Two excellent postings by executives in the search industry give depth to the importance of Dassault Système’s acquisition of Exalead. If this were simply a ho-hum failure in a very crowded marketplace, Dave Kellogg of Mark Logic Corporation and Jean Ferré of Sinequa would not care.
Instead they are picking up important signals. Industry segments as important as search evolve and its appropriate applications in enterprises are still being discovered and proven. Search may change, as could the label, but whatever it is called it is still something that will be done in enterprises.
This analyst has praise for the industry players who continue to persevere, working to get the packaging, usability, usefulness and business purposes positioned effectively. Jean Ferré is absolutely correct; the nature of the deal underscores the importance of the industry and the vision of the acquirers.
As we segue from a number of conferences featuring search (Search Engines, Enterprise Search Summit, Gilbane) to broader enterprise technologies (Enterprise 2.0) and semantic technologies (SemTech), it is important for enterprises to examine the interplay among product offerings. Getting the mix of software tools just right is probably more important than any one industry-labeled class of software, or any one product. Everybody’s software has to play nice in the sandbox to get us to the next level of adoption and productivity.
Here is one analyst cheering the champions of search and looking for continued growth in the industry…but not so big it fails.
Mark Logic Corporation announced MarkLogic Cloud Services, a new line of services that will make Mark Logic software available on Amazon Web Services. The first such offering in this line is MarkLogic Server for EC2, which enables customers to use MarkLogic on a pay-by-the-hour basis on Amazon EC2, the popular elastic computing cloud platform. MarkLogic Server for EC2 consists of an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) with MarkLogic Server pre-installed. For faster and easier deployment, users can subscribe to the MarkLogic Server AMI directly from Amazon Web Services. This service also allows users to pay for only the resources they need. MarkLogic Server is also now certified on two cloud infrastructures. The first is Amazon EC2, where customers can deploy MarkLogic Server on an infrastructure offered by Amazon Web Services. The second is the VMware virtualization platform, which enables customers to implement clouds on self-managed hardware. http://www.marklogic.com/
Mark Logic Corporation released the MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel. This new offering provides users a free way to integrate Microsoft Office Excel 2007 with MarkLogic Server. Earlier this year, Mark Logic delivered a Toolkit for Word and a Connector for SharePoint. Together, these offerings allow users to extend the functionality of Microsoft Office products and build applications leveraging the native document format, Office Open XML (OOXML). Distributed under an open source model, MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel comes with an Excel add-in that allows users to deploy information applications into Excel, comprehensive libraries for managing and manipulating Excel data, and a sample application that leverages best practices. The MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel offers greater search functionality, allowing organizations to search across their Excel files for worksheets, cells, and formulas. Search results can be imported directly into the workbooks that users are actively authoring. Workbooks, worksheets, formulas, and cells can be exported directly from active Excel documents to MarkLogic Server for immediate use by queries and applications. The Toolkit for Excel allows customers to easily create new Excel workbooks from existing XML documents. Users can now manipulate and re-use workbooks stored in the repository with a built-in XQuery library. For instance, a financial services firm can replace the manual process of cutting-and-pasting information from XBRL documents to create reports in Excel with an automated system. Utilizing Toolkit for Excel, this streamlined process extracts relevant sections of XBRL reports, combines them, and saves them as an Excel file. The Toolkit also allows users to add and edit multiple custom metadata documents across workbooks. This improves the ability for users to discover and reuse information contained in Excel spreadsheets. To download MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel, visit the Mark Logic Developer Workshop located at http://developer.marklogic.com/code/, http://www.marklogic.com
JustSystems and Mark Logic Corporation announced a technology partnership that will enable enterprise organizations to streamline data aggregation, content creation and publishing of financial reports using XBRL. Driven by XBRL compliance requirements set forth by the SEC and by the need to eliminate accounting errors and fraud, JustSystems and Mark Logic will offer customers a technology integration that combines JustSystems xfy XBRL Report and MarkLogic Server. This integration option allows enterprise organizations to push complex financial XBRL content from MarkLogic Server to content applications built on the JustSystems xfy platform at any stage of a business workflow. Using this functionality, organizations can also analyze and create detailed financial reports from XBRL content and add XBRL-aware document management functionality to their existing MarkLogic Server deployments. JustSystems xfy XBRL Report lets users review and analyze XBRL data and share their results with others. To that end, xfy consumes XBRL, creating content that uses the XBRL data and publishes it in a web-ready HTML or PDF. Other users can view the published reports without any special software, just a standard web browser. http://www.justsystems.com/, http://www.marklogic.com
DPCI, a provider of integrated technology solutions for organizations that need to publish content to Web, print, and mobile channels, announced that it has partnered with Mark Logic Corporation to deliver XML-based content publishing solutions. The company’s product, MarkLogic Server, allows customers to store, manage, search, and dynamically deliver content. Addressing the growing need for XML-based content management systems, DPCI and Mark Logic have been collaborating on several projects including one that required integration with Amazon’s Kindle reading device. Built specifically for content, MarkLogic Server provides a single solution for search and content delivery that allows customers to build digital content products: rrom task-sensitive online content delivery applications that place content in users’ workflows to digital asset distribution systems that automate content delivery; from custom publishing applications that maximize content re-use and repurposing to content assembly solutions to integrate content. http://www.marklogic.com, http://www.databasepublish.com
In a week when the KMWorld and Enterprise Search Summit were running concurrently in San Jose, Microsoft made an enterprise search product announcement that was actually a well-kept secret for Microsoft. There was plenty of other new product news floating about the marketplace, too. Mark Logic, MuseGlobal, Cognos, SchemaLogic, and Brainware all had their own announcements.
Between November 6 and November 13, these five companies had interesting news to share. The announcements all related to leveraging enterprise content in tandem with search engines. This underscores a strong trend in software product deployment, specifically, that much of it is being rolled out in partnerships in highly heterogeneous environments. While Microsoft’s announcement about free Search Server 2008
Express establishes them as the last major software company to adopt search as a platform, the other technology announcements remind us that integration activity is a core operational consideration and even a necessity for gaining value from search.
In order to tie all the bits and pieces of content across the enterprise into a tidy bundle for simple retrieval, or in order for content to really bring value to solving business problems, it needs packaging. It needs to be packaged at the front end so that search engines can grab useful context and metadata for smarter indexing. It also needs to be well packaged at the output end to present results meaningfully for a particular audience or purpose.
Here is a quick look at what these five complementary technologies do for search plus a link to each of their latest announcements:
- Brainware – combines data capture with a content extraction and distillation learning engine for enhancing categorization relevancy in preparation for natural language queries. It will be embedded in search for a leading enterprise library system, Sirsi/Dynix.
- Cognos – a leading Business Intelligence (BI) software company is being acquired by IBM, whose search products are often paired with Cognos.
- Mark Logic – is a company with an XML content server platform for managing or converting content in XML formats. They just announced MarkMail, a community-focused searchable message archive service, which stores emails as XML documents. Expect more from them on this front.
- MuseGlobal – offers solutions that integrate content from multiple search engines. They just announced availability for presenting results in a fully unified and consistent format from multiple search engines in a SharePoint portal interface.
- SchemaLogic – specializes in content and document type modeling, metadata and vocabulary management using SchemaServer. In the past two weeks they have announced integration with SharePoint to manage metadata. A webinar this week described the interplay with Documentum for document production and retrieval using the FAST search engine.
And what do the other enterprise search vendors have to say about the “surprise” Microsoft announcement? Comments ranged from “we knew it was just a matter of time before they announced” to “good for business, enterprise search is officially now a market.” To the first comment I say, “Not so fast.” For several years rumors have been floated about the imminent acquisition of any number of search companies by MS but nothing materialized. Yes, Microsoft was doing something about enterprise search but until last week “what” was still the question. To the latter I say, “We’ve had an enterprise search market for several years, Microsoft just wanted to be sure it was well established before joining the club.” That was smart of them; let others lay the foundation for a growth industry. It also looks like this is a leveling of the field with Google already playing in Microsoft’s backyard in the free office tools area.
Now the positioning really begins.
When I was much younger, I lived in Upstate NY and was vexed by a certain Gannet Newspaper whose news wasn’t particularly current. I always said that their motto should be “the news in retrospect”.
Now I do some writing in the form of this blog and am embarrassed to admit that my report on the recent Gilbane Conference in SanFrancisco would be covered by the same motto. Age makes us humbler with every passing year.
I was very pleased with the quality of presentations in this year’s Publishing Track. In his recent post, Thad McIlroy was much too modest in his depiction of his impressive Future of Publishing Website. The result of almost 10 years of hard work, the site is a fascinating compendium of past and current views of the future of publishing. It is impressive in its scope, organization, and innate wisdom. We were honored to have it released to the public at our conference.
Thad did his usual outstanding job in leading a panel that gave a crisp and concise view of what is possible today in the world of publishing automation. As publishers, Thomson and O’Reilly distinguished themselves with the processes they are using today and products that resulted from those processes. Their willingness to completely rethink their strategies and re-engineer their processes should prove an inspiration to other publishers.
As you can see from my previous post on We are Smarter than Me, I am very interested in activities at the intersection of communities and publishing entities. Our Panel with representatives of San Diego Union Tribune, MERLOT, and Leverage Software gave vivid examples and insights as to how communities can develop valuable new information or enhance traditional information products. Their talks further fueled my curiosity and thinking on this topic.
Bill Rosenblatt led a great Panel of representatives from Adobe, Mark Logic, Marcinko Enterprises, and Quark through an excellent discussion of how today’s technology can enable publishers to design and implement processes that support true cross media publishing. And then Bill shared the lessons that were learned in an innovative cross-media strategy project that he did with Consumer’s Union. He was joined by Randy Marcinko who cited several clear examples of how the proper processes support cross media publishing and By Chip Pettibone Safari U’s Vice President of Product Development who dazzled the audiance with some of Their new products and business models . Their Rough Cuts and Short Cuts product lines are particularly impressive!
Finally Thad’s posting speaks glowingly of the panel for the International Publishing panel. I concur!!
Thanks to all conference panelists and attendees!! Please send me any comments and critiques that would make the next conference more valuable to you.