Friday, November 11, 2005

Autonomy and Verity United: In a Consolidating Search Market, Who's the Real Target?

It's tempting to get into a "search is dead" or "search is a feature" mantra when considering its recently announced acquisition of enterprise search perennial Verity by the UK's Autonomy for a cool half-billion dollars. But as noted by AMR it has as much to do with the position of search in a complex range of content-enabling technologies that are being targeted by search giants relative newcomers and large I.T. players. Probably most aggressive of these as of late is IBM, which is now allying with many search component providers, including Google, to provide a comprehensive range of search solutions for their clients. The oil-and-vinegar mix of technologies in this new marriage is not ever likely to unify into a common infrastructure any time soon, but in this new configuration a significantly expanded sales force can be going toe-to-toe with the IBMs of the world across a wider array of enterprise search needs that can be scaled to multiple needs within an enterprise. It's not that search is dead or that search is a feature so much that search is a very fussy and peculiar animal that people are made to think is a one-size-fits-all beast by the simplicity of Google's user interface. At the end of the day there's nothing wrong with having multiple approaches to search within an enterprise for specific resources - as long as there are technologies that can assemble these different styles into a coherent fabric for users and content repurposing.

This is where technologies from vendors such as Mark Logic and MuseGlobal come in to play, knitting together resources into a common fabric that can be tuned for a multitude of publishing needs. It's not that search is boring so much as that using what search can do for you as a publisher became a heck of a lot more interesting thanks to new and maturing technologies. Creating comprehensive content resources in the era of The New Aggregation requires advanced search technologies that can accommodate a wide range of search methods and avoid the "religious wars" by taking the best of what they offer and putting their output into forms that are more usable by a variety of audiences. Autonomy has given itself a larger sales force to peddle search solutions, but at the end of the day the winners in creating content value will be those who can take search results and place them in the most useful contexts possible for the largest audiences possible. This may be an instance where two four-hundred pound gorillas are not going to add up to an eight-hundred pound gorilla.
Post a Comment