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4 posts from January 2012

January 17, 2012

Which social media are you using?

If you read our enterprise search blog, there's some chance that you are involved in enterprise search initiatives in your organization, work for and/or represent an enterprise search vendor, or you're a skilled profession with an interest in search inside the firewall.

That said, may I ask what business-related social media do you use, both for learning about others who are involved with search, and for talking about your experiences/expertise? I'd also like to know what blogs, websites, Twitter accounts, and people you find most interesting with respect to enterprise search. I'm thinking social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, blogging sites, web sites and others.

Let me know - either by leaving a comment to this posting or via an email to me at mbk (at) ideaeng (dot) com - and I'll compile a list and post it back here in a few weeks.

I'll compile a summary and post it here in a few weeks.

Thanks in advance for your participation!





January 11, 2012

Webinar: What users want from enterprise search in 2012

If you ask the average enterprise user what he or she wants from their internal search platform, chances are good that they will tell you they want search 'just like Google'. After all, people are born with the ability to use Google; why should they need to learn how to use their internal search?

The problem is that web search works so well because, at the sheer scale of the internet, search can take advantage of methodologies that are not directly applicable to the intranet. Yet many of the things that make the public web experience so good can, in fact, be adapted in the enterprise. Our opinion is that, beyond a base level, the success of any enterprise search platform depends on how it is implemented and managed rather than on the core technology.

In this webinar we'll talk about what users want, and how you can address the specific challenges of enterprise content and still deliver a satisfying and successful enterprise search experience inside the firewall.

Register today for our first webinar of the new year scheduled for January 25 : What enterprise users want from search in 2012.







January 10, 2012

ISYS filters to be used for SAP Platforms

ISYS announced today that SAP has selected the popular ISYS Document Filters to replace software from both Autonomy and Oracle in their popular suite of analytical products.

ISYS, which has marketed an enterprise search product successfully for years, recognized the need for high-capability and low cost document filters, and packaged their internally developed technology. Because of its capabilities, support and price, ISYS Document Filters have become the best choice for companies that need to extract content from hundreds of different formats.

We particularly like that the ISYS filters are lightweight, easy to implement, and priced such that any company can afford to use them in-house or bundled with product. For large companies that use  Lucene/Solr for search but insist on having supported up-to-date filtering technology can solve the problem at a competitive price with ISYS.



January 04, 2012

My search platform ate my homework

In a recent article on inforword.com, Peter Wayner wrote a nifty piece discussing 11 programming trends to watch. It's interesting in general, but I found one trend really rang true for me with respect to enterprise search.

He calls his 9th trend Accuracy fades as scalability trumps all. He points out that most applications are fine with close approximations, based mainly on the assumption that at internet scale, if we miss an instance of something today, we'll probably see it again tomorrow. That brought to mind something I'm working on right now for a customer who needs 100% confidence in their search platform to meet some very stringent requirements. The InfoWorld article reminded me of a dirty little secret of nearly all enterprise search platforms, a secret you may not know (yet); but which could be important to you.

Search platform developers make assumptions about your data, and most search platforms do not index all of your content... by design! Don't get me wrong: these assumptions let them produce pretty good accuracy every time; and even 100% accuracy sometimes. And pretty good is fine most of the time. In fact, as a friend told me years ago, sometimes 'marginally acceptable' is just fine.

The theory seems to be that a search index might miss a particular term in a few documents, but any really important use of the term will clearly be indexed somewhere else and our users will get results from these other documents. In fact, some search platforms have picked an arbitrary size limit, and won't index any content past that limit even if it misses major sections of large documents. Google, in fact, is one of the few who actually document this - once the GSA has indexed 2 MB of text or 2.5MB of HTML in a file, it stops indexing that file and 'discards' the rest. This curious behavior works most of the time for most data (although there is an odd twist that will bite you if you feed GSA a large list of URLs or ODBC records). To be honest, most search platforms do this sort of trimming as well; they just don't mention it too often during the sales process.

Now, in legal markets like eDiscovery, it's pretty darned critical to get every document that contains a particular term. It's not OK to go to court and report that you missed one or more critical document because your search engine truncates or ignores some terms or some documents. That excuse might have worked in elementary school or even in high school, but it just doesn't cut it in demanding enterprise search environments.

It may not be a problem for you; just be sure that, if it is a requirement for you, you include it in your RFI/RFQ documents.