Entries Tagged 'Search' ↓

Interwoven for WCM — now with IDOL

Just wanted to make a quick addition to Nick’s post about Interwoven search.

The Interwoven name is not lost entirely, it is just being removed from the WorkSite, RecordsManager and Universal Search products in favor of reviving the iManage brand.  I’m not sure why Autonomy wants to bring more brands into the mix, when there is already Autonomy Zantaz, Autonomy Meridio and so forth; the overall info governance story might seem stronger if the individual components weren’t all still branded separately.

In any event, we have Autonomy Interwoven Web Solutions now, which does make sense since WCM is what the Interwoven brand has always been most strongly associated with, despite its success in the legal market.

And it appears there’s been some IDOL magic with Interwoven TeamSite, similar to what Nick described with Universal Search.  Autonomy announced today that:

Autonomy’s core infrastructure software, the Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL), is now the underlying technology for TeamSite in version 6.7.2.

We haven’t been briefed yet on what exactly this means but again, as Nick noted, the speed of these integrations leaves us scratching our heads, unless this is the fruition of some work that was started prior to the acquisition.  The press release does also note:

A series of new modules leveraging additional capabilities IDOL brings to TeamSite will be released over the coming months.

We’ll be getting all the details in the coming weeks and will provide more comprehensive analysis at that point.

Interwoven search – now you see it, now you don’t

So Autonomy has closed the acquisition of Interwoven and released a few details of its product plans. We’ll be hearing more in detail from senior management in the next couple of weeks, but a couple of things jump out at you when  you peruse that document.

Firstly the usual, magical IDOL integration has happened again. What Autonomy is calling iManage Universal Search, is of course very similar in name to Interwoven’s Universal Search, which was powered by Interwoven’s agreement with Vivisimo.  Now, just like that! – Vivisimo has been swapped out for IDOL. That’s not surprising of course, as everything Autonomy does is based on IDOL.

But the speed of integration seems unlike anything else we see in the industry and leaves us scratching our heads as to how this can actually happen so quickly, especially as we don’t believe IDOL to be a very lightweight, REST-like interface or anything like that.

Secondly, it looks as if the various product names within Interwoven – iManage, Discovery Mining, TeamSite and so on will be retained, while the company name disappears.

But, as I say, we’ll hear more soon and will report back in the form of a research update on Autonomy.

What will NOT be in the next version of SharePoint

I might catch a lot of readers with that title, but of course I don’t really know for sure what will and won’t be in the next version of SharePoint.  Microsoft is still mum on the topic and I suspect will remain so until the SharePoint Conference slated for October.  This event was held in March last year; it seems logical it has been delayed this year to time the event with Office 14 announcements specific to SharePoint.

I read Guy Creese’s post last week on what he thinks will be in the next version of SharePoint and like Guy, I get a lot of questions in this vein.  I agree with Guy that SharePoint.next will have search improvements (we already know that one) and more sophisticated administration (we all hope). I’ll be surprised to see dramatic improvements in the transition between hosted and on-premise SharePoint in this version, I think the marketing is likely to lead the reality in this area for sometime to come, but perhaps I’ll be surprised.

I often get questions more specifically (from vendors) around what Microsoft isn’t going to do and reading Guy’s post, I thought it would be interesting to comment on what’s left out.

On the social software front…

There’s been some debate of late about whether or not SharePoint is an “Enterprise 2.0” tool at all (or what, in fact, that even means, if anything). But anyone who saw Lawrence Liu pitch SharePoint versus IBM Lotus Connections to a packed room at Enterprise 2.0 last year, would certainly assume Microsoft has ambitions in this area.  It’s worth noting however that Liu left Microsoft not long after that for Telligent Systems, which sells community software as an adjunct to SharePoint.  Liu presumably knows more about the SharePoint roadmap than we do, so looking at Telligent’s roadmap (limited version here) is probably a good indication of where Microsoft won’t go in social software in this next release (think community analytics, bridging internal and external communities, and feed aggregation).

It’s not about WCM.

Making SharePoint ubiquitous for content-based collaboration is Microsoft’s number one goal and this means improved admin, search and social software, to my mind.   So what will get left out?   I don’t think we’ll see any major changes on the WCM front.  Microsoft marketed the WCM capabilities in MOSS 2007 when it first came out, as it stopped development on its stand-alone WCM product, Microsoft CMS (which came from its 2001 acquisition of nCompass) in favor of Sharepoint.  But this seems to have died down and vendors like Sitecore are doing well selling more sophisticated WCM with SharePoint integrations, apparently with cooperation from Microsoft.  WCM for large, customer-facing sites, is really not where SharePoint strengths lie and Microsoft will likely let this one stand much as it is as it invests in other areas (Sitecore even sells a bundle for intranets, showing some market opportunity for WCM even in SharePoint’s sweet spot).

What about records management and archiving?

There’s some records management today in SharePoint, but it’s limited to SharePoint environments.  Improved admin across server farms could help here but it doesn’t seem likely Microsoft is going to go far beyond this and this doesn’t address the archiving issue at all.  Vendors like Open Text, Symantec and EMC are banking on their products’ abilities to manage and archive content (including email) from multiple repositories including SharePoint.  And this seems like a market that will be relatively immune to changes in SharePoint.next — indeed, changes that make SharePoint more popular are likely only good news to these vendors, at least in the short term.

I’m sure there are other gaps vendors are filling where they may be some continued opportunity after SharePoint.next, but those are the big ones that jump to my  mind.

Attivio, Exalead and the new ‘search’ market

I had a very interesting conversation with Attivio recently. Most of it is confidential and thus not enough for me to wrote a full 451 report on it yet (but I will as soon as we’re able to), but I can say that the startup founded mostly by former employees of FAST Search & Transfer that has a couple of public customers has some much more interesting news coming down the pike in coming months. It just announced one of these customers, here.

We talked about what is triggering the customer wins it is getting and one thing stood out; the key value prop Attivio has been focused on from the start, which is the conjoining of structured and unstructured data. But it’s not just about having access to both types (that was possibly years ago and anyway there’s myriad types between those two simplistic and oft-confused descriptions, but bear with me). And it’s not just the ability be able to query them both; that too has been done, but crucially with different tools in the past.

It’s the ability to switch between both based on what the user is doing – not based on what type of data is being queried – to do so without the user knowing and having a single API for access to both types. And that, say the Attivio team, is hitting home with customers.

Attivio is not the only company to be thinking like that of course. Attivio’s management’s alma mater FAST was doing this for a while as a product called Adaptive Information Warehouse. We wrote a report on it in January 2007 under the headline: FAST: everything you thought you knew about BI is wrong. And there are other companies both positioning their products this way and winning customers doing it. See our recent report on Exalead for another example and we’re sure IBM could build its customers just such a system if they paid enough.

The challenge with this idea is of course that for the past 30 years or so relational databases have been where the ‘important stuff’ has been stored and the multi-billion BI market grew on top of that as a way to access it. Database administrators rule(d) the roost as far as information management goes. Meanwhile enterprise search got relegated to a side room where it was all about finding documents and getting pages and pages of results returned to you. What Attivio, Exalead and a few other companies are moving towards is a convergence of the two; call it database offloading, unified information access; unified information intelligence or something similar.

We’re not seeing these vendors being dragged kicking and screaming towards this single-API-no-matter-what-the-data-is nirvana by their customers, however; it takes a fair amount of market education on the parts of the vendors and their partner to make it a reality. But given what we see happening here, we expect to hear alot more from the vendors mentioned here and others throughout 2009 and beyond as enterprise search morphs into something new.

Lervik leaves Microsoft-FAST

So it appears that John Markus Lervik has left Microsoft – he’s now a (Former) Corporate Vice President there, despite the fact that Microsoft claimed to be concentrating its search efforts in his native Norway.

When I saw the news over the weekend I took one look at the date and recalled that the deal to buy FAST was in early January 2008 and thus a year had just past and such 12 month lock-ups are customary, and that FASTForward09 is coming up, starting February 9 and so Microsoft wanted a clean break before that, I’m sure. Nobody’s talking right now, so it’s hard to know all the ins and outs, but that’s why I suspect it’s happened now, rather than earlier or later.

Anyway, I agree with Dave Kellog’s assessment of why what happened, happened.

John Markus never seemed comfortable to me being a Microsoft executive. Bjorn Olstad probably isn’t that comfortable with it either, but he is undoubtedly a very smart engineering leader and product developer, and in a role where he doesn’t need to sing the company song three times before breakfast and I suspect he’d like to stay that way, rather than get involved in being a figurehead for FAST within Microsoft.

We look forward to hearing just what Microsoft is doing with FAST in early February, because over the last year or so, we haven’t heard anything more than we heard at FASTForward last year.

Autonomy buys Interwoven

Release is here. Autonomy is paying $775m cash, including a new loan.

Main drivers as we see it right now having just listened to the call:

  • eDiscovery and increasingly regulated environment.
  • Access to Interwoven’s rich customer base in the legal sector.
  • Adding automation to the content management process – think auto-tagging rather than manual tagging.
  • FRCP changes in 2006 forced companies to consider all their data and you can’ manage all your data manually.
  • Autonomy has changed its mind about content management for the reasons above.
  • Reward for Interwoven’s turnaround and refocusing efforts including in eDiscovery via the Discovery Mining acquisition.
  • Leaves other standalone content management players in an even worse position (e.g. Vignette).
  • Autonomy acquisition engine gets some more fuel; it’s looking more & more like a mini-Oracle every day, in all senses of that phrase.

More considered and deep analysis coming to 451 customers later today.

451 Group client event last week

Later than I intended, I wanted to give you a quick update of last week’s client event and information management’s presence at it. Kathleen, Simon, Henry, Matt and me were engaged in many 1:1s – I had 15 over the two days, which were very useful for me and more importantly, from feedback we’ve had, useful to the other person as well. Some of our analysts were booked back to back, doing 20+ meetings; that level of engagement is one of the main values we deliver at our conferences.

On the presentation and panels front, Kathleen did a great job of laying out her vision of how collaboration and social software are finally impacting content technologies, moving beyond just things that enable you to create content, to enable organizations to better handle the risks that can create. Some people who weren’t able to hear her live have asked to hear it by way of a followup – if you do, please get in touch.

My panel was great, comprising Sid Probstein, CTO of Attivio, Stephen Whetstone of Iron Mountain-Stratify and Nicole Eagan, CMO of Autonomy. We were in the after lunch slot but given we were talking mainly about eDiscovery, the future of search and the effects of the credit crunch on information management, we still got people’s attention.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it, listen to what Sid says about it, plus his thoughts on other aspect of the event here and here. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

See you in Boston next year, I hope.

451 Group client event next week

It’s the annual event for 451 clients next week in Boston, MA.

Kathleen, Katey and myself will be there along with most other 451 analysts and would love to meet any and all readers of this blog there. I’ll be presenting and moderating a panel discussion with representatives of Attivio, Autonomy and Iron Mountain-Stratify that will discuss the future of enterprise search, how information management is affected by the financial crisis and, of course, eDiscovery.

Kathleen’s presentation examines trends on content technologies in particular where the opportunities exist around creating content, leveraging it and managing risk, i.e. information governance.

The complete agenda is here and here’s how to register. Hope to see you there!

Autonomy and eDiscovery

Amidst the usual explanations of margins, day sales outstanding, average deal sizes, organic growth rates and other financial minutiae (which we like, btw), Autonomy used the following slide during its Q3 earnings call yesterday, ramming home the importance to it and other software companies like it of eDiscovery and the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), from which this is adapted:

And these ducks in a row sat there while the management took questions from the financial analysts, while berating a few of them in the process for questioning its organic growth model, which Autonomy laid out for all to see. Our quick take on Autonomy’s earnings is here for 451 clients.

EDRM also, in part the basis of our upcoming eDiscovery report, which will take a thorough look at the current future states of the eDiscovery and eDisclosure (as it’s known in the UK) software and services market.

Please get in touch with me if you would like to know more about that.

What we are learning about eDiscovery

My posting here has been light because we’re head-down writing  a major report on eDiscovery which will arrive in November, followed by a webinar. Here’s a few of the things we’ve learned along the way, some of which we suspected in advance, some of which were totally new to us:

  • This is a highly fragmented market – there is no clear leader.
  • The market has been shaped as much by US civil procedure rules and US privacy laws – or lack thereof –  than any technology innovation.
  • However, technology innovation still has a big part to play in this market’s future direction.
  • End users are growing tired of paying by the gigabyte – new models will emerge.
  • Purchasing influence is shifting rapidly from law firms to the corporate legal departments (those large bills have focused their mind in a hurry).
  • End users are very reluctant to talk publicly about what they’re doing (but boy, are we trying to persuade them to!)
  • Some (but not all) of the large information management vendors that should have a strategy in this area don’t have anything of the sort (see first point).

Anyway there will be more where that came from when the report is out, and we’ll make sure the webinar details are posted here ahead of time. Plus we’ll be talking about this at our annual client event, which is November 10-11 in Boston, MA. See you there!