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Three amazing reshapes for 2013: A new spin on classic search

Knowledge managers will need an upgraded baloney detection kit in 2013. Last year, a remarkable series of vendor transmogrifications took place. Motion picture special effects wizards may find themselves behind the creativity curve. Information retrieval systems reinvented themselves without so much as a backward glance at their roots.

Consider Qatalyst Partners' presentation as part of the Autonomy sales process to Hewlett-Packard (HP). HP looked at materials prepared by Qatalyst, which advises clients on such matters as mergers and acquisitions, and also at information from a number of accounting firms, law firms, financial analysts and Autonomy professionals. (HP has subsequently alleged that it received incorrect information in connection with its $11 billion deal for Autonomy IDOL.)

In 2011, IDOL (Intelligent Data Operating Layer) was described by Qatalyst as "software infrastructure solutions that form an understanding of content, allowing for powerful meaning-based data processing. IDOL server collects indexed data, enriching it with conceptual and contextual understanding." In its presentation, Qatalyst maintained that Autonomy was in the three "P" business, which consisted of:

  • Power solutions—search and management built around IDOL. Markets include Search, BPM and OEMs.
  • Protect solutions—regulatory and compliance platform. Markets include e-discovery, archiving and records, content management and compliance.
  • Promote solutions—marketing and customer interaction. Markets include Web content management, e-business, marketing optimization, rich media management and contact center.

(See zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-21/frank-quattrones-autonomy-pitchbook.)


In June 2012, VentureBeat ran a report entitled "HP-Owned Autonomy Releases New Big Data and Analytics Solutions." Author Lindsey Compton quoted Rafiq Mohammadi, head of the Promote unit at Autonomy, as saying, "Autonomy and [HP's] Vertica offer an unparalleled platform from which to automatically understand, optimize and act on 100 percent of an organization's data. Today's announcement further extends this platform, by enabling organizations to get more value from their Hadoop deployments, and blend clickstream data with unstructured, human information." (See http://venturebeat.com/company/hp/page/2.)

In the blink of an eye, Autonomy morphed from three "P's" into big data, a Hadoop-friendly system and a cloud-based analytics system. From search in the late 1990s to the three "P's" in 2011 to big data. Remarkable. And other vendors are following HP's repositioning to big data.

IBM and big data

IBM acquired Vivisimo in April 2012. In my various monographs profiling information retrieval vendors, I classified Vivisimo as a vendor of federated search technology. The jargon means that Vivisimo's system would take a user's query, send it to different search systems, dedupe and categorize the results, and display a relevance ranked search results list. Nifty. The company's federation technology competed with similar systems developed by Deep Web Technologies, Bright Planet and Fast Search & Transfer (acquired by Microsoft).

TechCrunch reported that IBM acquired Vivisimo to "boost big data analytics." The author of the article, Leena Rao, wrote: "Big Blue says the combination of IBM's big data analytics capabilities with Vivisimo software will help ‘further IBM's efforts to automate the flow of data into business analytics applications, helping clients better understand consumer behavior, manage customer churn and network performance, detect fraud in real time and perform data-intensive marketing campaigns.' IBM says it will incorporate Vivisimo's technology into its big data platform. ‘The winners in the era of big data will be those who unlock their information assets to drive innovation, make real-time decisions and gain actionable insights to be more competitive,' explains Arvind Krishna, general manager, Information Management, IBM Software Group." (See http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/25/ibm-acquires-enterprise-search-software-company-vivisimo-to-boost-big-data-analytics.)

IBM, Vivisimo and big data—that combination of concepts echoed HP's repositioning of Autonomy.

Coveo converting?

In December 2012, Coveo announced that it had received another round of funding. The $18 million balloons the company's funding to more than $35 million. I have covered Coveo in a number of my vendor analyses, including the first three editions of The Enterprise Search Report. Coveo, in my opinion, was a vendor of enterprise search. 

MarketWatch described Coveo's technology in this way: "The funding will support Coveo's expansion as the market continues to heat up for solutions that enable actionable insight from big data. Coveo's advanced search technology redefines how people access fragmented information and collaborate around the social enterprise. Organizations are increasingly data-rich but insight-poor, fueled in large part by the data variety explosion, the inability to integrate information from legacy systems, exponentially growing social media, and the move of many organizational systems to the cloud. Coveo brings together this collective knowledge for every user, giving them actionable insights into customers, products, projects, people and more." (See marketwatch.com/story/coveo-announces-18-million-funding-led-by-tandem-expansion-fund-2012-12-10.)

What is interesting about this shift is that Coveo's website at the time of the announcement did not feature big data, an oversight that will probably be corrected by the time this article appears.

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