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Enterprise search tools.

Tools for searching through oceans of corporate information have been around since the dawn of the IT industry. Initial mechanisms for extracting fixed length records from 'flat files' or hierarchical databases gave way in the 1980s to relational database relational database

Database in which all data are represented in tabular form. The description of a particular entity is provided by the set of its attribute values, stored as one row or record of the table, called a tuple.
 querying through the Structured Query Language See SQL.

Structured Query Language - SQL
 in full Structured Query Language.

Computer programming language used for retrieving records or parts of records in databases and performing various calculations before displaying the results.

While that has since been the primary means of getting at structured data (ie data that can be held in tables), there have been parallel attempts to provide the ability to search through and extract data held in unstructured formats: text documents, emails, intranets and so on. Early and specialist text retrieval products, such as BASIS and STATUS, have given way to Internet-based technologies such as Autonomy and Verity.

But it is not just a matter of finding the documents: these enterprise search technologies endeavour to provide context to the mass of potentially valuable internal data, retrieving a combination of structured and unstructured data Data that does not reside in fixed locations. Free-form text in a word processing document is a typical example. Contrast with structured data. See free-form database.  in order to address a specific business query.

Research group Ovum predicts that the enterprise search market is set to virtually double in the next five years, fuelled by a number of factors. Part of this growth will be driven by end-user dissatisfaction with current offerings. Increasingly, users want search facilities that are equivalent to Internet search services.

Indeed, Internet search engine companies are looking to move into the enterprise market. Microsoft has also been gearing up its assault; it expects to have its first products out by the end of 2004. At the same time, database vendors, such as IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries)  and Oracle, have been broadening their databases to handle structured and unstructured data.

A key driver behind much of this activity has been the increased regulatory pressures on organisations, requiring them to be able to search through and make sense of their vast information reserves.

Concept search Searches for terms related conceptually to words, not the word itself.

Fuzzy search An inexact search for data that finds answers that come close to the desired data. It can get results when the exact spelling is not known or help users obtain information that is loosely related to a topic.  Finds matches even if terms are misspelled.

Keyword search Finds exact matches for search terms.

Precision Degree to which a search engine produces documents that match a query.

Relevance How well a result provides information the user is looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.

"Enterprise search technology is all about allowing the user to leverage results in a meaningful way to either discover new insights or find the best answer to their question." John Felahi, senior director of product marketing at FAST.

"The challenge is to get the business world to see search as something above the utility level. The capabilities of intelligence or advanced search need to become more ubiquitous in the organisation." Eric Woods, research director at Ovum analysts.

"The enterprise search market is relatively small, so why does Google want to get into it? They would need to spend money to get their technology ready for the enterprise. And that does not seem to make good business to me." Simon Atkinson, managing director of Verity UK.

"This market has tremendous potential, but it has been under-served. Businesses are reluctant to spend the effort and the money to deploy new products. Our approach is to bring to the market a product that has a much lower total cost of ownership, is faster and easier to install, and provides much more satisfaction to employees. " Dave Girouard, general manager of Google's enterprise business.

For 2003, IT market research group Ovum valued the enterprise search software market at $460 million. It forecasts that demand will reach $800 million by 2008 - increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 12%. But the sector remains extremely fragmented. At the end of 2003, for example, analyst IDC reported that market leader Verity achieved market share of 17%. Following Verity in order of their share, were Autonomy, FAST, Convera, Open Text, Caatoosee, IBM and Hummingbird.

Key vendors and their products:

Vendor: Main product Autonomy: Enterprise Search Caatoosee: DQ Server Convera: RetrievalWare Search Coveo: Enterprise Search Fast search &transfer (FAST): ESP (1) (Enhanced Service Provider) An organization that adds value to basic telephone service by offering such features as call-forwarding, call-detailing and protocol conversion.  Hummingbird: Search Server IBM: Intelligent Miner for Text IBM Lotus: Extended Search ISYS Search Software Established in 1988 in Sydney, Australia, ISYS Search Software (formerly Odyssey Development) is a developer of enterprise search software. The company's product suite includes applications for desktop search, network search, intranet search and enterprise search. : ISYS ISYS Institute for the Study of Youth Sports
ISYS Intelligent Systems Research Group (Madrid, Spain)
ISYS Integrated System
 Open Text: Livelink Oracle: Oracle Text/Ultra Search Verity: K2/Ultraseek

Enterprise search technology provides results by analysing unstructured, semi-structured and structured information, automatically categorising this information and providing links. Context is then provided through summaries and statistical measurements of the retrieved information's relevance.

Classic search technology, such as an Internet search engine, uses mathematical algorithms to extract information from raw text. Typically it is based on a pattern matching 1. pattern matching - A function is defined to take arguments of a particular type, form or value. When applying the function to its actual arguments it is necessary to match the type, form or value of the actual arguments against the formal arguments in some definition.  technology and probability theorems devised by Cambridge mathematician Thomas Bayes Noun 1. Thomas Bayes - English mathematician for whom Bayes' theorem is named (1702-1761)
. Enterprise search technology combines the Bayesian code with other algorithms to rank the relevance of retrieved information.

This ranking is based on two basic criteria: terms and links. The 'term' value is measured by the location and frequency that the term occurs within documents. For example, the enterprise search software would consider whether the term is in the title of a document, how near the term appears from the beginning of the article, and the number of times the term appears in the article.

The 'link' value is calculated by assessing the number of links to a particular document. The more links, the higher the information's ranking. Some of the latest enterprise search systems can recognise different languages and attempt a conceptual understanding of information so that 'intelligent' search results are produced. Other developments include the ability to restrict access to documents, so that those users with insufficient privileges do not see those documents in any search results.

Analysts predict that organisations will expand their commitments to enterprise search, making it universally available to internal users.

Tighter regulatory compliance requirements Compliance requirements are a series of directives established by United States Federal government agencies that summarize hundreds of Federal laws and regulations applicable to Federal assistance (also known as Federal aid or Federal funds). , such as the Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II Basel II is the second of the Basel Accords, which are recommendations on banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The purpose of Basel II is to create an international standard that banking regulators can use when creating regulations , will drive growth of the enterprise search market as companies increasingly need to be able to retrieve an array of information from a variety of document formats in a short time.

The amount of unstructured data in organisations is rising fast - in 2004 it is estimated that nearly 85% of all corporate data is unstructured. As companies are required to mine more unstructured information, the role of enterprise search technology in the organisation will become increasingly valued.

Enterprise search has found most favour in the pharmaceutical, academic and security services Security services are state institutions for the provision of intelligence, primarily of a strategic nature, but also including protective security intelligence. Examples include the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) in the United Kingdom, and the  industries; increasingly it is being adopted within financial services The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
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The technological focus for vendors will be to combine usability with integration.

Desktop searching will become a major battleground, with Apple, Google and Microsoft all vying for market leadership. The battle is given added significance as analysts predict that the winner will be in a position to leverage their success in PC search to gain significant market share in the wider desktop market. It is likely that email searching will be an important factor in this fight.

Since launching its stand-alone corporate search tool in the US in 2000, Google has bided its time, progressively expanding the product's capabilities. Finally in autumn 2004, it began shipping the tool in Europe, and promised it will eventually be available globally.

Google's Search Appliance A search appliance (SA) is a device which is attached to a corporate network for the purpose of indexing the content shared across that network in a way that is similar to a web search engine.  enables employees - and, potentially, customers - to search for information across the organisation's intranet as well as public web sites. It has the familiar look and feel of a Internet Google search Google is owned by Google, Inc. whose mission statement is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". The largest search engine on the web, Google receives several hundred million queries each day through its various services. .

One customer is merchant banking giant Morgan Stanley To comply with Wikipedia's , the introduction of this article needs a complete rewrite. , which deployed the Search Appliance in 2003. It now provides intranet search for over 25,000 employees worldwide, and searches an index of 2.2 million documents from 200 different intranet services on a quotidian quotidian /quo·tid·i·an/ (kwo-tid´e-an) recurring every day; see malaria.

Recurring daily. Used especially of attacks of malaria.
 basis. Search traffic has increased by a factor of 11 in the past year.

Google is also in the initial phases of testing its Desktop Search product that automatically records emails viewed and web pages visited in order to provide a 'photographic memory' of what has been viewed on the computer.
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Publication:Information Age (London, UK)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 10, 2004
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