Enterprise search finds its place

Enterprise search finds its place

December 3, 2008: Enterprise search technology is no longer such a secret, according to new research from CMS Watch, an independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies.

The componentized nature of modern search offerings, combined with the availability of improved administrative tools and APIs, has had the effect of demystifying what was once a rather obscure technology.This conclusion stems from The Search & Information Access Report 2009, in which CMS Watch interviews enterprise search customers around the globe to evaluate twenty solutions in the marketplace.

"Historically search has often been seen as 'magic' -- and vendors encouraged secretiveness around their indexing processes and algorithms," said CMS Watch Principal Theresa Regli.

"But that's changed quite a bit, and everyone from Endeca to the notoriously secretive Autonomy now has web interfaces to control and modify the infrastructure and indexing approaches, and even to fine-tune details of what used to be known as a 'black box,' adds Regli.  

In addition to more openness about the technology behind search, CMS Watch finds several trends emerging in the search technology marketplace:
* Renewed Focus on Ease of Set-Up and Maintenance
* Vendors who do not provide a single setup file, an intelligible web-based administrative interface with full control over the software, as well as complete reporting and analytics, will have a very hard time convincing buyers they have real value to add over the apparent ease of use of a Google Appliance.
* More Out-of-the-Box Functionality
* It's now no longer acceptable that implementing search & information access should require a year of custom development on top of an "infrastructure" that consists of different loosely coupled modules. Vendors that can't prove they'll be able to index disparate repositories within a three-month proof of concept fall off  short lists.

"As technology buyers look at new solutions, it is more imperative than ever to understand what lies at the core of these technologies," comments CMS Watch analyst Kas Thomas.
"They can't just decide based on marketing support materials and the number of boxes that are ticked -- they'll have to explore what makes the solutions really tick -- fortunately, there is now more transparency here."

The Search & Information Access Report 2009 provides a comprehensive overview of 20 search technology products and identifies current best practices. The Report is available for purchase online from CMS Watch.

Comment on this story.