Month: May 2009

If a Vendor Spends Enough on Full-page Ads: Ink will Follow

Earlier comments in this blog referred to Autonomy ads in Information Week. They have continued throughout early 2009 with just the latest proclaiming “Autonomy Dominates Enterprise Search” in bold red and black, two of my favorite, eye-catching colors. Having read the publication for over ten years, I notice things that are different. Seeing a search company repeatedly showing up keeps me noticing because they are the first to spend on major advertising like this in an IT publication.

This week the predictable happened, it was an article by Information Week‘s Sr. VP focusing on Autonomy’s terrific business run in a tough economy. Fair enough – it happens all the time for big spenders.

I just want to remind readers that if you are a small unit in a large organization or a small or medium business, there are dozens of enterprise search solutions that will serve you extremely well, with much lower cost of ownership and startup effort than Autonomy. You do not need the biggest or fastest growing company’s products to get good or even excellent solutions. Furthermore, the chances of getting superior customer support and services from a more modest company, which is focused exclusively on search excellence, are much better.

Be sure to check out the offerings at the Gilbane Conference in San Francisco next week. A lot more guidance and good case studies will give you an earful of what else to consider. The search headliners at the conference with Hadley Reynolds moderating are:

E8. Search Survival Guide: Delivering Great Results
Speakers: Randy Woods, Co-founder & Executive VP, non-linear creations, Best Practices for Tuning Enterprise Search and Miles Kehoe, President, New Idea Engineering

E9/I5. The Next Big Thing: Tomorrow’s Search Revealed
Speakers: Stephen Arnold, ArnoldIT, What You Need to Know About Google Dataspaces and Jeff Fried, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft

E10/I6. Bringing it All Together: Perils and Pitfalls of Search Federation
Speakers: Helen Mitchell Curtis, Senior Program Director of Enterprise Solutions, MacFadden, Federated Search in a Disparate Environment, Larry Donahue, Chief Operating Officer & Corporate Counsel, Deep Web Technologies, Federated Search: True Enterprise Search and Jeff Fried, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft

E11/I7. The Special Case of Categories – and Where To Find Them
Speakers: Joseph Busch, Founder, Taxonomy Strategies, Taxonomy Validation, and Arje Cahn, CTO, Hippo, Find What You Need in Unstructured Content with the Help of Others (and your CMS): Demo of Wikipedia with Faceted Search

E12/I8. It’s Easier with Structure: Leveraging Markup for Better Search
Speakers: Dianne Burley, Industry Specialist, Nstein Technologies, Semantic Search and J. Brooke Aker, CEO, Expert System, A 3-Step Walk Through ECM Using Semantics

E13/I9. Improving SharePoint Search & Navigation with a Taxonomy and Metadata

Announcements Spring Forth as Search Conferences Begin

Here is a monthly summary of some interesting and important announcements for April, but first a couple of comments on the Infonortics Search Engines conference in Boston the last week of April. Ever searching for ways to embrace and make social tools more useful, I decided to tweet the entire Infonortics meeting. Except for a lapse late on Monday because I left a little early and some wireless issues Tuesday PM, I was able to pass on quite a few interesting or relevant comments by speakers. See what you get out of some very terse tweets by searching in Twitter infonorticssearchengine (that takes up entirely too much space I learned). The talks were excellent and many of the speakers emphasized how hard it is to do search well; it was also clear that there are many, many ways to try to do it well, none of them for the faint of heart. If you want to get under the search hood, this is the conference for technologists and those who want to hear what the development community is pondering.

Here is the April news:

Marketwire. Bell Mobility and Coveo Partner to create Enterprise Search from Bell, an Exclusive Enterprise-Grade Mobile Search Solution, March 31, 2009.

My diminished manual dexterity and old eyes have discouraged me from embracing smart mobile devices but this announcement demonstrates that Coveo does understand the future of search. Coveo is releasing many enhanced functions and new options but the emphasis on search on a handheld is compelling for all road warriors. From what I understand, setup is pretty quick and productivity is immediate. This is a smart move to support Coveo’s current customer base and a draw for new ones.

Velten, Carlo. Official Qitera Blog: Qitera Enterprise – Search as a Service, April 2, 2009

There is a 15-day free trial being offered for this new software as a service for aggregating and sharing Internet search results with colleagues within the enterprise. As a consultant in knowledge management, helping people with collaboration and sharing technologies for KM processes, I find this an intriguing option. If any readers have checked it out, please let us know your impressions. http://www.qitera.com/corp/products/overview

Knovel Enhances Engineering Reference Offering, Adding Works from Five New Publishers, 04/06/2009

As a former technical librarian in a Fortune 500 chemical company, I contributed to a massive manually built index to technical information to support our research scientists. We ensured that all property data for any materials we developed, or developed by our competitors was indexed for rapid retrieval (e.g. what is the thermal conductivity of ABC grade of graphite). The overhead for scanning journals, government documents, patents and conference papers to harvest and categorize that information was enormous. Since I learned about Knovel in 2002, I have been a huge fan of the value of the content they codify and make accessible through their proprietary retrieval tools. This content is re-purposed through licenses with publishers who understand the increased value of being able to manipulate tables, charts and graphs as well has being able to compare data from various sources of reference books. Engineers and scientists need to be able to find data expressed in the most relevant form for their purpose. Knovel provides an aggregating and retrieval engine, and researchers can then normalize search results dynamically themselves through simple re-sorting operations. If you want to be kept abreast of the wealth of content that continues to come on-line from Knovel, be sure to visit their site and sign up for announcements. I recommend a subscription to their services to every scientific and engineering library in my client organizations.

Endeca Technologies, Inc. … today announced a formalized partnership to deliver Endeca’s Digital Asset Navigator solution on Open Text Digital Media Group’s Enterprise Media Management Solution.

April 16, 2009. Endeca’s Digital Asset Navigator offers an unprecedented access and discovery experience, combining Endeca’s market leading search, Guided Navigation and Content Spotlighting capabilities. It integrates related data from Open Text’s enterprise Digital Asset Management solution, as well as databases, file servers, enterprise applications and other source systems… The joint solution also takes advantage of Endeca’s advanced security capabilities to ensure that users only have access to data they are approved to see and use…

This is an interesting alliance, to be sure. Digital asset management is an arena ripe for growth and it has not gotten the wide-spread traction I believe it deserves. For publishers and R & D operations the productivity gains can be huge and this combined offering may intensify focus on an under-leveraged technology by ensuing high security and excellent retrieval. Looking at the headline, I would just advise that they pare down the labeling to something pithy and memorable.

X1 Technologies Releases Updates to the X1 Professional Client and the X1 Content Connector for Symantec Enterprise Vault 4/27/2009

X1 is gaining some serious traction and I know it appeals to engineers who like to maintain good order with their piles of data, particularly the flow of large quantities that show up in email and feeds. I spent a few hours four years ago with an engineer, an X1 devotee, who had tagged his email in text files scrupulously and then used X1 to index them every night. He swore by its value and reliability. This looks like they recognize the service they provide to customers who live in email and need to master their desktop domain. Theirs is a niche with a large audience to capture.

ISYS Search Software Announces Release of ISYS:sdk 9. April 28, 2009. Newest Version of Company’s Integration Kit Offers Dramatic Performance and Scalability Enhancements, Intelligent Content Analysis and Parametric Search.

ISYS made some significant management changes over the past few months and they are clearly moving along with their marketing efforts as they recognize the value of expanding the re-seller partnership options. Customer comments that come my way continue to be favorable and they have a good story to tell.

Data Search Technology Used by FBI Makes its Way to Enterprises. eWeek New York, NY, April 29, 2009

Add Chiliad to the list of platform search engines, now that they are being highlighted for their value at the FBI. With deep (20+ years) roots in government programs (including early DARPA research and later the SBIR) and a burst of interest and investment by the government after 9/11, Chiliad is taking its venture into more commercial opportunities. We will see how they stack up against the big players in the marketplace. They must have learned something as they worked to “connect the dots” for the FBI.

There have been a lot more stories this past month, but these notices are the ones that kept me engaged in contemplating the enterprise search marketplace that just keeps putting up more options.

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