Lynda Moulton and I see enterprise search quite similarly, as I discovered when she called me yesterday to praise my post on the many differences between enterprise and web search, and followed up with this one of her own. One of Lynda’s big themes is that large enterprises, much as they use multiple database management systems, use multiple search engines too. To wit:
… there are few to no instances of a single enterprise search engine being the only search solution for any major enterprise. Even when an organization “standardizes” on one product for its enterprise search, there will be dozens of other instances of search deployed for groups, divisions, and embedded within applications. Just two examples are the use of Vivisimo now used for USA.gov to give the public access to government agency public content, even as each agency uses different search engines for internal use. Also, there is IBM, which offers the OmniFind suite of enterprise search products, but uses Endeca internally for its Global Services Business enterprise.
Brava to her.
One consequence, apparently, is that federated search is a bigger deal than I realized. If different corpuses are indexed by different systems, there’s something to be said for using each search engine to get the result sets it naturally can, and then reranking them at the end of the search. Accordingly, she’s high on MuseGlobal. And maybe there’s potential for the analogous technology at SAP/BOBJ/Inxight after all.