Press releases continue to flood my e-mail in box, announcing all manner of news and products: from database launches and enhancements, company strategies and financials, and Web search engines. Despite the volume, I couldn't help but notice the recent buzz of activity from companies launching new and improved enterprise search products. Seeing the words "enterprise search" repeated in one announcement after another signals a hot trend to me. Just in the last 6 months, I've covered product news from Endeca, Copernic, Northern Light, FAST, Verity, EasyAsk, and Inxight—and news from Open Text arrived as I was writing this article.
Finding information that's located in internal and external data repositories is one of the major challenges of today's business organizations. This has led to a growing popularity in the marketplace for products addressing these needs. Most of the newer enterprise products do much more than just provide keyword searching. The clear trend is to integrate entity extraction, linguistic technologies, taxonomies, and classification with sophisticated search technologies to offer users better search results with less work.
At last fall's KMWorld & Intranets conference, more than half of the knowledge management exhibitors identified themselves as being in the "search, taxonomy, and classification" markets. With so many products available—and improvements coming along all the time—evaluating and choosing the best products for particular information needs has become an important and complex mission. To aid in the task, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) has announced several initiatives designed to put information into the hands of corporate decision makers: a new conference, an enterprise search demonstration site, and a commissioned white paper.
Enterprise Search Summit
A brand new event, the Enterprise Search Summit, is scheduled for May 11 to 12 in New York. According to Nancy Garman, Information Today, Inc.'s director of conference program planning, ITI designed Enterprise Search Summit specifically for IT managers, information and knowledge architects, content managers, and Web publishers and developers who are tasked with implementing site-search functions within their organizations. Over the course of 2 days, conference attendees will learn from expert instructors and industry analysts about how to select and implement enterprise search applications and how to mesh search with information architecture and content management systems.
Along with tutorials and demos, the Enterprise Search Showcase will feature tabletop displays and demonstrations by enterprise search software and solutions vendors. Enterprise Search Summit is produced by ITI in conjunction with the following industry-leading companies as premium sponsors: Inxight Software, Convera, Fast Search & Transfer, Endeca, Northern Light, Open Text, Google, and Verity, Inc. To view the complete program or to register for this new conference, go to http://www.enterprisesearchsummit.com.
Enterprise Search Center
In advance of the May summit, attendees and any others interested in enterprise search are invited to test-drive a number of leading technology solutions by visiting a unique search implementation on the ITI sites—sites that are rich with information about content management, search engines, and related technologies. The new Enterprise Search Center (ESC) is due to launch on Monday, April 5 (at http://www.enterprisesearchcenter.com), and will be available for use throughout 2004.
By invitation, participating vendors of enterprise search solutions have set their crawlers loose on the following Web sites, all owned and operated by Information Today, Inc.: EContent Magazine, KMWorld, Destination CRM, eMedia Live, Streaming Media, The Cyberskeptic's Guide, and Intranets. Users searching the ESC will see how each engine performed against the same content collection. Since these sites operate on a variety of platforms, users will also be able to see how the engines coped with distributed and independent systems, not unlike those found in many enterprises. Those who try the ESC are asked to register and then complete a short questionnaire after their test-drive.
The first three companies participating in the ESC are Northern Light (http://www.northernlight.com), Synomia (http://www.synomia.com), and Entopia (http://www.entopia.com).
Northern Light's products include the brand new Northern Light Enterprise Search Engine, SinglePoint Custom Market Research Portals, as well as technology-licensing and custom enterprise search services. Northern Light can search databases of up to 25 million documents with a single software installation on a single server. Its automatic classification provides Custom Search Folders for results navigation.
Synomia's enterprise applications rely on automated linguistic analysis—a patented process—and are available remotely: no installations, no maintenance. Synomia automatically organizes content thematically to provide visitors with an intuitive and immediate access to the information sought. Synomia's technology has been developed jointly with France's state-run CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique).
Entopia's semantic, contextual, and user-activity-based search capabilities provide "only truly relevant results." Entopia's enterprise search solution provides personalized results, a people-finding function, tight integration into business processes, and handling of a variety of structured and unstructured content types, repositories, and applications.
A new white paper, titled "Search, Classification, and Taxonomy," is due in May and will be distributed at the Enterprise Search Summit. It will also be included in the July issue of EContent and the July/August issue of Information Today. The editorial director for the white paper is Andy Moore, chair for the "KMWorld Best Practices White Papers" and the "EContent Leadership" series. Moore oversees editorial content, conducts market research, and writes the opening essays for each of the white papers.
Commenting on the remarkable response from the enterprise search industry, Moore said: "The IT industry in general might be still coming out of the doldrums, but don't tell these search guys. They are aggressively developing product, gaining market share, and innovating in mind-boggling ways."
He added: "The most interesting aspect for me about the search industry is the confirmation that the market ecosystem still supports specialized start-up companies that are based on good technology and good ideas. If that trend continues, the future looks bright."
Companies participating in the white paper include Atomz Corp., Convera, Dialog, EasyAsk, Ektron, Entopia, Entrieva, Google, Inmagic, Interwoven, iPhrase Technologies, Thomson Scientific, and Verity.
So if one of your assignments is developing or implementing an internal search function, check out some of these new information rich offerings. Happy searching!