Autonomy marketing, meet HP
Leslie Owens, the enterprise search analyst over at Forrester Research, has written one heck of an article about a potential Autonomy in the HP era. Her analysis strikes me as being very insightful and, in my opinion, quite accurate. What makes it unique is you just don't see alot of 'analysts' tell it like it really is. Kudos to Ms. Owens!
Technical issues aside, I'm reminded of a story that goes back to the early days of the PC when HP and Apple were just beginning to compete. A popular quip about the difference between HP and Apple went "Where Apple sells sushi, HP sells cold raw dead fish". The implication, of course, being that HP just wasn't good at marketing.
I'll always think of Autonomy as a search technology company. Our first exposure to Autonomy was in 1997 with an early version of the DRE, the predecessor to IDOL. Back then, using vi or emacs to configure a search engine was pretty common; and no one really had grasped the importance of the business side of running enterprise search.
In search, IDOL returns pretty darned good results out of the box, no tuning required. But if you want to tune it, if you have alot of custom work to do, IDOL gets really tough to set up and configure... and it's still done using text editors to create and edit text configuration files. This may be one reason why IDOL projects take so long to complete and require such big teams of consultants. HP probably won't be changing this... they want to grow their consulting revenue!
But now, in the second decade of the not-so-new century, customers expect to use a GUI to configure, manage, and customize enterprise search; and just about all of IDOL is still 'command line based'. I think this is just one of the data points supporting Leslie's remark that IDOL 5 has not had a major update in over 5 years. Sure, they've added dozens of new capabilities... API calls, and the like... but the platform is still a solid 1990s kind of experience. "Powered by vi" was funny in 1998; not so much now.
Nonetheless, Autonomy has been quite effective because their technology is pretty darned good at finding content; and because their sales force has been aggressive in selling the product. HP will love the consulting; but will they be able to move product as successfully as Autonomy had?
What do you think?