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Search Behind the Firewall aka Enterprise Search

Called to account for the nomenclature “enterprise search,” which is my area of practice for The Gilbane Group, I will confess that the term has become as tiresome as any other category to which the marketplace gives full attention. But what is in a name, anyway? It is just a label and should not be expected to fully express every attribute it embodies. A year ago I defined it to mean any search done within the enterprise with a primary focus of internal content. “Enterprise” can be an entire organization, division, or group with a corpus of content it wants to have searched comprehensively with a single search engine.
A search engine does not need to be exclusive of all other search engines, nor must it be deployed to crawl and index every single repository in its path to be referred to as enterprise search. There are good and justifiable reasons to leave select repositories un-indexed that go beyond even security concerns, implied by the label “search behind the firewall.” I happen to believe that you can deploy enterprise search for enterprises that are quite open with their content and do not keep it behind a firewall (e.g. government agencies, or not-for-profits). You may also have enterprise search deployed with a set of content for the public you serve and for the internal audience. If the content being searched is substantively authored by the members of the organization or procured for their internal use, enterprise search engines are the appropriate class of products to consider. As you will learn from my forthcoming study, Enterprise Search Markets and Applications: Capitalizing on Emerging Demand, and that of Steve Arnold (Beyond Search) there are more than a lot of flavors out there, so you’ll need to move down the food chain of options to get it right for the application or problem you are trying to solve.
OK! Are you yet convinced that Microsoft is pitting itself squarely against Google? The Yahoo announcement of an offer to purchase for something north of $44 billion makes the previous acquisition of FAST for $1.2 billion pale. But I want to know how this squares with IBM, which has a partnership with Yahoo in the Yahoo edition of IBM’s OmniFind. This keeps the attorneys busy. Or may-be Microsoft will buy IBM, too.
Finally, this dog fight exposed in the Washington Post caught my eye, or did one of the dogs walk away with his tail between his legs? Google slams Autonomy – now, why would they do that?
I had other plans for this week’s blog but all the Patriots Super Bowl talk puts me in the mode for looking at other competitions. It is kind of fun.

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The Right Message for the Small-Medium Business Market

IBM just launched a very interesting suite of enterprise search products. I have yet to try it or examine the specifications but the marketing message is the right one for the small and medium business enterprise buyer. What I like in the message:
> Pricing ranges from free to reasonable to ? (sky is probably the limit).
> Deployment is simple, intuitive and clean.
> IBM knows that simple and easy is the right call for IT but also the way to keep costs down.
> The solution is scaleable from a departmental solution to the entire business domain on the same basic software platform.
For the short term, I am placing OmniFind on the long list of products to consider for enterprise search. Check out the Web site at:
http://www-306.ibm.com/software/data/enterprise-search/omnifind-enterprise/
How smart is it that IBM and Yahoo have chosen to team in this way? It could be a great strategy.
Disclaimer: This is the first product mention in this very new blog. It won’t be the last; I have a lot of interesting products on my list on which to comment. There will be much backfilling in the next few months but I have to start somewhere. The marketing message resonated; I hope OmniFind users will keep us informed by posting case experiences on whether the product delivers on the promises.

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