12 posts categorized "Oracle"

May 31, 2016

The Findwise Enterprise Search and Findability Survey 2016 is open for business

Would you find it helpful to benchmark your Enterprise Search operations against hundreds of corporations, organizations and government agencies worldwide? Before you answer, would you find that information useful enough that you’re spend a few minutes answering a survey about your enterprise search practices? It seems like a pretty good deal to me to have real-world data from people just like yourself worldwide.

This survey, the results of which are useful, insightful, and actionable for search managers everywhere, provides the insight into many of the critical areas of search.

Findwise, the Swedish company with offices there and in Denmark, Norway Poland, Norway and London, is gathering data now for the 2016 version of their annual Enterprise Search and Findability Survey at http://bit.ly/1sY9qiE.

What sorts of things will you learn?

Past surveys give insight into the difference between companies will happy search users versus those whose employees prefer to avoid using internal search. One particularly interesting finding last year was that there are three levels of ‘search maturity’, identifiable by how search is implemented across content.

The least mature search organizations, roughly 25% of respondents, have search for specific repositories (siloes), but they generally treat search as ‘fire and forget’, and once installed, there is no ongoing oversight.

More mature search organizations that represent about 60% of respondents, have one search for all silos; but maintaining and improving search technology has very little staff attention.

The remaining 15% of organizations answering the survey invest in search technology and staff, and continuously attempt to improve search and findability. These organizations often have multiple search instances tailored for specific users and repositories.

One of my favorite findings a few years back was that a majority of enterprises have “one or less” full time staff responsible for search; and yet a similar majority of employees reported that search just didn’t work. The good news? Subsequent surveys have shown that staffing search with as few as 2 FTEs improves overall search satisfactions; and 3 FTEs seem to strongly improve overall satisfaction. And even more good news: Over the years, the trend in enterprise search shows that more and more organizations are taking search and findability seriously.

You can participate in the 2016 Findwise Enterprise Search and Findability Survey in just 10 or 15 minutes and you’ll be among the first to know what this year brings. Again, you’ll find the 2016 survey at http://bit.ly/1sY9qiE.

December 18, 2012

Last call for submiting papers to ESS NY

This Friday, December 21, is the last day for submitting papers and workshops to ESS in NY in May 21-22. See the information site at the Enterprise Search Summit Call for Speakers page.

If you work with enterprise search technologies (or supporting technologies), chances are the things you've learned would be valuable to other folks. If you have an in-depth topic, write it up as a 3 hour workshop; if you have a success story, or lessons learned you can share, submit a talk for a 30-45 minute session.

I have to say, this conference has enjoyed a multi-year run in terms of quality of talks and excellent Spring weather.. see you in May?



November 08, 2011

Are you spending too much on enterprise search?

If your organization uses enterprise search, or if you are in the market for a new search platform, you may want to attend our webinar next week "Are you spending too much for search?". The one hour session will address:

  • What do users expect?
  • Why not just use Google?
  • How much search do you need?
  • Is an RFI a waste of time?   

Date: Wednesday, November 16 2011

Time: 11AM Pacific Standard Time / 1900 UTC

Register today!

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!




Oracle acquires Endeca

The trend that can trace its immediate roots back to when Microsoft acquired FAST and HP acquired Autonomy continues today as Oracle has announced it is acquiring privetely held Endeca. Forbes reports that Endeca has raised up to $70M; and in July reported its sales are running at $150M annually. Details have not yet been released. More to come on this as it develops.


Update: Oracle's slide presentation on the deal at http://bit.ly/qHNCeH



February 02, 2011

Make your search engine seem psychic

People tell us that Google just seems to know what they want - it's almost psychic sometimes. If only every search engine could be like Google. Well, maybe it can.

Over the years, the functions performed by the actual 'search engine' have grown. At first, it was simply a search for an exact match - probably using punch card input. Then, over time, new and expanded capabilities were added, including stemming... synonyms... expanded query languages... weighting based on fields and metadata.. and more. But no matter what the search technology provided, really demanding search consumers pushed the technology, often by wrapping extra processing both at index time and at query time. This let the most innovative search driven organizations stay ahead of the competition. Two great examples today: LexisNexis and Factiva.

In fact, the magic that makes public Google search so good - and so much better than even the Google Search Appliance - is the armies of specialists analyzing query activity and adding specialized actions 'above' the search engine. 

One example of this many of us know well: enter a 12 digit number. if the format of the number matches the algorithm used by FedEx in creating tracking numbers, Google will offer to let you track that package directly from FedEx. For example, search for 796579057470 and you see a delivery record; change that last 1 to a zero, and you get no hits. How do they know?

The folks at Google must have noticed lots of 12 digit numbers as queries; and being smart, they realized that many were FedEx tracking numbers. I imagine, working in conjunction with FedEx, Google implemented the algorithm - what makes a valid FedEx tracking number - and boosted that as a 'best bet'.

Why is this important to you? Well, first it shows that Google.com is great in part because of the army of humans who review search activity, likely on a daily basis. Oh, sure, they have automated tools to help them out - with maybe 100 million queries every day, you'd need to automate too. They look for interesting trends and search behavior that lets them provide better answers.

Secondly, you can do the same sort of thing at your organization. Autonomy, Exalead, Microsoft, Lucene, and even the Google Search Appliance, can all be improved with some custom code after the user query but before the results show up. Did the user type what looks like a name? Check the employee directory and suggest a phone number or an email address. Is the query a product name? Suggest the product page. You can make your search psychic.

Finally, does the query return no hits? You can tell what form the user was on when the search was submitted - rather than a generic 'No Hits' page. Was the query more than a single term? Look for any of the words, rather than all; make a guess at what the user wanted, based on the search form, pervious searches, or whatever context you can find.

So how do you make your search engine seem psychic? Learn about query tuning and result list pre-processing; we've written a number of articles about query tuning in our newsletter alone.

But most importantly: mimic Google: work hard at it every day.






July 22, 2010

Document filters webinar July 28 2010

ISYS Document filter independent ISYS is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, July 28 at 1PM Eastern to talk  about the role document filters play in successful search indexing and display. You can register now.

Of course, as a search technology company, ISYS has enjoyed great success, particularly among law enforcement where search has to work right at a reasonable price. We've always liked their technology and their approach.

But like every search platform, ISYS needed filters to convert so-called 'binary' formats like Microsoft Office, PDF, or even Photoshop files into a stream of text - after all, today's search platforms primarily operate on words.. in textual format. But ISYS looked at the market at the time, and found that two of their competitors, Autonomy and Oracle, own the best of the filter technologies.

Like any company, they made a 'make or buy' decision, and in their case, making their own filters was the right answer for them, and possibly for you. You see, ISYS decided to start selling their filter technology independent of their search platform, so now you can acquire some really great filtering and viewing technology for just about any search engine, 'off the shelf'. Their customers include other vendors with the need to extract text from various types of content, not just search vendors but also eDiscovery and eCompliance companies and many others who don’t want to pay excessive prices for technology - and who want really great filtering at a reasonable cost.

Then, a few years back, ISYS decided that open source platforms Lucene and Solr - which had no filters - needed them as well. So now you can buy a great filter pack 'off the shelf' with no huge volume commitment - no volume commitment at all! And you can get world class filtering for your open source search project.

Come hear ISYS, the guys from Lucid Imagination, and us here at New Idea Engineering talk about the critical role of filters in your search applications. See you then!


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!


May 30, 2008

Some interesting Enterprise search events the week of June 2nd

There are two really interesting events happening next week that might be of interest.

First, Leslie Owens of Forrester is presenting a the Forrester Wave Enterprise Search platform webinar  on Monday morning, June 2 at 8AM. There is a nominal fee, but I think you will find it interesting.

Then, Leslie and several other interesting speakers will be at a free one day seminar hosted by FAST on Wednesday the 4th in Redwood Shores California at the Sofitel Hotel. In addition to Leslie Owens' presentation on 'Technology Populism', speakers will include Jeff Spataro of Microsoft; Hadley Reynolds of FAST; and senior IT managers from Cisco and National Instruments.  Hadley, by the way, speaks and writes on Search Centers of Excellence and other innovations in the application of enterprise search. Be sure to register for the free FAST Search event.

January 22, 2008

Is hosted / managed search behind the Microsoft FAST acquisition?

What does Microsoft the acquisition of FAST mean for the industry?

We've been sifting through the information available around the web and from our contacts in the enterprise search space, and we are beginning to see some signals come through the noise.

First, this is still an early story in the consolidation that will continue to take place over the next few years. Microsoft will operate FAST as a 'wholly owned subsidiary', which may well be a first for Microsoft - I'm not sure.  In addition, FAST seems to be heads-down on their release schedule, with some cool stuff rumored to be on the way.

In the Microsoft-FAST conference call (which will be available at that link through June 9th, 2008 - scroll to the Teleconference link), Microsoft's Jeff Raikes had little to say about how the integration would go forward, but I thought he dropped an interesting hint while answering an question from a JP Morgan analyst. He was talking about how the two technologies might fit when he said:

"Obviously, we feel one of our great strengths is that we'll bring to customers the power of on-premise software with software services; that combination can bring  customers greater capability plus we can give customers the power of choice  in terms of deployment models. So without going in greater detail which I wouldn't be able to do today ... I can just simply say that part of what we will look at ... will be to marry the strengths that we have with our software plus services with what FAST is doing in Enterprise Search."

Now, taken by itself it all sounds pretty generic. But it was his emphasis on the word "with" above - and on the parts about software as a service. Could it be Microsoft  wants FAST for the hosted/managed enterprise search solution that FAST can offer its customers? No enterprise data center; no need for in-house expertise; no pesky updates to install; no load-balancing to manage. And FAST can offer this data center service either fully hosted or remotely by connecting into the enterprise and providing only search management services.

Could Jeff be admitting that Microsoft wants to look towards more enterprise services using a hosted model - say something like his friends in Mountain View offer? Only time will tell!

It sure makes the FASTForward'08 user conference a must-see event.