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Year: 2008 (Page 1 of 36)

Enterprise Search 2008 Wrap-Up

It would be presumptuous to think that I could adequately summarize a very active year of evolution among a huge inventory of search technologies. This entry is more about what I have learned and what I opine about the state-of-the-market, than an analytical study and forecast.

The weak link in the search market is product selection methods. My first thought is that we are in a state of technological riches without clear guideposts for which search models work best in any given enterprise. Those tasked to select and purchase products are not well-educated about the marketplace but are usually not given budget or latitude to purchase expert analysis when it is available. It is a sad commentary to view how organizations grant travel budgets to attend conferences where only limited information can be gathered about products but will not spend a few hundred dollars on in-depth comparative expert analyses of a large array of products.

My sources for this observation are numerous, confirmed by speakers in our Gilbane conference search track sessions in Boston and San Francisco. As they related their personal case histories for selecting products, speakers shared no tales of actually doing literature searches or in-depth research using resources with a cost associated. This underscores another observation, those procuring search do not know how to search and operate in the belief that they can find “good enough” information using only “free stuff.” Even their review of material gathered is limited to skimming rather than a systematic reading for concrete facts. This does not make for well-reasoned selections. As noted in an earlier entry, a widely published chart stating that product X is a leader does nothing to enlighten your enterprise’s search for search. In one case, product leadership is determined primarily by the total software sales for the “leader” of which search is a miniscule portion.

Don’t expect satisfaction with search products to rise until buyers develop smarter methods for selection and better criteria for making a buy decision that suits a particular business need.

Random Thoughts. It will be a very long time before we see a universally useful, generic search function embedded in Microsoft (MS) product suites as a result of the FAST acquisition. Asked earlier in the year by a major news organization whether I though MS had paid too much for FAST, I responded “no” if what they wanted was market recognition but “yes” if they thought they were getting state-of-the-art-technology. My position holds; the financial and legal mess in Norway only complicates the road to meshing search technology from FAST with Microsoft customer needs.

I’ve wondered what has happened to the OmniFind suite of search offerings from IBM. One source tells me it makes IBM money because none of the various search products in the line-up are standalone, nor do they provide an easy transition path from one level of product to another for upward scaling and enhancements. IBM can embed any search product with any bundled platform of other options and charge for lots of services to bring it on-line with heavy customization.

Three platform vendors seem to be penetrating the market slowly but steadily by offering more cohesive solutions to retrieval. Native search solutions are bundled with complete content capture, publishing and search suites, purposed for various vertical and horizontal applications. These are Oracle, EMC, and OpenText. None of these are out-of-the-box offerings and their approach tends to appeal to larger organizations with staff for administration. At least they recognize the scope and scale of enterprise content and search demands, and customer needs.

On User Presentations at the Boston Gilbane Conference, I was very pleased with all sessions, the work and thought the speakers put into their talks. There were some noteworthy comments in those on Semantic Search and Text Technologies, Open Source and Search Appliances.

On the topic of semantic (contextual query and retrieval) search, text mining and analytics, the speakers covered the range of complexities in text retrieval, leaving the audience with a better understanding of how diverse this domain has become. Different software application solutions need to be employed based on point business problems to be solved. This will not change, and enterprises will need to discriminate about which aspects of their businesses need some form of semantically enabled retrieval and then match expectations to offerings. Large organizations will procure a number of solutions, all worthy and useful. Jeff Catlin of Lexalytics gave a clear set of definitions within this discipline, industry analyst Curt Monash provoked us with where to set expectations for various applications, and Win Carus of Information Extraction Systems illustrated the tasks extraction tools can perform to find meaning in a heap of content. The story has yet to be written on how semantic search is and will impact our use of information within organizations.

Leslie Owens of Forrester and Sid Probstein of Attivio helped to ground the discussion of when and why open source software is appropriate. The major take-way for me was an understanding of the type of organization that benefits most as a contributor and user of open source software. Simply put, you need to be heavily vested and engaged on the technical side to get out of open source what you need, to mold it to your purpose. If you do not have the developers to tackle coding, or the desire to share in a community of development, your enterprise’s expectations will not be met and disappointment is sure to follow.

Finally, several lively discussions about search appliance adoption and application (Google Search Appliance and Thunderstone) strengthen my case for doing homework and making expenditures on careful evaluations before jumping into procurement. While all the speakers seem to be making positive headway with their selected solutions, the path to success has involved more diversions and changes of course than necessary for some because the vetting and selecting process was too “quick and dirty” or dependent on too few information sources. This was revealed: true plug and play is an appliance myth.

What will 2009 bring? I’m looking forward to seeing more applications of products that interest me from companies that have impressed me with thoughtful and realistic approaches to their customers and target audiences. Here is an uncommon clustering of search products.

Multi-repository search across database applications, content collaboration stores document management systems and file shares: Coveo, Autonomy, Dieselpoint, dtSearch, Endeca, Exalead, Funnelback, Intellisearch, ISYS, Oracle, Polyspot, Recommind, Thunderstone, Vivisimo, and X1. In this list is something for every type of enterprise and budget.

Business and analytics focused software with intelligence gathering search: Attensity, Attivio, Basis Technology, ChartSearch, Lexalytics, SAS, and Temis.

Comprehensive solutions for capture, storage, metadata management and search for high quality management of content for targeted audiences: Access Innovations, Cuadra Associates, Inmagic, InQuira, Knova, Nstein, OpenText, ZyLAB.

Search engines with advanced semantic processing or natural language processing for high quality, contextually relevant retrieval when quantity of content makes human metadata indexing prohibitive: Cognition Technologies, Connotate, Expert System, Linguamatics, Semantra, and Sinequa

Content Classifier, thesaurus management, metadata server products have interplay with other search engines and a few have impressed me with their vision and thoughtful approach to the technologies: MarkLogic, MultiTes, Nstein, Schemalogic, Seaglex, and Siderean.

Search with a principal focus on SharePoint repositories: BA-Insight, Interse, Kroll Ontrack, and SurfRay.

Finally, some unique search applications are making serious inroads. These include Documill for visual and image, Eyealike for image and people, Krugle for source code, and Paglo for IT infrastructure search.

This is the list of companies that interest me because I think they are on track to provide good value and technology, many still small but with promise. As always, the proof will be in how they grow and how well they treat their customers.

That’s it for a wrap on Year 2 of the Enterprise Search Practice at the Gilbane Group. Check out our search studies at https://gilbane.com/Research-Reports.html and PLEASE let me hear your thoughts on my thoughts or any other search related topic via the contact information at https://gilbane.com/

Day Software Announces Sale of UK Subsidiary MarketingNet Ltd

Day Software (SWX:DAYN)(OTCQX:DYIHY) announced the completion of the sale of MarketingNet Ltd, a UK company active in the agency services business, to WAA Ltd, also a UK company. This sale marks the completion of Day’s efforts to refocus its UK operations on its core business and drive UK expansion through a channel-driven model. Day Software acquired MarketingNet Ltd in October 2000. All existing customers of MarketingNet Ltd will stay with MarketingNet Ltd, which will be owned by WAA Ltd. As a result of the sale completion, Day are anticipating non-cash charges in its 31st December 2008 results relating to Goodwill as well as cash charges relating to discontinuing operations such as leases, staff costs, and legal costs. Day Software’s core operations in the UK carried out by Day Software Ltd are not affected by this announcement. http://www.day.com

Kaltura Releases Version 1.0 of Its Open Source Video Module for Drupal

Kaltura, Inc. announced that it has released version 1.0 of its “All in One” video module for Drupal. The Kaltura module handles every aspect of rich-media, allowing Drupal site-builders to customize, configure, and manage rich media functionalities that include uploading, importing, editing, annotating, remixing, and sharing of video, audio, and photo files. Kaltura’s “All in One” video module was developed using the open source Kaltura code. It is specifically tailored for Drupal, and integrates with Drupal’s features and modules, such as CCK, Views, cron, metadata, permissions and taxonomy. The module is currently compatible with Drupal 6 (a Drupal 5 compatible version will be available soon). http://www.kaltura.com

JustSystems Revs XMetaL Author Enterprise for Documentum Webtop

JustSystems announced XMetaL Author Enterprise for Documentum Webtop now supports Documentum ECM 6.5 and Windows Vista, and has new usability features and quality enhancements. XMetaL Author Enterprise for Documentum Webtop is designed for full-time content creators who require a desktop authoring application supported by the Documentum content repository features including seamless search, link management and navigation capabilities. The latest enhancements include: Documentum ECM 6.5 support – Now supports Documentum ECM 6.5 SP1 and continues to support Documentum ECM 6 SP1; Windows Vista compatibility – Now compatible with Windows Vista in addition to continued compatibility with Windows XP.; New operations – From the docbase tree-view in XMetaL Author Enterprise for Documentum Webtop, users can now create new folders or documents-from-a-template, or initiate import operations by simply right-clicking on the item in the docbase tree-view; Quality enhancements – Now offers improved DITA authoring, with quality enhancements to file check-in operations, reusable component creation, and DITA operations. The latest version of XMetaL Author Enterprise for Documentum Webtop is available today. http://www.justsystems.com

W3C Publishes Public Draft of XForms for HTML

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Forms Working Group has published the First Public Working Draft of “XForms for HTML.” XForms for HTML provides a set of attributes and script methods that can be used by the tags or elements of an HTML or XHTML web page to simplify the integration of data-intensive interactive processing capabilities from XForms. The semantics of the attributes are mapped to the rich XForms model-view-controller-connector architecture, thereby allowing web application authors a smoother, selective migration path to the higher-order behaviors available from the full element markup available in modules of XForms. Learn more about the XForms Activity. http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Forms/

Ready for Open Source Translation?

In July of this year, WeLocalize launched the GlobalSight Open Source Initiative, offering the industry’s first open source version of enterprise translation management software. WeLocalize plans to release open source GlobalSight in January, 2009, and is committed to supporting LISA standards Translation Memory eXchange (TMX) and Segmentation Rules eXchange 2.0 (SRX). GlobalSight also recently announced a partnership with ClayTablet Technologies to enable connectivity with content management systems.
Is this just another marketing initiative searching for a way to differentiate common technology? Early indications are that there’s a real movement afoot. Over 200 people from 147 companies have joined this open source community, and the steering committee contains many high-tech leaders, including Cisco, EMC, IBM, Autodesk, NetApp, and Sun Microsystems. Sun, for example, has a long history of embracing open standards and open source. Sun has staked its future repeatedly on open standards and open sources, ranging from the early days of UNIX and Java to today’s OpenSolaris, OpenOffice, Java, and, now, Open Translation centering on XLIFF standards.
To be sure, this is an impressive list of companies. But the basis of these companies’ interest is not entirely clear, and the adoption history for open source solutions across the value chain of content technologies has been fragmented at best. Open source content management software is still in the early stages of acceptance and open source authoring software has yet to take significant market share.
In the end, global corporations and organizations determine value and standards. So we put the question to you: WOULD YOU CONSIDER ADOPTING OPEN SOURCE TRANSLATION, AND WHY? Please comment on this blog or send me email with your ideas. Let’s continue this conversation…

Webinar: WEM and Effective Marketing in Any Business Climate

January 15, 2009, 12:00 noon ET
Worldwide economies are undergoing tremendous change. New markets emerge. Developing markets continue to take shape. Established markets wait for stability. Smart global organizations see the Web as a constant in the midst of all this change. It’s the most efficient and effective channel for reaching prospects and communicating with customers. Delivering the very best web experience is now a mandate for attracting, engaging, and retaining customers. As a result, web experience management (WEM) matters now more than ever.
Learn how global companies are using WEM to achieve business goals. The panel discusses strategies for centralized multi-site management, personalized content and promotions, and multilingual web communications. Speakers:

  • Christoph Schacher, Head of New Media, Wienerberger AG
  • Brendan Sullivan, Product Manager, Portals, Elsevier, e-Education Products
  • Loren Weinberg, VP Marketing and Product Management, FatWire

The webinar discussion draws on the Gilbane white paper entitled Engage Me! Web Experience Management as the New Business Imperative.
Register today. Moderated by Gilbane Group. Hosted by FatWire.

XBRL US Training and Tools Support SEC Rule for Mandatory XBRL Reporting

The Security ans Exchange Commission has officially mandated XBRL filings. In the final ruling, announced December 17, 2008, the SEC will require the largest public companies, those with a worldwide public float greater than $5 billion, to begin reporting financial statements in XBRL format starting with their first fiscal period on or after June 15, 2009. All other large accelerated filers will be required to file in XBRL format 12 months later; and all other public companies will need to comply starting 12 months after that. XBRL US has established specific programs and created tools designed to support financial reporting preparers as they begin the process: Preparer Training Sessions “XBRL Filer Training Workshop”, a program that will give you the basics on how to map and tag your own financial statements, how to block tag footnotes, issues to consider and how to get started; Free educational webinar, “XBRL for Filers”, covering the planning process, how to map, tag and create extensions and how to guard against risks; Tools and Services Matrix, an online comparative table that outlines XBRL US member offerings that will help public companies create XBRL-formatted financials; XBRL US GAAP data tags, the full set of elements that public companies will need to use to begin submitting in XBRL format. XBRL US developed these tags under contract with the SEC; XBRL US GAAP Taxonomies Preparers Guide, a comprehensive document on how to tag financials, create extensions and work with the taxonomies. http://www.xbrl.us

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