MicroLink announced the release of MicroLink Autonomy Integration Suite (AIS) for SharePoint 2003/2007, which consists of six web parts that integrate Autonomy’s Data Operating Layer (IDOL) server with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). This integration allows SharePoint users to leverage Autonomy’s information discovery capability and automated features in a unified platform. MicroLink’s Autonomy Integration Suite for SharePoint consists of custom web parts that create more efficient access to the search capabilities of Autonomy’s IDOL server from within SharePoint. With interfaces familiar to SharePoint users, AIS helps organizations to process digital content automatically, share data and synchronize with other data webparts. AIS comprises Search and Retrieval, Agents, Profiling, Web Channels, Clustering, and Community Collaboration. AIS also improves expertise search and incorporates full document level security. Key Features of AIS: Federated search capabilities for SharePoint, enabling customers to index and search all content across the entire enterprise and repositories inside and outside the SharePoint environment; Custom Web Parts that enable access to the capabilities of Autonomy’s IDOL platform from within Microsoft’s SharePoint Portal Server; Data connections for each web part that allows data sharing and synchronization between parts; For the end user, a singular interface that is consistent with the SharePoint user experience. http://www.MicroLinkllc.com
While you may be wrapping up your summer vacation or preparing for a ramp up to a busy fourth quarter of business, the Gilbane team is securing the speakers for an exciting conference Dec. 2 – 4 in Boston. Evaluations of past sessions always give high marks to case studies delivered by users. We have several for the search track but would like a few more. If one of your targets for search is documents stored in SharePoint repositories, your experiences are sure to draw interest.
SharePoint is the most popular new collaboration tool for organizations with a large Microsoft application footprint but it usually resides with multiple other repositories that also need to be searched. So, what search products are being used to retrieve SharePoint content plus other content? A majority of search applications provide a connector to index SharePoint documents and they would not be making that available without a demand. We would like to hear what SharePoint adopters are actively using for search. What are you experiencing? If you would like to participate in the Gilbane Conference, and have experiences you to share, I hope you will get in touch and check out the full program.
On a related note, I was surprised, during my recent research, to discover few identifiable user-groups or support communities for search products. Many young companies launch and sponsor “user-group meetings” to share product information, offer training, and facilitate peer-to-peer networking among their customers. It is a sign of confidence when they do help customers communicate with each other. It signals a willingness to open communication paths the might lead to collective product critiques which, if well organized, can benefit users and vendors. It is also a sign of maturity when companies reach out to encourage customers to connect with each other. May-be some are operating in stealth mode but more should be accessible to interested parties in the marketplace.
Organizing functions are difficult to manage by users on their own professional time, so, having a vendor willing to be the facilitator and host for communication mechanisms is valuable. However, they sometimes need to have customers giving them a nudge to open the prospect of such a group. If you would value participating in a network of others using your selected product, I suggest taking the initiative by approaching your customer account representative.
Communities for sharing tips about any technology are important but so is mutual guidance to help others become more successful with any product’s process management and governance issues. User groups can give valuable feedback to their vendors and spur product usage creativity and efficiency. Finally, as an analyst I would much rather hear straight talk about product experiences from those who are active users, than a filtered version from a company representative. So, please, reach out to your peers and share your story at any opportunity you can. Volunteer to speak at conferences and participate in user groups. The benefits are numerous, the most important being the formation of a strong collective voice.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) announced that it will make an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer ASA (OSE: “FAST”) through a cash tender offer for 19.00 Norwegian kroner (NOK) per share. This offer represents a 42 percent premium to the closing share price on Jan. 4, 2008 (the last trading day prior to this announcement), and values the fully diluted equity of FAST at 6.6 billion NOK (or approximately $1.2 billion U.S.). FAST’s board of directors has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the offer. In addition, shareholders representing in aggregate 37 percent of the outstanding shares, including FAST’s two largest institutional shareholders, Orkla ASA and Hermes Focus Asset Management Europe, have irrevocably undertaken to accept the offer. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of calendar year 2008. In addition to bolstering Microsoft’s enterprise search efforts, this acquisition increases Microsoft’s research and development presence in Europe, complementing existing research teams in Cambridge, England, and Copenhagen, Denmark, with new capabilities in Norway. http://microsoft.com, http://www.fast.no/
Mediasurface (UK, AIM: MSR) announced a new extension to its Morello web content management solution that adds benefits to allowing enterprise users to work together on content creation using MOSS 2007. The new Morello MOSS 2007 Connector makes it easier and quicker to find, organise and publish MOSS generated content through an enterprise web delivery infrastructure on one or more websites, intranets and extranets. Mediasurface addresses this with the new Morello MOSS Connector which integrates MOSS tools with Mediasurface’s Morello enterprise web content management solution. Automated processes keep information synchronized, ensuring that websites always display the very latest, approved version of a document whilst SharePoint users will always have direct access to information captured on the websites. In addition, the Morello MOSS 2007 Connector plugs into the generally available standard collaboration and communication services of SharePoint (called WSS), so there is no technical setup required. Users can collaborate, create and review documents, images and pages using familiar tools such as MS Word and Outlook. The connection to Morello helps ensure users know which MOSS generated content is approved for use, avoiding duplication and speeding up the publishing cycle. http://www.mediasurface.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.
MuseGlobal announced the adoption of its content integration platform by Microsoft’s SharePoint Server 2007 enterprise suite. With Muse technology, SharePoint customers are now able to present local and licensed content to their enterprise users in a controlled and protected environment. The Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is an enterprise portal platform that makes it easy to build and maintain portal sites. Through consolidated access to existing business applications and content, companies can drive consistent performance of common business tasks, and SharePoint’s integrated Web content management capabilities enable people to publish Web content with a content authoring tool and a built-in approval process. MuseGlobal search integration and management systems enable institutions to build search products and services, unifying a wide range of content sources into custom search solutions. http://www.museglobal.com
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Fast Search & Transfer (FAST) announced the availability of new technologies in the FAST Enterprise Search Platform (FAST ESP) that integrate with and extend the enterprise search capabilities of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. In addition to supporting 80 languages, FAST ESP will enable Office SharePoint Server’s users to employ advanced navigation capabilities to refine results and find facts, using FAST’s Contextual Insight technology. It also uses Office SharePoint Server as a platform, extending Web Parts capabilities to expose customers and industry partners to more relevant information. http://www.microsoft.com/, http://www.fastsearch.com/
Day Software (SWX:DAYN)(OTC:DYIHY) announced their latest repository connector that are compliant with the Content Repository for Java Technology API standard (JSR 170) is for Microsoft SharePoint. The Microsoft SharePoint connector is part of Day’s Content Integration family of products that enable enterprises to access and manage all organizational content through a standardized API. This technology allows the implementation of content access, synchronization and consolidation even if the content resides in data stores that do not provide a JCR compliant API. http://www.day.com