Business Objects and Inxight

Analysis of text analytics pioneer Inxight, recently acquired by Business Objects, which itself was acquired by SAP. Also covered are Business Objects’ partnerships with text mining vendors such as Attensity. Related subjects include:

February 11, 2008

Enterprise Twitter

My long discussion Saturday of how to evolve (or replace) Twitter included a short discussion of what might be called Enterprise Twitter. Dennis Howlett just alerted me that there’s been considerable other discussion of the subject recently. For example:

Here’s my take on the subject.

I see four basic (and somewhat overlapping) use cases for Enterprise Twitter:

Read more

January 17, 2008

Lynda Moulton on enterprise search

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. Read more

November 12, 2007

Everybody’s talking about structured/unstructured integration

Today’s big news is IBM’s $5 billion acquisition of Cognos. Part of the analyst conference call was two customer examples of how the companies had worked together in the past — and one of those two had a lot of “integration of structured and unstructured data.” The application sounded more like a 360-degree customer view, retrieving text documents alongside relational records, than it did like hardcore text analytics. Even so, it illustrates a trend that I was seeing even before BOBJ’s buy of Inxight, namely an increasing focus in the business intelligence world on at least the trappings of text analytics.

October 17, 2007

Business Objects-Inxight update

I’m at the Business Objects annual user conference, and had a couple of chances to talk with Inxight/text analytics folks. When I asked about areas of commercial application traction, answers were similar to those I got from Attensity and Clarabridge, but not quite the same. Specifically:

The Business Objects/Inxight folks also made a couple of interesting general technical points. Read more

October 8, 2007

SAP is acquiring Inxight

More precisely, SAP is acquiring Business Objects, and of course Business Objects already acquired Inxight.

 This could be interesting …

August 3, 2007

The case for Inxight Awareness Server

I’ve been pretty skeptical about Inxight’s Awareness Server. My theory is that ordinary enterprise search engines can index remotely anyway, and they offer much better search functionality. Inxight’s Ian Hersey was kind enough to write in and offer two counter-arguments.

First, Ian points out that there are circumstances when, due to security and permissions, you can’t really index everything via one search engine. Specifically, he offers the government as an example. OK, I can see that in the government, with its classified and/or regulated silos. However, I have trouble thinking of many more examples. While there certainly are plenty of instances where a variety of organizations share information on a somewhat arms-length basis, it’s tough to think of such cases where federated text search would come into play.

Second, Ian in essence disputes my claim of inferior functionality. While implicitly conceding — as well he should! — that Inxight’s Awareness Server doesn’t do some things full-featured search engines do, he points out analytic features that may not be found in conventional search engine offering. The big one he calls out is faceted search — which of course was the core of Intelliseek, the acquisition Awareness Server came from. Hmm. Faceted search has a checkered history, with Excite and Northern Light being perhaps the most visible among many failures. On the other hand, it’s a great idea that keeps being tried, and some versions — notably Endeca’s — have turned out well.

I guess I’ll have to reserve judgment on that part until I look at Inxight’s product and see what they do and don’t actually have.

July 26, 2007

Event stream processors active in text filtering

OK. I secured permission to actually quote the details on something I’d previously dropped a small hint about — stream processing for text messages. Traditionally, that’s been the province of enterprise search companies. A decade ago, Verity had a kernel group of 6-7 engineers under Phil Nelson. They managed to produce not only a decent search engine, but a search engine “turned on its side” as well. I.e., instead of running one query against a corpus, they could run many queries each against documents as they arrived, one document at a time. Subsequently, the same idea has been implemented by most enterprise search providers, at least those that are serious about the intelligence market.

Well, the event-processing guys are active in that market too. At least StreamBase is. Read more

July 14, 2007

BOBJ Inxight insights

When a company announces an acquisition, it usually does a round of limited-content briefings, in no small part because the antitrust lawyers won’t let them do anything else. Once the deal closes, antitrust restrictions are lifted, and they do another round of briefings. These, typically, are vague and platitudinous.

Business Objects/Inxight have now reached that point. Even so, my briefing yesterday had some aspects worth writing up. Read more

June 14, 2007

Insight into Inxight

Based on a few conversations at the Text Analytics Summit this week, I’ve gotten a richer picture of what’s been going on at Inxight. Here are some highlights: Read more

May 26, 2007

Inxight — value in the patents?

In a comment posted to this Andy Hayler blog entry, a former Inxight board member mentions Inxight’s broad patent portfolio. I don’t know what defensible value is or isn’t there, but I do know that patent positions are important to Business Objects. Read more

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