Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: June 2008 (Page 2 of 3)

Enterprise Search Executives to Comment on Trends and Challenges

Executives from four companies with unique products for solving search challenges within organizations will share their thoughts on what is most interesting, promising and problematic in the current market at Gilbane San Francisco, session EST-4 on June 19th. Because it is important to consider markets, this type of session gives the panel and audience a chance to recognize the perspectives of each other, sellers and buyers. I’ll be asking the executives to comment on their product strengths, with emphasis on specific value propositions for buyers. There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions because what is on the minds of buyers is often the most interesting for everyone to hear. When one listens to questions asked of vendors and hears responses, it reveals two important things about markets:

  • Alignment that exists (or not) between what buyers want and what sellers have to offer
  • Challenges both face to create value

Think about it. When individuals are tasked with selecting any technology on behalf of an organization or organizational unit, their ultimate success depends on selecting a product and company that truly supports a value proposition for that enterprise business need. While the buyer has responsibility for implementing or selecting the right implementation team, s/he rightly depends on good guidance and a healthy relationship with the purveyor of product.

When a technology company puts its product in the hands of a buyer it must do so with the confidence that its product comes with a total value package. By that I mean not just the technology but also the design, toolkit, and support team to guide its successful implementation.

No one, particularly vendors, likes to talk about negatives. However, given all the things that can go wrong for a buyer trying to manage an implementation team or for sellers who don’t anticipate expectations about their products not explored during the selection process, it is important to consider factors that lead to failure or less than satisfactory outcomes. One question I will have for vendors is to share honestly some of the challenges or disappointments about the market that are a particular point of pain for them. Bad-mouthing customers is not the answer but conveying how hard most vendors honestly try to create value and how their best intentions can be derailed through miscommunication may help buyers and sellers smooth the communication flow.

After all, don’t we all want to provide value for our internal and external customers? I think you will find the panel a receptive group: a 25+-year veteran of the information access market, a marketing executive with an international search and text analytics firm, a founder of a rapidly growing plug-and-play search solution, and a marketing VP working to position a company with a large scale solution against the “big-three” search solutions. You’ll hear straight talk and interesting value propositions.

Speakers: Margie Hlava, President, Accession Innovation, David Haucke, VP Global, Marketing, ISYS, Laurent Simoneau, President & CEO, and Rebecca Thompson, VP Marketing, Vivisimo

Webinar: Searching for Hidden (Content) Treasure

Thursday, June 26 2008, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

Richly-formatted reports, often automatically generated by enterprise applications, contain a wealth of information that companies can use to accelerate efficient decision-making or quick diagnosis of customer problems. But business managers and users have long been stymied by complicated technology tools. They need simple, specialized search to aggregate content already output in formats they understand, reports hidden because of far-flung enterprise distribution and storage.

Apps Associates, Oracle, and The Gilbane Group join forces to illustrate the potential simplicity for harvesting the value data hidden in rich content that already exists. Topics include:

  • The pain points involved in harvesting valuable data in enterprise reports.
  • The technology capabilities that are required to address the pain.
  • The solutions that combine these capabilities to deliver application-ready report search.

The panel will also discuss real-world business scenarios that illustrate the value of enterprise search solutions that are fine-tuned for reports. Participants are Lynda Moulton, Lead Analyst for Enterprise Search, Gilbane Group; Jinyu Wang, Principle Product Manager, Oracle Secure Enterprise Search; and Ajay Kapur, Principal and VP – Product Development, Apps Associates.

Moderated by Gilbane Group. Sponsored and hosted by Apps Associates. Registration is open at:

What does ‘search quality’ mean?

Relevance has always been the main goal of search for most of us searchers, although sometimes completeness can be even more important, e.g., when we want to determine relevance ourselves and volume is not an issue. Relevance is relative, and there is no way to write code that can anticipate relevance in a general way. (Of course quality is relative too!) Fortunately, search can be extremely useful even without the mind reading option – in fact, mind-reading wouldn’t be enough to anticipate relevance enough anyway.

Much of the discussion about search quality these days revolves around the front-end of relevance, i.e., determining, as much as possible, searchers’ intent. And we do have increasing amounts of information (such as surfing behavior) that allows us to make better guesses about intentions.

We can also make information richer so that search engines can make more accurate determinations about relevance. For example XML site maps provide context in the form of structural information; providing additional metadata to search engines provides even more context.

Despite the imprecise, and constantly changing meaning and use of language, we have been able to asymptotically improve our ability to determine both intent and relevance, and incrementally improve search quality.

I say “we”, but I am neither a developer nor an expert on search technology. We are fortunate to have someone who is arguably the most influential expert and developer today speaking about search quality in two weeks at our San Francisco conference. Udi Manber, VP Engineering, Search Quality, Google is going to open the conference with a presentation on Search Quality and Continuous Innovation. While Udi won’t be giving away any secrets, his presentation will provide valuable and fascinating insight into the way Google thinks about improving search quality. For a taste of Udi’s clear and straightforward style, and what he’ll be talking about read his recent blog post: Introduction to Google Search Quality

Polopoly and Protec Enter Technology Agreement

Swedish Polopoly and Spanish Protec, announced a technology agreement aimed at closely integrating the Polopoly Web Content Management technology with Protec’s editorial cross media platform. For Protec customers it will be easy to integrate the Milenium technology to Polopoly. Editors and journalists will be able to publish content in Milenium and from there distribute the same information through different digital channels. A journalist updating a text in Milenium will automatically have his or her text updated also in Polopoly and vice versa. Polopoly enables personalized services, such as local weather and search services, quick polls and user ratings of articles. Polopoly also offers an advanced community module, where user-generated content can be managed in co-ordination with other content. Polopoly’s features for Live Layout Management offers possibilities to create and edit web pages on the fly. Polopoly is entirely based on open standards to ensure platform independence and to simplify legacy systems integration. Protec offers with Milenium Cross Media an object oriented editorial production system built on media neutral software architecture and a multimedia CMS. Multiple use of content is enabled through connectivity features to centralized or within distributed newsroom configurations. Polopoly and Protec will be integrated using Polopoly’s integration framework.

Don’t Forget Today’s Webinar

Mary Laplante will be moderating a webinar at noon eastern time today, Web Experience Management: Essentials for Engaging Customers and Winning Loyalty. The sponsor is Fatwire, and the speakers will be Yogesh Gupta, President and CEO of FatWire; Sovan Shatpathy, Manager of Web Infrastructure at Linksys; and Erik Kulvinskas, Web Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Transportation. We are seeing a lot of activity in Web Experience Management, and Mary offers the following definition:
Web experience management is a business practice that formalizes an organization’s approach to relating to its audiences through web-based channels. WEM is based on the premise that engagement that delivers high value to all participants does not happen by accident, but rather, by design. Only when experience is deliberately managed does it become repeatable, predictable, and capable of being improved and optimized. WEM, as a business practice, is enabled by a range of technologies, including web content management, personalization, dynamic content delivery, analytics and optimization, and emerging tools for social computing. As such, WEM calls for integrated marketing and IT processes.
Registration for the webinar is still open.

“Beyond Search” at Gilbane San Francisco

We have a lot of search coverage at our San Francisco conference in a couple of weeks, including a conference keynote, a track keynote, multiple panel sessions, and an in-depth workshop. To complement all of this we are offering a 20% discount to registered attendees who order Beyond Search: What to do When Your Enterprise Search System Doesn’t Work, by Stephen Arnold.

Steve is being interviewed by Lynda Moulton in the Enterprise Search track keynote, so you can pepper him with questions after you read the report. All registered attendees will automatically get an email with the coupon code to use for the discount. If you can’t make it to San Francisco you can still get the report at .

Find out more about what we’ll be covering in our search track on Lynda’s search blog. Though there is some overlap, also see the Search and Semantic Technology category…

was announced yesterday, and is available now as a public beta. By all means, check it out. I have been playing with Buzzword, and like it. I did manage to break it trying an Export to Word 2003 XML, but it is a Beta after all.
I do wonder about the export choices, which, apart from Acrobat, zipped XML, and plain text, are all Microsoft–Word 2003, Word 2007, and Word 2003 XML. This makes perfect sense if Adobe sees Buzzword as the Web interface in a Microsoft-centric document workflow. But I can see other use cases, especially ones where the content is destined for a Web CMS (or is already in a Web CMS and is being updated. In these cases, the Web CMS would likely not want the overhead of the complex Microsoft file structures.
I think we are getting a briefing on shortly. I will see what Adobe has in mind.

What’s in a Name: Information Access Software vs. Search?

This one almost slipped right past me but I see we are in another shoot-out in the naming of search market segments. Probably it is because we have too many offerings in the search industry. When any industry reaches a critical mass, players need to find a way to differentiate what they sell. Products have to be positioned as, well, “something else.”

In my consulting practice “knowledge management” has been hot (1980s and 90s), dead (late ’90s and early 2000s), relevant again (now). In my analyst role for “enterprise search” Gilbane has been told by experts that the term is meaningless and should be replaced with “behind the firewall search,” as if that clarifies everything. Of course, marketing directories might struggle with that as a category heading.

For the record, “search” has two definitions in my book. The first is a verb referring to the activity of looking for anything. The second, newer, definition is a noun referring to technologies that support finding “content.” Both are sufficiently broad to cover a lot of activities, technologies and stuff. “Enterprises” are organizations of any type in which business, for-profit, non-for-profit, or government, is being conducted. Let us quibble no more.

But I digress; Endeca has broadened its self-classification in any number of press releases to referring to its products that were “search” products last year, as “information access software.” This is the major category used by IDC to include “search.” That’s what we called library systems in the 1970s and 80s. New products still aim for accessing content, albeit with richer functions and features but where are we going to put them in our family of software lists? One could argue that Endeca’s products are really a class of “search,” search on steroids, a specialized form of search. What are the defining differentiators between “search software” and “information access software?” When does a search product become more than it was or narrower, refined in scope? (This is a rhetorical question but I’m sure each vendor in this new category will break-it out for me in their own terms.)

Having just finished reviewing the market for enterprise search, I believe that many of the products are reaching for the broader scope of functionality defined by IDC as being: search and retrieval, text analytics, and BI. But are they really going to claim to be content management and data warehousing software, as well? Those are included in IDC’s definition of “information access software.” May-be we are going back to single-vendor platforms with everything bundled and integrated. Sigh… it makes me tired, trying to keep up with all this categorizing and re-redefining.

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