Stephen E. Arnold: Autonomy – New Kind of Search? Or Does Search Suck Even More These Days?

IO Impotency

Stephen E. Arnold
Stephen E. Arnold

Autonomy: A New Kind of Search?

Autonomy was founded in 1996. That was 17 years ago. In my upcoming KMWorld column for August/September, I point out that search, content processing, and even analytics have been consistent for many years. There are a number of reasons for the “sameness” of systems and the corresponding difficulty prospects have in differentiating one system from another.

Perhaps I am off base. Search systems, content processing systems, and analytics systems are very, very different. I am looking at out dated notions such as precision and recall. I am missing the point that search is about interface, “smart” software which knows what I want based on my past behavior, and mobile computing demands search apps which just present information. No information retrieval baloney required like a carefully crafted Boolean query.

I read with interest and my acknowledged lack of expertise “Analytics for Human Information: Enterprise Search in the age of Big Data.” In one article, I learned that HP Autonomy delivers analytics and search in a big data world. More interesting was this phrase “a new kind of search is here.” Okay, after 17 years, I am open to innovation even though I see more and more similarity.

The article asserts:

Here at HP Autonomy, we think the market is hungry for a more open and comprehensive approach to solving big data access problems.  So we are excited to be launching a promotion program called Enterprise Search Rescue to help Microsoft FAST and Oracle Endeca customers migrate to Autonomy IDOL quickly and seamlessly. Everyone deserves a search technology that can solve tomorrow’s challenges.

My recollection is that when HP acquired Autonomy a number of Autonomy vendors offered demonstrations and programs to “rescue” Autonomy customers from HP. Oracle Endeca is cutting some of its prices and the founders have moved on to other interests. Microsoft Fast is a money machine for consultants, but rumors swirl that changes are coming.

What we have then, is Autonomy reinventing itself to provide an alternative to Endeca (founded in 1999) and Fast Search & Transfer (founded in 1997).

Am I alone in finding it somewhat amusing to see these aging search systems trying to capture one another’s customers? Are there less proprietary solutions available; for example, perhaps an Autonomy licensee could implement LucidWorks and gain some advantages?

Net net. Yep, I think many organizations are hungry for findability solutions which work, do not cost millions, and can cope with today’s information tasks. I read a news release last week that pointed out no new search system has been patented by the USPTO in the last five years. You can find that story here.

When is “new” new?

Stephen E Arnold, July 20, 2013

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