know that search methods from the years before “smart software” worked as well.
Progress in search and retrieval, like the chocolate toothpaste innovation, are not “innovation and desperation.” The juxtaposition of attributes is another indicator that the disconnect between expectations and reality is a characteristic of business today.
Will chocolate toothpaste work better than “regular” toothpaste? Will the new search system work better than “regular” search systems? Under specific test conditions, it is possible to “prove” efficacy. But in the real world, toothpaste like search has a baseline of performance. Wordsmithing, odd juxtapositions, and cleverness cannot be confused with Daliesque novelty.
Stephen E Arnold, January 25, 2014
January 15, 2014
I read “A Search Engine That ‘Makes’ Data-Driven Business Decisions.” The enamel on the article was about making decisions without old fashioned search.
In the article/interview, Attivio (a user of open source software) positions the company in this way:
Attivio is focused on unifying information. The end goal of big data is to make some insight that is actionable.
I understand. Actionable information. The article explains:
With search engines, there is no concept that one page is linked to another. So, we added a graph engine, a mathematical graph, where there are nodes and links between them. We use the graph to link the results in query A to all possible results in query B. So, it is incredibly fast.
Does this remain anyone other than me of Autonomy’s embedded link invention from six, seven years ago?
Then I learn about the magic:
They put them in front of this interface. When a ticket comes in, they automatically identify the related content across all sources. Now, the sysadmins are happier, the company is happier, and these folks are learning all about this environment that they don’t really need to be trained on.
In short, the system goes beyond search just like IBM Watson, HP Autonomy, Palantir, and dozens of other content processing vendors.
Will Attivio become the next $800 million in revenue search vendor? There are some heavy hitters chasing the same brass ring. So far most search vendors get stuck in under the $100 million glass ceiling. With open source software offering a lower cost option, how will the dozens of information retrieval cum business intelligence systems fare in 2014? Good question. No answers yet.
Stephen E Arnold, January 15, 2014
January 14, 2014
I marveled at the buzzword to English ratio in “Your 2014 Heat Map for Enterprise Technology.” You must read the article yourself. My focus is upon the jargon in the InfoWorld article. I must admit I don’t have the faintest idea what some of the terms mean, but I would bet 25 cents that most of the azure chip consultants, unemployed middle school teachers, and recent spate of unemployed grads with JD degrees don’t know either. You, gentle reader, are in full command of Baloneyglish. You will have no problems using and defining these terms. The alphabetical selected list of 2014 hoohah is:
back ends for cloud services
cloud data integration
cloud operating systems
cloud scale hairball
cloud test infrastructure
consumerization of IT
core application code base
data layer technologies
deep layer technologies
dynamic enterprise systems
event stream processing
ground zero of enterprise innovation
hydra-headed personal computers
hyper connected cloud
mobile app lifecycle Mobile back end as a service mobile computing
Notifications one large distributed cache
orchestrating data centers
platform as a service or PaaS
semi structured data
SDx (You may want to think of CxO)
server side storage caching
software defined infrastructure
software defined storage
software defined data center
switches into drones
systems of engagement
systems of record
the third platform
virtualized infrastructure resources
What’s my favorite?
Cloud scale hairball.
I might even be able to define that concept with a few references to HealthCare.gov and the UK Ministry of Defense’s Recruitment Partnering Project.
Stephen E Arnold, January 14, 2014. You can read more at < href=”Google+</a>
January 10, 2014
Fast Company published “IBM’s Watson For Business: The $1 Billion Siri Slayer.” The write offers some nuggets of information that convert Watson from search system into the next Apple or Google. Frankly I find this notion somewhat amusing.
The story reports this interesting assertion, “IBM wants to transform Watson into a Siri for business.” Quite an analogy.
I also noted these items:
- Stephen Gold is the vice president of IBM Watson Solutions
- Watson Discovery Advisor will be a product/service for publishing, education, and health care
- Watson Analytics Advisor appears to be an interactive analytics solution
- An ecosystem will be built around the Watson Application Programming Interface and “the Watson headquarters will also include space for a tech incubator for startups building Watson-based apps”
- Watson will be deployed on Softlayer, an IBM cloud computing service. Apparently some eager Watson prospects have an appetite for Softlayer’s delivering Watson.
I marked a quote to note from Mr. Gold and Fast Company:
Watson for Business is “one of the top innovations in IBM’s history” and it could even be the biggest IBM innovation since the IBM PC.
IBM seems to have made a different executive available to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. My hunch is that the cheerleading will continue for a while.
Meanwhile where’s the online demonstration of Watson’s functionality? I want to see how the system compares to Hewlett Packard’s Autonomy technology, check out the visualizations to see if they are different from IBM i2’s, and figure out if the analytics are recycled SPSS functions or something different.
Stephen E Arnold, January 10, 2014