25 posts categorized "Exalead"

February 24, 2010

Enterprise Search Summit 2010 - DC

Even as we prepare for ESS East in New York (ESS NY from now on?), Information Today has issued its call for papers for the first ever ESS-DC to be held in Washington DC November 16-18 2010.

Follow this link to find background on what InfoToday is looking for; or jump right to the submissions page. Don't be shy: everyone who presents papers had, at one time, never done it before. What you know, someone else needs to know!

In our experience, the kind of content InfoToday likes is the information that can help an organization select or manage search and related technologies. Generally, real-world stories about how other companies and organizations have succeeded with search are the ones that attendees appreciate the most. 

We'll also be having a searchdev dinner at ESS DC this year. Details to come late in summer, but plan for it now!

Are you doing search now? Have you been successful getting it going on time and under budget? Tell your story. Submit your idea now!

July 21, 2009

Lucene: It's coming from inside the firewall!

We've done a number of projects helping large clients with search roadmap planning, including an audit of  their various data sources. This is often an early step in implementing an enterprise search solution that will integrate diverse content across multiple sources.

On a number of our recent projects, an interesting thing has happened. As we've spoken with content owners, we've found an increasing number of Lucene implementations that no one knew about. This has often been a surprise to the people who brought us in, usually corporate IT.  Much like PCs infiltrated into corporations in the early days, it looks like Lucene is making its way into companies under the radar, often hacked in by a creative employee who just wants to get a simple search capability working, and who doesn't have time for a formal selection process or budget to purchase a commercial solution.

As we're written before, Lucene/Solr is getting to be a pretty decent search solution, although it's still a bit rough round the edges. This can't be a good sign for companies that market premium-priced search products.


  • IBM offers the free IBM/Yahoo! search for up to 500,000 documents
  • Microsoft offers free Search Server Express as well as a higher-capacity Search Server
  • Google Site Search and Google Custom Search are free and low-cost hosted solutions that provide search to your site - or a group of sites - and not spend much money

Finally, as Microsoft subsidiary FAST moves into the mid-range price sector with high end capabilities, the price of enterprise search is dropping for many companies that might have had to license six-figure deals for licensing alone. Add to this the free and low costs supporting technologies - consider clustering engine Carrot^2, for example - and you've got a movement.

To paraphrase our long-time friend Deep Search, you can spend a bunch of money on a commercial search, then spend much more implementing it well; or you can find a free or low-cost solution and spend a bunch of money implementing it. Your call.

June 08, 2009

Enterprise Search Engine Optimization: eSEO

Last week at the Gilbane Conference in San Francisco, I participated in a panel "Search Survival Guide: Delivering Great Results" moderated by Hadley Reynolds of IDC. In the presentation, I offered a new view on improving enterprise search engine relevancy that I call eSEO.

The term SEO is well understood by - and widely practiced in - the corporate world.  The concept of SEO, as summarized by one of the Gilbane talks, states that "Key to the value of any Web content is the ability for people to find it”. In the SEO world this is done by combining organic results and keyword placement - advertising - to improve placement, maintain ranking, and monitor search engine position - results- over time.

While we've been helping our customers improve their enterprise search results, it's hard to convince them that search results are not a problem they can solve once. I've decided to apply a new term to this process - Enterprise Search Engine Optimization, or eSEO. To paraphrase the role of SEO, eSEO is the process of combining organic results and best bets to deliver correct, relevant, timely content to enterprise search users - employees, customers, partners, investors, and others.

For both organic and best bets, the first step is to identify what we call the "top 100" queries. Start by creating a histogram that shows the top terms from your search engine. I hope you'll agree that if the top queries - whether 100, 50, or even 20 - deliver great results, you're on your way to having happy users. Talk to your content owners as you review the histogram, and ask them to identify the best result for each.

Once you have a list of queries and results, start the two step process: tune the search engine using its native query tuning capabilities. This will impact the shape of the histogram, and over time should start delivering better results. The bad news is tuning like this doesn't position all of your top terms, and it would be silly to try to micro-manage the results for each. That's why search engines have best bets.

When you feel pretty good about the curve through query tuning, it' time to start setting up best bets - the "ad words" of eSEO. Limit the number of bests bets to one or two at most - but remember that you can use other real-estate like the rightmost column of the screen to suggest additional content. Some guidelines for best bets:

  • Use one or at most two best bets
  • Don't repeat a document already at the top of the organic results
  • Make sure your best bets respect security

Once you have tuned your search engine, and set up best bets for the most timely and actionable result, you're ready to roll it out. But then the ongoing part comes in: you need to review your search activity and best bets periodically. Usually, we'd suggest once a month for a while, then perhaps quarterly thereafter. You may find seasonal variations, and if you're not watching you'll miss a golden opportunity.

In Summary

1. eSEO is just as critical as SEO

  • Lost time and revenue
  • Legal exposure

2. Watch for trends over time: Search is not "fire and forget"

3. Make sure SEO doesn't impact your eSEO

  • Use fielded data that web search engines ignore for your tuning (i.e., 'Abstract' rather than 'Description'.

This will get you started; but because your queries and your content changes over time, it's a never-ending story. Some companies - ours included - have tools that can help. But no matter what, hang in there!


February 03, 2009

Exalead Search Platform Migration webinar - rebroadcast

Last month. Exalead presented a very interesting and successful webinar,

Search Platform Migration: Mitigating Risk with Innovation with Spencer Shearer of Exalead and Leslie Owens of Forrester Research. They will be re-broadcasting the entire webinar this Friday, February 6, so if you didn't get a chance to see it the first time, be sure to catch it this time around.

The rebroadcast will be Friday, February 6 2009 at 11AM Pacific time. Register here for details on attending.

January 20, 2009

Forrester Analyst Leslie Owens on migrating search platforms

We've just learned that Forrester Analyst Leslie Owens will be speaking during a web presentation on Wednesday, January 21 sponsored by Exalead. her talk, "Search Platform Migration: Mitigating Risk with Innovation”, will cover the challenges companies experience in migrating to a new search platform, as well as tips on evaluating your current technology and picking a new vendor. Spencer Shearer, Senior Director of Technical Services at Exalead, will also be speaking.

You can still register for the event.

Exalead CEO Paul Doscher, who writes a blog at http://blog.exalead.com/, has certainly increased his company's visibility in the US market in the last 6 months, and they seem to be gaining strength in both the OEM and direct sales channels.

We think Leslie has an excellent understanding of enterprise search in large companies, having accepted her position at Forrester after being actively involved in search management at a  Global 500 company in the Midwest. We're certainly going to make sure we register for her talk to hear what she has to say.