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Coveo Upgrades Its Enterprise Search Product
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Posted On April 3, 2006
Coveo Solutions, Inc. (http://www.coveo.com) has introduced the next generation of its Coveo Enterprise Search (CES) 4.0, which provides secure, unified search across all documents and multimedia files in file systems, e-mail servers, intranets, enterprise applications, databases, and Web sites. A new Coveo Enterprise Search for SharePoint (CESS) 4.0 is also available, which provides search for content stored in the SharePoint environment and in repositories in the corporate network. With this upgrade, Coveo is clearly taking aim at the same market that the Google Search Appliance targets. The new CES offers new advanced concept extraction and summarization; an improved user interface that supports faceted search, clustering, and other capabilities; searching of Lotus Notes, Novell NetWare, audio, video, and OCR files; and improved scalability and performance. The company said the product's ease of deployment and use, flexibility, out-of-the-box document level security, and cost set it apart from the competition.

"We want to give our SME [small and medium-sized enterprise] and enterprise customers a choice for secure search that Google's appliance can't deliver," said Laurent Simoneau, president and CEO of Coveo. "Our products are specifically designed to address the needs of the enterprise. We're faster, more secure, more accurate because of our advanced concept extraction and summarization capabilities, and can seamlessly drop into Microsoft environments."

Coveo claims that solutions from Web search companies don't provide the right technologies or IT standards, such as security, that enterprise search requires. Simoneau said that in potential customers' product evaluations where Coveo was compared to the Google Search Appliance, it won 46 out of 48 times.

Search platform providers, such as IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft, lack the neutrality necessary to provide search easily beyond their own platforms, according to Simoneau. "What makes this version so exciting," he said, "is that we can go outside the Windows platform—to Lotus Notes and Novell NetWare, and we provide an API for connecting to other applications, such as Salesforce.com." He said that Coveo is building a great relationship with Microsoft. It is part of Microsoft's private beta program for Office 12. And, Microsoft is pulling Coveo into its large SharePoint accounts, he added.

As far as the big players in enterprise search—FAST, Autonomy/Verity, Convera, and Endeca—Simoneau contends that their products are too complex, too expensive, require professional services to implement, and are not a good fit for departmental search requirements. The Coveo engine provides all the functionality of enterprise search engines priced 3 to 10 times as much, said Simoneau. He also stressed that CES 4.0 could scale to the needs of departments as well as large enterprise installations.

"Coveo 4.0 should raise the bar for midmarket and enterprise search," said Joel Martin, vice president of enterprise software for IDC Canada. "They have successfully built upon their proven indexing and retrieval processes and continue to deliver consumer-oriented search features, a sophisticated indexing engine, and a user-friendly GUI that can be easily implemented and supported by companies needing flexibility, speed, and accuracy."

CES 4.0 offers full Boolean searching, faceted results filtering, metadata handling, relevance tuning, collection management, reporting, and more. It also handles custom fields, index-driven spell check (Did you mean?), user set search preferences, preview as HTML (Quick View), concept extraction, and document summarization. With this version it introduces clustering—"show me groups of topics related to my query terms." A partnership with ScanSoft has added the ability to search (converted) text within audio files. All administrative tasks are easily handled via a Web browser interface.

Coveo is filling an interesting niche in the search engine market with its SharePoint version—helping users of Microsoft products. Search engine expert Stephen Arnold, writing on CMS Watch, stated: "Search engine vendors Coveo, dtSearch, Endeca, Fast Search & Transfer, Google, and Mondosoft, among others just did a little dance for joy. Why? As you've doubtless heard, Microsoft has delayed the release of Vista, as well as its next-generation Office suite and much-needed server-side rebuilds. Microsoft today has no single enterprise search system that can perform what customers with SharePoint, Exchange, and other Microsoft bits and pieces want to do: find disparate e-mails and documents."

Factiva is one company that is using Coveo for its SharePoint implementation. According to Simoneau, Factiva downloaded the software on a Monday, trialed it on Tuesday, and went live on Friday.

The speedy deployment was confirmed by a CES 4.0 beta customer. Trevor Allen, CIO of ProSearch Strategies, a litigation support firm, said he was "thrilled with its ease of deployment, speed of indexing, and the HTML preview of documents." The firm's clients particularly love this last feature, which provides a quick view of a document regardless of the program used to create it. He said the company searched a long time for the right product: "Nothing gave us the flexibility, reliability, and openness (open API) of Coveo's product. The price was also very reasonable and allowed us to buy in increments." He also said that Coveo's concept extraction was "the best—equal to the $100,000 tools we examined."

Fehr & Peers, a provider of transportation planning and traffic services, chose CES to manage 250,000 documents across its wide area network—10 offices in 9 locations.

"As a consulting firm, our value lies in our knowledge and our ability to access information as quickly as possible, so we needed a search application that did not disrupt our operations with a complex implementation cycle," said Carl Thoreson, IT manager. "Other search vendors including Google only matched some of our requirements. We implemented Coveo Enterprise Search across a wide area network in less than 8 hours and have received favorable reviews from our users."

Thoreson said that CES addressed the requirement to index native file format documents across a wide area network without requiring the documents to be Web-enabled, as did the Google Appliance, which would also have cost more than double the CES solution. The company also tested other search appliances and enterprise search products, but found CES to be faster at indexing, more flexible, have a better look-and-feel, and be much less expensive.

Since being spun off from Copernic Technologies in October 2004, Coveo has grown to serve more than 180 enterprise customers and reports revenue growth of 400 percent. The company has dual headquarters in Quebec City and Palo Alto, Calif.

The average cost for CES 4.0 is $15,000, which includes a perpetual license and the first year of support and maintenance. An entry level installation could cost $5,000, while some deals have been over $100,000. Coveo Enterprise Search can be downloaded for a 30-day free trial. Coveo Desktop search can be downloaded for free.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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