Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Plugging In the Content Cloud: Oracle Deploys MuseGlobal to Connect External Content to Enterprises

The announcement of Oracle's deal with content connector specialists MuseGlobal, Inc. to deploy their EverConnect technology for Oracle's Secure Enterprise Search platform may appear like a passing note in enterprise search at first pass, but it's worth more than a casual glance if you're considering the future of high-value content services in enterprises. Oracle Secure Enterprise Search already comes equipped with a library of content source connector modules that make it possible for enterprises to integrate a wide variety of enterprise content sources into their search interface. Oracle is using MuseConnect, a platform-specific version of MuseGlobal's EverConnect content connector technology, to extend its search reach to include specific types of external content targeted at specific industry verticals, including Web and subscription sources for finance, legal, medical education and research.

Oracle is not alone in trying to integrate internal and external sources of content to better their value propositions for their enterprise clients, of course. Many enterprise publishers already have infrastructure that is designed to integrate enterprise, Web and subscription content sources on their own publishing platforms while other enterprise search vendors such as Google are also deploying content connectors for a wide variety of content sources to build up the value of their enterprise search engines. Not surprisingly, MuseGlobal technology figures in more than a few of these vendors' efforts, with each of them doing their utmost to define a useful aggregation of content that will add value to the daily workflows of enterprise workers. Content connector technology acts as the "glue" that makes such aggregation possible, widening the range of content sources available through a seamless interface and ensuring reliable access.

Content connectors are enabling a wider array of platform providers to create useful applications based on "content clouds," aggregating content from as many sources as possible with access to any specific source a technical detail that is generally not a concern of a person using the platform. If history is any predictor of the future, these content cloud applications that can combine enterprise and external sources of content are going to be powerful tools in the hands of organizations trying to make sense of large amounts of information on a day-to-day or moment-by-moment basis. Just as investment banks in the 1990s drove their profitability to new heights based on networked content source connectors that fueled powerful financial software to drive desktop and automated trading decisions more effectively, so will content clouds built for enterprise platforms enable a wide variety of 21st century organizations to become aware of threats and opportunities in their marketplaces and develop more powerful decision support services based on the widest range of quality content sources available.

So while you may think of content connectors as search engine technology, it's safe to say that their ability to connect powerful applications to a wide variety of content sources puts them in the middle of the "content clouds" that are likely to drive publishing and content technology profitability in many enterprises for years to come. Technology companies like Oracle, IBM, EMC and Google want to make sure that they can drive up their enterprise value propositions based on those clouds, of course, even as enterprise publishers try to do the same from their well-established position of creating insight from content sources. Certainly technology such as MuseGlobal's MuseConnect content connectors focused on content sources for specific industry verticals can help them to do that. In the meantime, though, the biggest winners in this wrestling match to deliver enterprise value may be the companies that can deliver the content clouds that clients want most effectively. That certainly was the case with trading room systems vendors in investment banking, so I don't expect it to be too much different as content clouds begin to become the focus of a wider range of enterprise publishing efforts. Keep your eyes on the content cloud experts, folks - and may the most seamless and flexible clouds win.
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