Over the course of the 3 years since its founding in October 2004, Coveo Solutions, Inc. (www.coveo.com) has worked tirelessly to establish itself as a major player in the ever-expanding enterprise search industry. In keeping with the company's mission to set the pace of industry innovation and advancement, last week Coveo unveiled the fifth iteration of its trademark Coveo Enterprise Search (CES) platform. The platform provides unbiased, secure information access for all documents and structured data stored in file systems, email servers, intranets, enterprise applications, databases, and Web sites. Added features for CES 5.0 include deeper security integration; distributed indexing that unifies data located in different geographic locations into a single, integrated set of index results; real-time ranking that allows administrators to customize the rank of search results; a richer search interface that makes extensive use of Ajax technologies; and improved functionality with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Coveo incorporated each of these improvements (and others) with the aim of augmenting those characteristics of the CES product that the company views as its greatest strengths: the high relevance of search results, security, and ease of use.
"As critical enterprise content continues to double at alarming rates, enterprises are increasingly requiring secure search solutions that quickly and accurately find the right information in a wide variety of formats from distributed silos of data," said Laurent Simoneau, Coveo's president and CEO. "Coveo Enterprise Search 5.0 accurately retrieves the most hard-to-find information—including audio and video—and is tightly integrated with today's most powerful enterprise solutions, offering businesses a robust and independent layer on top of their existing information repositories."
It is Coveo's focus on the specific requirements of search that are unique to the enterprise that the company believes sets it apart from its competitors, particularly those rivals whose main business is Web search. While in the past decade Google has set the standard for relevance in Web search results, the mammoth from Mountain View, Calif.—and the industry as a whole—has lagged when it comes to retrieving reliably relevant search results from within the enterprise. Coveo saw an opportunity to assert itself as a trailblazer, and once again, relevance was a top priority in the development of CES 5.0.
One new advancement that has been built into CES 5.0 to improve relevance and accuracy is real-time ranking. A feature called Query Ranking Expressions allows system administrators to customize the rank of search results using a broad spectrum of parameters, enabling specified data to have more or less emphasis within the results set. Dan Bauhaus, director of technical sales for Coveo, said that since no one knows a company's content better than the company, the company should have the ability to tailor its search parameters to its needs and expectations. "For instance, if your titles are good, they should be given more weight," Bauhaus says. "If you know you have bad titles, or no titles at all, you can avoid them."
Along with real-time ranking, Coveo touts its new advanced file-level system monitoring, deduplication algorithm, and collaborative ranking capabilities as features that provide a superior searching experience. But relevance and accuracy can be hard to quantify, according to Susan Aldrich, senior vice president and senior consultant for the Patricia Seybold Group. "Relevance is sort of like art and pornography—you know it when you see it, and what other people think doesn't really apply to decisions about what comes into your home." But where an industry standard exists, Coveo has sought to maximize its performance. "Coveo Enterprise Search does very well in industry benchmarks that other vendors shy away from, and customers who choose it speak highly of its precision."
Another of Coveo's principal selling points is its security functionality. Single sign-on support, early and late binding document security, and a flexible security provider API are just the latest additions to CES's stable of security features. Bauhaus noted that security is particularly difficult to get right in enterprise search because it needs to be at once effective and invisible and that the norm for the search industry is that security is an add-on. "We do security out of the box, which is unusual," he said. "Instead of having to pass through three separate logins and wait tens of seconds for results to come back, our secure results come back in a few seconds without a lot of hassle."
Aldrich said that a major challenge with any enterprise service is scalability and that Coveo addresses this issue better than most of the big names in search. "Coveo can do very small as well as very large," she said. "You could deploy it in your home. You could pilot it at your office without having to get money or equipment or programming help. But you could also grow it to handle hundreds of millions of documents, and advanced search." Coveo serves clients of all sizes, and some of its largest clients include HP, Procter & Gamble, and Lockheed Martin.
Susan Feldman, research vice president for search and digital marketplace technologies at IDC, said that potential clients are drawn to Coveo by the product's faceted search capabilities and the ease and simplicity of its installation. Feldman sees a bright future for Coveo. "I see them moving quickly in a number of areas," she said. "Coveo Enterprise Search 5.0 is quick to download, relatively neatly priced, and the services aspect is minimal. It works with a lot of peoples' environments quite well. They are scalable, they are secure, and it's just a really nicely thought-out search application."
CES 5.0 pricing starts at $10,000 to search up to 100,000 documents and scales to handle hundreds of millions of documents. CES can be downloaded for a 30-day free trial.