You have probably noticed a fair degree of skepticism among technology bloggers about search products and search add-ons to other products. There have been quite a few articles lately that generalize “search” into one monolithic group of technologies. You need to really read between the lines to find the “kind of” search that is meaningful to your “kind of” enterprise. If you go back to one of my first blog entries you’ll see I noted that “the market is, frankly, a real mess.” Sue Feldman has been clear that she, too, believes the field to be a “muddle.” Steve Arnold routinely how Google’s patent filings suggest a path toward future disruptions in the search marketplace.
Why then would anyone invest in search today? Do it because there are certainly enough really good and appropriate solutions for most enterprises. These may not be in the price range you would like, and may require more overhead support to implement than you think you should need, but you cannot be paralyzed by what the “next big thing might be” because it might not happen for a really long time or at all. You may find a solution today that solves a lot of immediate searching problems for your enterprise and continues to evolve with the needs of your organization.
That said, you need to keep educating yourself and your peers. This article appeared in the paper version of Information Week Aug. 6, 2007 as The Ultimate Answer Machine, but in the online version as It conflates all kinds of search in a single message that the average non-expert buyer wouldn’t be able to sort out. In its product box you have 13 products including Web search and enterprise search mixed together with no differentiation. I’m tracking over 80 products that solve some kind of enterprise search problem and new ones come to my attention every week. Take a look at the online article and be sure to look at reader comments to see more diverse views than just mine. Think about whether what you read makes good business sense.
I could load you up with two dozen interesting articles from just the past week but recently these have caught my attention for more self-education. Check out: , in Information Week on April 7, 2007, Search technologies for the Internet by Henzinger, Monika. Science, pp. 468-471, 07/27/2007, and , Analyst Perspectives Consensus Report (these last two are paid content).
Going forward, you will find some interesting perspectives on Oracle’s position in the enterprise search marketplace if you sit in on their Webinar, Oct. 10th. Finally, I hope you can attend the upcoming Gilbane Boston Conference, Nov. 27th – 29th. The case studies and panel discussions will have something for every type of solution. I’ll keep you posted on selected upcoming happenings as they appear; keep your ear to the ground and eyes focused.