Copernic, a company known for its consumer metasearch product, Copernic Agent, has officially launched its first enterprise search product, Copernic Enterprise Search. The company chose not to target the high end enterprise search market of Fortune 500 firms, currently dominated by companies like Verity and FAST, but to offer a product that is specifically designed to meet the needs of the Small-to-Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) and departments of larger enterprises.
Martin Bouchard, Copernic's president and CEO, stressed that Copernic Enterprise Search directly addresses the deployment, complexity, and cost issues endemic to larger, enterprise-wide search solutions. Copernic Enterprise Search is a "plug-and-play" solution that takes just minutes to download and deploy. Bouchard says its easy-to-use, intuitive user interface eliminates any training, maintenance, or other fees that typically accompany an enterprise search deployment. "Our goal is to make search accessible to every companyŚno matter the size of the business or cost restrictions they may have," he stated.
"Small and medium-sized businesses have the same need as larger ones to create excellent access to their information for their employees and for their customers," said Susan Feldman, IDC's research VP for content technologies. "Poor search means lost revenues and lost time. However, these companies typically cannot devote the IT staff and effort to an application that requires long implementations or extensive customization. They need an affordable search engine that will give them the features they require out of the box."
Copernic Enterprise Search uses advanced linguistic and statistical technologies that can identify the key concepts and the key sentences of indexed documents. It is able to rank a document whose main theme corresponds to search keywords higher than a document that only contains search keywords once or twice. The results ranking can be fine-tuned by altering the weight of different ranking factors. The software also does automatic indexing of new and updated documents in real time, something that Bouchard says most competitive products don't do. The software can also index external Web pages, as specified, and supports indexing of XML feeds.
Users can search for documents created in Word, PDF, HTML, Excel, PowerPoint, and for e-mail messages, and not just by keywords within files, but also search according to modification date, author, title, or any other document metadata. The easy-to-use interface lets users refine their queries, do advanced searches, obtain document summaries on-the-fly, and customize the results page display. Copernic Enterprise Search automatically suggests alternatives to misspelled queries.
A Web-based administration tool allows straightforward configuration and monitoring of the system. SMEs are able to enforce existing file access permissions down to the document level, ensuring security.
And, in a surprising but savvy move, Copernic is offering the product for free for searches of up to 5,000 documents. The software is available for searches of up to 10,000 documents for $3,999, and is priced incrementally for searches up to two million documents. The price, by the way, is not an annual license fee, but a lifetime license for the software. SMEs can opt to pay a yearly fee of 20 percent of the price to obtain upgrades and support.
When I pointed out that I probably had over 5,000 documents just on my single PC, Bouchard admitted that this type of pricing model wasn't the best, given changes in search needs, such as accommodating huge volumes of e-mail and Web pages. The company chose this pricing so that it could be easily compared to pricing from competitors. He stated, "Our products are at least half the price of comparable competitors' products." He feels that long term there will probably be a change in the pricing model in the industry, from per document to per seat. Bouchard also indicated the company plans to offer a version for personal use.
At this point, Copernic Enterprise Search doesn't interface with other enterprise applications, but Bouchard said the company was working on this with other companies, especially for classification technology, and would be announcing several partners before the end of the year. Copernic has actually offered an enterprise search product for over a year, working with some select customers on developments, but this marks the first general availability of the new product and its official launch.
Copernic is a privately held company of 60-plus employees with offices in Quebec and Montreal. It plans to open offices in the U.S. within a few months. The company was founded in 1996 and Bouchard says it has been profitable since 1999. In addition to a claimed 30 million users for its consumer products, its enterprise customer portfolio includes the Altria Group, Harris Corp., Global Trade Corp., APCO Worldwide, France Telecom, and AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. For more information, visit http://www.copernic.com.