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Enterprise Search Vendors: One Way to Move Past Failure

April 21, 2015

I just finished reading articles about IBM’s quarterly report. The headline is that the company has reported slumping revenues for three years in a row. Pretty impressive. I assumed that Watson, fueled with Lucene, home brew scripts, acquisitions, and liberal splashes of public relations, would be the revenue headliner.

How does IBM Watson’s unit, newly enhanced with a health component, respond to what I would call “missing a target.” Others, who are more word worthy than I, might use the word “failure.”

I read a blog post which lured me because at age 70 I am not sure where I left my dog, wife, and automobile this morning. Short term memory is indeed thrilling. Now what was I thinking?

Oh, right, “Embrace Selective Short-Term Memory to Move Past Failure Quickly.” The point of the write up is that those who have failed can more forward using this trick:

Rather than get caught up trying to emotionally soothe yourself, just forget it happened.

I have a theory that after an enterprise search vendor finds itself in a bit of a sticky wicket, the marketers can move on to the next client, repeat the assertions about semantic search or natural language processing or Big Data or whatever chant of buzzwords lands a sale.

Ask the marketer about an issue—for example, Convera and the NBA, Fast Search and the Norwegian authorities, or Autonomy and the Department of Energy—and you confront a team with a unifying characteristic: The memory of the “issues” with a search system is a tabula rasa. Ask someone about the US Army’s search system or the UK National Health Service about its meta indexing.

There is nothing quite like the convenient delete key which operates the selective memory functions.

Stephen E Arnold, April 21, 2015

Marketing the Modern Way: Experts Share Secrets! Secrets!

April 20, 2015

I find the advice of experts interesting. When I worked at Halliburton Nuclear, there was an engineer who knew about “everything.” The person was supposed to be an expert in biology, water, nuclear physics, and, of course, math. I recall the person was bright, but his confidence exceeded his mental baggage compartment.

When I encounter experts without the background this pontificator of yore had, I wonder if the big luggage and tiny cart idiosyncrasy is operating. You be the judge. Navigate to “8 Awesome SEO Secrets from the Experts.” A word about whether the advice is good or not: If these experts had secrets which worked, wouldn’t these folks be household names?

Just a question. When it comes to getting a Web page to light up the Google search results, the folks in the European Commission have a suspicion that Google puts its hand on the rudder of results ranking. The notion that eight experts can fiddle the results which Google may steer to some degree if the allegations are correct raises the question, “Okay, who controls results?” I will leave the answer to you as you read the write up.

Herewith are the secrets from the experts, or, I should say, “so called experts.”

Numero uno is semantic search. Okay, there’s a secret for you. I am not able to define to my satisfaction semantic search, but you have the truth, gentle reader. Go forth.

Here are several other secrets:

  • Write factual, logical, coherent articles
  • Use Google Plus
  • Connect with influencers
  • Write for mobile devices
  • Visualize
  • Markup

Here’s the paragraph I marked as one which puzzled me:

The rise of the Chief Statistical Officer or Chief Conversion Officer is not far away as businesses realize that dominating a niche is going to take more than a few hastily thrown together Adwords campaigns being added to their marketing mix.

I assume only search experts qualify for the job of statistical officer. Differentiate this from other baloney, and perhaps you can be a butcher. Experts, like the fellow at Halliburton, can do just about anything or so they think.

Stephen E Arnold, April 20, 2015

Google is Now My Maid

April 20, 2015

Google wants to make lives easier or so it claims.  In many ways the search engine giant has.  They have free email, Web storage, an office program suite, YouTube, open source code community, maps, TV, access to books, and did we mention they have a search engine?  Taking a queue from mobile phone voice activation services like Siri, Google wants to help people find local services.  BuzzFeed reports that “Google Wants To Send You A Plumber” and a contractor, maid, lawn services, roofer, and an HVAC technician.

“Sources close to the company told BuzzFeed News that Google plans to announce a new product aimed at connecting Google search users with local home-service providers — like plumbers and electricians — at an advertising conference later this spring. The product will be integrated into Google’s core search offering and is intended to capitalize on search intent, turning queries about home improvement tasks into engagement with home-service providers.”

Google has increased its accuracy with local search results, but they have decided to take it a step further with a new service.  Most of the search results for local services are littered with directed Google AdWord advertisements.  Google wants to act as an intermediary for people and home services providers.  Google would directly connect people with the home services providers and act as an unseen partner in the transaction.

It is unsure of how Google would directly connect the two parties, but it comes on the tails of another home services deal between Amazon and TaskRabbit.  The article points out how Google is the only company capable of rivaling Amazon in such an endeavor.  The bigger question is what will they do and how will they do it?  Maybe they will borrow ideas from Uber and Lyft.

Whitney Grace, April 20, 2015
Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Gartner VP Claims Researching “Ethical Programming” Necessary for Future of Smart Machines

April 17, 2015

The article on TweakTown titled Gartner: Smart Machines Must Include Ethical Programming Protocols briefly delves into the necessity of developing ethical programming in order to avoid some sort of Terminator/ I,Robot situation that culminates in the rise of the machines and the end of humanity. Gartner is one of the world’s leading technology research and advisory companies, but it hardly sounds like the company stance. The article quotes Frank Buytendijk, a Gartner research VP,

“Clearly, people must trust smart machines if they are to accept and use them…The ability to earn trust must be part of any plan to implement artificial intelligence (AI) or smart machines, and will be an important selling point when marketing this technology.”

If you’re thinking, sounds like another mid-tier consultant is divining the future, you aren’t wrong. Researching ethical programming for the hypothetical self-aware machines that haven’t been built yet might just be someone’s idea of a good time. The article concludes with the statement that “experts are split on the topic, arguing whether or not humans truly have something to worry about.” While the experts figure out how we humans will cause the end of the human reign over earth, some of us are just waiting for the end of another in a line of increasingly violent winters.

Chelsea Kerwin, April 17, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Digital Reasoning Goes Cognitive

April 16, 2015

A new coat of paint is capturing some tire kickers’ attention.

IBM’s Watson is one of the dray horses pulling the cart containing old school indexing functions toward the airplane hanger.

There are assorted experts praising the digital equivalent of a West Coast Custom’s auto redo. A recent example is Digital Reasoning’s embrace of the concept of cognitive computing.

Digital Reasoning is about 15 years old and has provided utility services to the US government and some commercial clients. “Digital Reasoning Goes cognitive: CEO Tim Estes on Text, Knowledge, and Technology” explains the new marketing angle. The write up reported:

Cognitive is a next computing paradigm, responding to demand for always-on, hyper-aware data technologies that scale from device form to the enterprise. Cognitive computing is an approach rather than a specific capability. Cognitive mimics human perception, synthesis, and reasoning capabilities by applying human-like machine-learning methods to discern, assess, and exploit patterns in everyday data. It’s a natural for automating text, speech, and image processing and dynamic human-machine interactions.

If you want to keep track of the new positioning text processing companies are exploring, check out the write up. Will cognitive computing become the next big thing? For vendors struggling to meet stakeholder expectations, cognitive computing sounds more zippy that customer support services or even the hyperventilating sentiment analysis positioning.

Lego blocks are pieces that must be assembled.

Indexing never looked so good. Now the challenge is to take the new positioning and package it in a commercial product which can generate sustainable, organic revenues. Enterprise search positioning has not been able to achieve this goal with consistency. The processes and procedures for cognitive computing remind me of Legos. One can assemble the blocks in many ways. The challenge will be to put the pieces together so that a hardened, saleable product can be sold or licensed.

Is there a market for Lego airplane assembled by hand? Vendors of components may have to create “kits” in order to deliver a solution a customer can get his or her hands around.

An unfamiliar function with a buzzword can be easy to sell to those organizations with money and curiosity. Jargon is often not enough to keep stakeholders and in the case of IBM shareholders smiling. A single or a handful of Lego blocks may not satisfy those who want to assemble a solution that is more than a distraction. Is cognitive computing a supersonic biplane or a historical anomaly?

This is worth watching because many companies are thrashing for a hook which will lead to significant revenues, profits, and sustainable growth, not just a fresh paint job.

Stephen E Arnold, April 16, 2015

Exorbyte Pivots and Slows Twitter Stream

April 16, 2015

I was doing a routine check of search vendor Web sites. I noticed that Exorbyte, a search vendor recognized as a Deloitte Technology Fast 50 company in 2o10, has pivoted from eCommerce to identify resolution. What I find interesting is that there are some similarities with WCC Group’s strategy. That company focuses on the human resource and government approach to human information.

Here’s the new look for the Exorbyte Web site:

image

Exorbyte, like other search vendors, is responding to market signals for security related functions. Coincident with this shift, Exorbyte slowed its stream of Twitter posts. There is considerable chatter about smart software like IBM Watson (Thomas or Sherlock version?). Exorbyte is another example of a vendor with search as a core function and with a positioning that does not evoke the associations of European enterprise search vendors which have been a source of some consternation.

Stephen E Arnold, April 16, 2015

The Enterprise is a Jungle Search

April 16, 2015

The word collaboration has become one of those corporate power words like “synergy” and “KISS method.”  Many people groan inwardly at new ways to “collaborate,” because it usually means another tool they have to learn and will fall out of use in under a year.  With the myriad of ways to collaborate digitally, getting any actual collaborating done is difficult.  The SAP News blog says enterprise collaboration might be getting a little easier in the article, “EnterpriseJungle Tames Enterprise Search.”

EnterpriseJungle created an application with the SAP Hana Cloud Platform to help companies connect quickly find and connect with experts within or outside their company.  The Principal at EnterpriseJungle states that a company’s people search is vital tool to locate and harness information.

“ ‘Large companies are desperate to get a handle on understanding and accessing the expertise available to them at any given moment,’ said Sinclair. ‘Our solutions help companies solve fundamental questions like how do we find the people who are fantastic at what they do, but only known to their closest core group of co-workers? And, how do we easily bring their knowledge and expertise to the front line with minimal extra work? If we can help get information to employees that need it, we’re fundamentally making their lives easier, and making the company’s life easier.’ “

After a description of how EnterpriseJungle’s works and its usefulness for companies, it makes a claim to offer Google-like search results.  While it might be a people search tool, the application is capable of much more.  It can help people locate experts, track down skill sets, and even improve IT relations.

EnterpriseJungle is hitting on a vital tool for companies.  People search has a severe need for improvement and this might be the start of a new enterprise niche market.

Whitney Grace, April 16, 2015
Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Watson Has Health Care Partners

April 14, 2015

Fresh from its triumphant recipe book, IBM Watson is now tackling health care. I read “IBM Announces Deals With Apple, Johnson And Johnson, And Medtronic In Bid To Transform Health Care.” The idea is that smart software in the hands of partners will ameliorate some of the challenges in US health care.

In the tradition of Technology Review, Forbes states:

Experts in health care and information technology agree on the future’s biggest opportunity: the creation of a new computational model that will link together all of the massive computers that now hold medical information. The question remains: who will build it, and how? IBM is today staking its claim to be a major player in creating that cloud, and to use its Watson artificial intelligence – the one that won on the TV game show Jeopardy – to make sense of the flood of medical data that will result. The new effort uses new, innovative systems to keep data secure, IBM executives say, even while allowing software to use them remotely.

The IBM vision is to work with Apple to put Watson in apps. Johnson & Johnson, a household name for many reasons, will use Watson for “personal concierge services.” And heart implant devices will benefit from Watson’s “understanding.”

The technology required to deliver these intermediary services will be Lucene, home grown code, and software acquired via acquisitions. I am confident that IBM will be able to integrate this suite of technology in a way that will add some excitement to health care.

IBM will bring the spirit of the ingredient tamarind to its recipe for health care transformation.The PR effort is more interesting than Watson’s game show performance. Is there post production in medical care? Is a log file kept of medical decisions that deliver interesting outcomes? Who is responsible if the data analysis is different from what the doctor ordered, the nurse practitioner implemented, or the nursing staff delivered?

One can, I assume, ask Watson?

Stephen E Arnold, April 14, 2015

Contextual Search Recommended for Sales Pros

April 14, 2015

Sales-productivity pro Doug Winter penned “Traditional Search is Dying as Sales Organizations Make Way for “Context” for Entrepreneur. He explains how companies like Google, Apple, and Yahoo have long been developing “contextual” search, which simply means using data it has gathered about the user to deliver more relevant answers to queries, instead of relying on keywords alone. Consumers have been benefiting from this approach online for years now, and Winter says it’s time for salespeople to apply contextual search to their internal content. He writes:

“The key to how contextual search delivers on its magic is the fact that the most advanced ECM systems are, like Google’s search algorithms, much more knowledgeable about the person searching than we care to admit. What you as a sales rep see is tailored to you because when you sign in, the system knows what types of products you sell and in what geographic areas.”

“Tie in customer data from your customer relationship management (CRM) system and now the ECM knows what buying stage and industry your prospect is in. Leveraging that data, you as a rep shouldn’t then see a universe of content you have to manually sort through. Instead, according to Ring DNA, you should see just a handful of useful pieces you otherwise would have spent 30 hours a month searching for on your own.”

As long as the chosen algorithm succeeds in catching what a salesperson needs in its net, this shift could be a terrific time saver. Sales departments should do their research, however, before investing in any contextual-search tools.

Cynthia Murrell, April 14, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

IBM Watson: The Recipe Fixation

April 12, 2015

Years ago I heard a Googler, maybe Jeff Dean, talk about recipes. Smart refrigerators, odd ball ingredients, a perfect meal from an automatic Google query. Whatever. Why not microwave a pizza and move on.

I am okay with food, but I don’t obsess. Free range, organic, industrial chicken. All okay.

IBM’s Chef Watson Recipe Book Lets You Cook Like a Supercomputer” is a throwback to those heady days before Google was the darling of every country’s privacy watchdogs. But it is not Google. Today it is IBM and its Watson system. Watson is into food. In my opinion, it might be more satisfying to stakeholders if Watson were into generating big revenue and even bigger profits. Supersize that cash stream, please.

The article, almost lovingly, reported:

Cognitive Cooking” contains 65 original recipes generated from Watson’s computer brain. “The collection of recipes was crafted based on the system’s understanding of flavor compounds, food pairing theories and the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes,” IBM says. Chef Watson’s mind is full of thousands of recipes, ingredients, pleasing pairings and data about the chemical composition of food.

A dash of reality seasons the article, which I assume will be recycled in one of the tony publications IBM’s PR people target. I learned:

Watson still needs people to bring its culinary visions to life. Chef Watson may spit out the ideas, but human chefs from the Institute of Culinary Education tested and refined the recipes. It would be interesting to see which concepts didn’t make the cut.

There you go. I will have some tamarind with my Big Blue chicken. Hold the Turmeric.

Amazing. Will this be a best seller among food lovers? In Harrod’s Creek, cuisine runs more along the flavor profile of pan grilled squirrel. Does Watson do squirrel? Does Watson do sales?

Stephen E Arnold, April 12, 2015

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