corporate search, GUIs, Autonomy Google and so on..

Google will have us believe that search is the holy grail. (apologies Dan Brown)  Nicholas
Carr on roughtype comments on Google's attempts to surplant GUIs with search. I don't buy it. Charles, a fellow SAPler has some doubts too.

There is a lot of Google myopia at the moment with everyone wondering what will google do next. I'd like to stop thinking about Google and look at enterprise search more generally.

If enterprise search is such a big deal, howcome Autonomy isn't making SAP or Oracle kind of money?  By all accounts, the technology is brilliant (lots of maths PhDs)

Autonomy is founded on a unique combination of technologies borne out of research carried out at Cambridge University. Autonomy's strength lies in advanced pattern-matching techniques (non-linear adaptive digital signal processing), rooted in the theories of Bayesian Inference and Claude Shannon's Principles of Information, that enable identification of the patterns that naturally occur in text, based on the usage and frequency of words or terms that correspond to specific concepts 

 The company has 

  • a solid track record
  • is well run.
  • a very impressive government and blue chip customer base
  • Strong partners.

 It growing fast at the moment, but 50 million dollars revenue is not a big number. 

I don't think enterprise search is as bigger deal as Google and co think it is. If it was Autonomy would be 10x the size it is, or would have been snapped up by someone else for a big number.

If I'm wrong and enterprise search does end up being a really big thing, then Autonomy would seem to me to be a better bet than Google.  -Over 5 years track record in deploying search in the enterprise , understand stuff like security, ERP  and LDAP integration, have partners to configure the stuff, ……




4 thoughts on “corporate search, GUIs, Autonomy Google and so on..”

  1. There is no doubt that Enterprise Search will become a “bigger deal” as we consume more informaiton via all sorts of media and need to find a way to search and categorise it. This is why the likes of Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Google are trying to enter this market (rather unsuccessfully) now. However, they seem to have rather underestimated the technical challenges, assuming that Enterprise Search is easy. Google may have made a fortune by monetising web search but that does not mean that they have great Enterprise Search technology, their offering is very basic and they simply do not have the skills and experience in large Enterprise type deployments (other than of course web searching which is not a key requirement of most enterprise search solutions).
    As to why Autonomy aren’t making more money then you need to talk to some of thier customers and partners. Your statements about “well run”, “strong partners”, “solid track record” are completely unfounded. The company is a complete mess and this would be more obvious if they had not had the cash to buy both eTalk and Verity. If you remove the revenue from these 2 companies Autonomy’s revenue would be declining year on year. Autonomy is essentially a marketing machine with very old technology that never really delivered on its promise. They will not be part of the new generation of Enterprise Search.

  2. Richard.
    Thanks for enlightening me on autonomy. Their marketing obviously worked on me.

    There are various things going on here at SAP with enterprise search, I’ll be interested to see how they develop. I might have to search our corporate portal to find it. I could be a while !-)

  3. For a “better” enterprise search have a look at FAST ( they offer pretty much everything that Autonomy does, they have their own stable of Phd’s, but in my opinion seem to be moving forward just that bit faster and in the right direction.

  4. I would also recommend SearchInform ( Out of all the other distinguishing features of this software, I found appealing their speed and search for documents with similar contents. They also support more that 100 document formats and work with databases (including LOTUS Notes, certified by IBM).

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