July 8, 2008

Recent reporting on the shenanigans at FAST

A Norwegian newspaper did an expose’ on FAST, dated June 28. Helpful search industry participants quickly distributed English translations to a variety of commentators, including me. TechCrunch posted a scan of part of the article.

The gist is that FAST followed a pattern very common in the packaged enterprise software industry:

There’s nothing new here. Back in the 1980s, we used to joke that MSA made 10% of its annual revenue and 100% of its profits between the 32nd and 40th of December.

Often, such problems are associated with difficulties getting product installations to succeed. Stephen Arnold suggests that’s exactly what happened in the case of FAST:

So, Fast Search’s problems began as soon as the company decided to push into the enterprise search market. The adjustments were, as noted in the documents I cited in my previous Fast Search analyses and in the TechCrunch article, small at the outset. Who knew that a customer would not pay his license fee installment? Then more customers groused about slow installs and the up front payments were not followed by any other payments. One Fast Search licensee told me that his Global 1000 company would not pay until Fast Search produced an engineer who could complete the installation per the task order. Well, Fast Search got an engineer to the client, but it was six months after I heard the complaint. Not surprisingly, this big outfit turned to a smaller vendor who got a different system up and running in three weeks.

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3 Responses to “Recent reporting on the shenanigans at FAST”

  1. The Attivio angle on the FAST story | Text Technologies on July 8th, 2008 3:16 pm

    […] CEO Ali Riaz was previously CFO and COO of FAST. He tried to avoid involvement in the recent expose’ of his former employer. For his troubles he got a parking lot ambush, a big photograph, and some […]

  2. The Never-Ending Fast Search Story | Kellblog on September 14th, 2010 2:29 pm

    […] Anyway, I took a crack at a post earlier today based on a story in a Norwegian business weekly, Dagens Næringsliv, that in turn has prompted posts from CMS Watch to TechCrunch to Stephen Arnold to Curt Monash. […]

  3. The future of search : Text Technologies on November 25th, 2012 10:07 pm

    […] acquisition of FAST was a similar debacle. […]

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