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May 01, 2012

What sessions to see at ESS New York in May

The annual spring Enterprise Search Summit in New York is almost here, and the final program is now available. 

I went through the program today, and I have to say it may have the best program I've seen in a while. Some of the folks I know who are real leaders in enterprise search will be there, as well as people from companies that - go figure - actually use search in their business and know of what they speak.

I guess it's a given that, in only two days, some of the best speakers and best topics will overlap into the same time slot; it's impossible to hear all the great sessions that are available. If your company can send two or more folks, I encourage a 'divide and conquer' approach.

I've looked through the schedule and have extracted what I believe will be the best sessions and the best speakers, and I'd encourage you to consider them.

One thing I've always been leery of: some of the sessions are there simply because the company is exhibiting. I've always been a bit skeptical of these types of talks; but even some of those this time are on my 'mush see' list based on my direct experience with either the person presenting or the company.

Without further ado, my list of suggestions for ESS 2012:

Tuesday, May 15

9AM Welcome and Opening Session: Trends in Enterprise Search: A Question and Answer session

Sue Feldman of IDC 

Sue is a well-known expert in enterprise search, and for years has been writing about the challenges organizations face with search. Bring your tough questions for this keynote.

9:45AM Report on Enterprise Search Adoption Survey

Kristian Norling, Director of Market Communication, Findwise  

In conjunction with my friend and colleague Martin white, the co-chair of ESS Europe later in May, the folks at Findwise have conducted an extensive survey and are reporting their findings here. Having been one of those who participated in the survey, I'm excited to see the results.

10AM - Roundtable: The Present & Future State of Search

Sue Feldman, Lynda Moulton and Tom Reamy

Sue, along with Lynda Moulton of LWT Technologies and Tom Reamy of KAPS group provide their insights into the future of enterprise search. With their varied backgrounds and specialties, it will be interesting to hear what they have to say.

11:15AM - My first conundrum: I'd like to see both sessions, but as my flight instructor says, "how can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?"

Kamran Khan, President and CEO, Search Technologies

A New Approach to Content Processing for Successful Search

Search Technologies is probably the largest independent search consulting firms in North America, and we've known them since they were actively involved with FAST Search and Transfer years ago. They are a sponsor; but Kamran is a pro in the field and will have an interesting presentation.

Valentin Richter & Christian Vogt, Raytion

How to Make Search Successful--Challenges, Business Needs and User Expectations

As I said, my first tough call: I want to hear Kamran, but Valentin and Christian are great speakers as well.  Raytion is very large in the European market, and user expectations can be a key factor in search success. I may just hide in the deli across the street so I don't need to choose between these two great sessions.

12:15PM Another Lay's moment. you can't just have one

Ute Rother CEO Q-Sensei as part of a group from Merck and Medtronic

Strategies in the Medical Field

We know Ute, and have met with her here in Cupertino at our favorite restaurant, Hobee's. Q-Sensei has an interesting search platform. With co-presenters from Merck and Medtronics, this should feature some great real-world content.

Dan Stroman VP Sales, Discover Technology

Increase Knowledge Worker Productivity Within Your Organization

I knew Dan when he was at FAST Search, and I’ve seen their product at both Microsoft conferences and at KMWorld in Washington last fall. They are exhibiting; but their product looks very interesting. 

2:15PM - Seth Grimes Author & Analytics Strategy Consultant, Alta Plana Corporation

The State of Semantics

Seth is well known in the text analytics space, and writes and speaks extensively on text analytics, data management and semantics. Well worth the cost of admission.

3:15 - Another decision to make: new innovative technology or an expert in taxonomies?

Bruce Olsen, Product Marketing, Kapow Software

Can You Really Crawl an Application?  

Think about it - crawling an application, not a site. Kapow has some really interesting technology, and if you have really tough data acquisition needs, you should attend this one. Do you have different sites, different search engines, inconsistent meta-data? Hidden content? Check this one out. Kapow is a sponsor, so worst case you should see them at their booth.

Tom Reamy, Chief Knowledge Architect, KAPS Group

Applying Semantics Today and in the Future

Tom is perhaps the finest taxonomy experts I know. He has built a strong client based, and is the guy to talk to if you need help with your corporate taxonomy.  It seems whenever Tom and I are at an event, the folks scheduling sessions seem to think our audiences are mutually incompatible, so we rarely get to hear each other speak. And here we go again.

 Wednesday May 16th

9:00AM Jeff Fried CTO of BA-Insight - and me

Making the Most of Search With SharePoint

Jeff, a co-author of Professional Microsoft Search, is now CTO at BA Insight, and a strong advocate of search based applications. It's worth your time just to hear him; and I will be there as well.

 10AM:   Daniel Webster, SharePoint Enterprise Search Architect, Summit 7 Systems

The View of SharePoint From the Trenches

I've only met Dan a few times, but he enjoys a great reputation in the SharePoint market and I've been impressed when I've seen him speak.

11AM:   Another tough decision:

A strong European software and search consulting company, or Steve Arnold return to ESS?

Bjorn Laukli, CEO Comperio

Best Practice: Enterprise Search Implementation & Maintenance

Comperio is based in Norway, and was a major FAST partner in the day. Bjorn is a heavy duty expert in search and great speaker as well; and Comperio have widened their product family to include some really great tools. Comperio is a sponsor as well; but I think you'll find the session worth your time. 

Steve Arnold, Managing Director ArnoldIT

Open Source Search Card: Trumping Commercial Options

Steve is back to ESS after a bit of a hiatus, and now his focus is on open source search. He has recently started a new site, opensearchnews.com that augments his other free and paid sites. Steve never gives a boring talk, and I expect this one will be worth the price of admission.

12Noon - Paul Olenick, Senior Enterprise Search Engineer, Acrovis

Solving SharePoint Issues

Acrovis is a major Microsoft partner based in New York City, just a few blocks from the conference hotel. One of their founders, Natalya Voskresenkaya, was a co-author of Professional Microsoft Search as well; and has been a big help to use on a recent SharePoint project. (She tells me the spelling of her name is the 'common one'). I've attended webinars that Paul has given on SharePoint, and if that’s your platform, I think this could be the big winner of the show.


How do they do it? Another double session I'll have to hide from so as to not insult either party!

Kenn North & Misha Kotov, National Instruments

Vocabulary, Metadata, and Classification, Oh My!

Real-world customers addressing a real world problem. Misha and Kenn are well spoken, and are always elbows-deep real-world enterprise search. If you saw out recent webinar 'Does bad metadata cost you money' (hint: yes), without good vocabulary and metadata, search is likely to suck. Likely a great talk. 

Marianne Sweeny, Search Strategist, Portent Inc.

Designing Search to Meet Customer Expectations

Marianne and I have known each other for years, having initially met at a FAST Search partner conference many years ago. She has been providing consulting to search customers for a while now, and has real insight into the topic. And since customers (internal or external) are the reason we deploy search, understanding their expectations can be key to a successful roll-out. 

2:00PM Jordi Torras, Founder & CEO, Inbenta

How Natural Language Search can increase your conversion rate and organic website traffic

I met Jordi not too long ago at the previously mentioned Hobee's in Cupertino (yes; it's one of my favorite lunch meeting spots).  InBenta has a very interesting way of working, with an initial focus on pubic facing search and eCommerce. But as I told him when we met, I think their technology can have a great impact on enterprise search as well, especially in areas like help desk and sales support. They are exhibiting; but I think it’s a good session to see, especially if you are responsible to eCommerce search for your company.

 3:00PM The last of the nasty conflicts. Maybe I'll have to leave early for my evening flight

Ed Dale, Digital Platforms Product Manager, Ernst & Young

In Search of Findability

I've seen Ed dale speak at a number of ESS shows, going back to one in San Jose 4 or 5 years back. I've been impressed with every talk I've seen him give; he provides not only good information that you should have if you run search for your organizations but he also relates lessons learned with entertaining personal anecdotes.

Otis Gospodnetić, Author and Founder of Sematext International

Open Source Search Safari

Otis is the founder of Sematext, one of the long time open search consulting firms. He is also the author of what was probably the first book on open source search, Lucene in Action. As you know, open source search has caught on; not only because the price is right, but because the technology is becoming increasingly 'enterprise ready'.

Unlike some previous ESS events, it looks like just about every time slot has at least one 'must see' presentation. Kudos to Marydee Ojala who put it all together for InfoToday!












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