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October 18, 2011

Oracle buys Endeca: Is it really just about search?

Is acquiring Endeca 'sour grapes' after losing out on Autonomy? I don't think so. Oracle has had any number of generations of home grown search technology over the years, and all things considered the current Oracle Secure Enterprise Search isn't bad. On top of that, Oracle really just agreed to acquire InQuira in July, and many people think of InQuira as a search platform rather than as a question/answer system so great in customer support. 

We've long considered Endeca as the first really modern platform, created in the late 1990s when it was clear that search was more than just a box on a page. They were just about the first platform to have a fully integrated console that a business user can actually understand. They fit really where relevance means "the document/product matches the user's query, it's in stock, and has the highest profit margin for us - between Monday morning at 8AM UTC through 5PM Pacific time". All with an easy to use GIU.

Consider: Endeca is powered by a fully integrated GUI management console; IDOL is powered by command line tools and configuration files, driven by editors like 'vi'. Autonomy does have more GIU tools now; but they feel like more of an afterthought, lacking the polish and feel of a fully integrated product.

So it's not search that Oracle is picking up: it's the powerful eCommerce capabilities. For years, Endeca have been telling us how great an enterprise search platform it is, and yes, it is pretty cool. But the place it really fits, the place it really shines - and the place where most of its customers are - is in serving eCommerce.

So, viewed as an acquisition to strengthen Oracle's fit in the booming eCommerce market, it seems to me a bit more sense.

What do you think? Let us hear from you!





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Verity had built a nice Admin GUI by version 6...just before they were acquired. :-(

Steve, yes they did - K2 were moving in the right direction. Sadly, in the instructions to set up the 'business console' (NOT the K2 indexing console), I recall seeing that the business/line manager had to set up a JSP file which the console would then tweak. When you have a business person setting up JSP files, you don't really understand business/line managers:)

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