Thursday, May 24, 2007

Inxight Absorbed by Business Objects: When Content Technologies Can't Differentiate

Inxight has provided content organization and visualization tools for many years and picked up federated search tools along the way to provide more content value to enterprise and publishing clients. But like many content technology companies Inxight has had a very difficult time differentiating its capabilities from a broad pack of similar services aimed at similar clients. So after several reorgs and repositionings it's probably a good thing that Business Objects has announced its acquisition of Inxight to round out its broad portfolio of enterprise business information services. As enterprises focus more on solutions that deliver measurable results for specific business functions they have had to view unstructured content assets from inside and outside their own organization as key inputs for their business intelligence efforts. Inxight's ability to process and organize unstructured content adds enables Business Objects to compete more effectively with business information vendors focused on building insights from news, social media and other unstructured content.

Coming on the heels of Reuters' acquisition of ClearForest this signals a ramp-up of the battle between content technology providers and traditional publishers and aggregators for the lead in providing value to enterprise accounts. The content side of this equation prides itself in understanding the business objectives of their clients more clearly, but if the history of financial content vendors is at all instructive it's the enterprises equipped with the technology tools to give them proprietary advantages in market insight that will win the majority of budgets spent on content services. Will content vendors become more adept at delivering technology solutions more quickly than technology companies will become more aware of how those solutions add value to business information? This is going to be a race to the finish - with enterprises wanting to get more value for their content investments the clear winners.

The only losers will be publishers and technology providers that fail to see that their futures depend on them putting on both content and technology hats to deliver high-value solutions to their clients. The era of stand-alone technology features and stand-alone content services is coming to a close rather quickly as businesses try to leapfrog over the inefficiencies of both traditional I.T. solutions and traditional subscription database solutions to gain insight from wherever it's available.
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