For two weeks in a row I have been struck by the appearance of full page ads on the inside cover of Information Week for Autonomy ControlPoint. For a leading search vendor, this positioning is interesting and raises a number of rhetorical questions about Autonomy’s direction and perhaps even the positioning of search in the marketplace. Top of my mind are these:

  • How will Autonomy be viewed by IT folks, whom I assume are the principal readers of Information Week?
  • Is this a shift away from an emphasis on search as “search” by Autonomy?
  • Is Autonomy just expanding its range to broader business interests to gain better enterprise penetration?
  • Will their deep technical competence in search be as rich in the areas of governance and compliance?

To try to get a handle on all of this, since the second ad had no URL, I went to the electronic version online at Information Week archives but discovered that the ads don’t appear in the PDF. No problem; I went to the advertisers’ index and clicked on the Autonomy link, thinking that the link would take me to the ControlPoint pages on their Web site. It only took me to the main page for Autonomy where there was nothing referring to ControlPoint, compliance, regulation or governance (all words prominent in the magazine print ads). I tried the drop-down for Products; nothing there either. At least Autonomy uses IDOL as its search engine on its own Web site, so I tried it. Yea! ControlPoint appeared in the results; the first entry got me to a page describing it.

But what else did I learn by following the breadcrumbs? A step back to the “products” level brought me to an Autonomy Electronics Records Management description and I began to notice the logo in the upper right said “Autonomy Meridio.” Lots of clicks later, I discovered that Meridio was acquired by Autonomy in 2007, which I probably would have known if I had paid more attention to “non-search” stuff. ControlPoint belongs in that family of products. When I clicked on this sidebar link, Autonomy ControlPoint: Information Governance for SharePoint and this one, Meridio eDRM for Microsoft Office, more questions came to mind:

  • Is Autonomy, the search company with its Meridio and Interwoven acquisitions, having a serious run at Microsoft by entering their traditional markets?
  • If an office tools software company like Microsoft slides into the search market by acquiring FAST and then leverages its great success with SharePoint by making FAST its default search offering, why shouldn’t Autonomy turn the tables?
  • By appealing to IT professionals will Autonomy be able to gain mind share that pits them directly against Microsoft with language like “Named Email and Compliance Vendor of the Year by Financial-i” and “Is SharePoint enough?”

Yes, we are going well Beyond Search, aren’t we?