By Dr. Fern Halper and Marcia Kaufman, Partners
Move over Google, Microsoft, and company. IBM and Yahoo! have arrived.
Recently, IBM announced that it has signed a partnership with Yahoo! to provide FREE entry-level enterprise search capabilities to all companies. With this offering, IBM hopes to make enterprise search ubiquitous and pave the way for companies to follow an upgrade path to its OmniFind family platforms. This offering, called OmniFind Yahoo! Edition, is an ingenious move by IBM to insert itself squarely in the ever-growing, highly competitive enterprise search market.
So, what does the product include? OminFind Yahoo! Edition provides organizations with basic search capabilities for web and file content (200 document types) and the ability to search up to 500,000 documents. It uses the Lucene open source search engine and provides multi-lingual support for 30 languages as well as the ability to create synonym lists. The software installs quite simply and uses the familiar Yahoo! interface, which can be easily customized. IBM is also offering support for $1999 per server per year. The offer is targeted at the departmental level for larger companies or at the enterprise level for small organizations.
IBM views this latest offering as an on-ramp to their other solutions in the space that includes the OmniFind product family as well as their Information Server and Master Information Solutions. IBM currently offers several flavors of OmniFind, including OmniFind Enterprise Edition (their enterprise search product offering, which includes secure content reach and the UIMA analytics framework) as well as OmniFind Discovery Edition (which incorporates their iPhrase acquisition). The IBM Information Server includes multiple products from both IBM and Ascential Software (which IBM purchased in May, 2005) that are aggregated to enable a more efficient and consistent information integration process. IBM also offers information solutions based on the OmniFind products that provide even more sophisticated deep text analysis capabilities. With the introduction of OmniFind Yahoo! Edition, IBM feels that they are offering a full spectrum of enterprise search and text analytics products.
Hurwitz & Associates believes enterprise search is a technology that should be ubiquitous and an offering such as this is a great way to get the ball rolling. This offering can help companies understand the power of search, and more specifically, the power of enhanced search and text analytics that could ultimately help pave the way for companies to derive real value from their unstructured information. Time will tell if this product is truly an on-ramp to bigger and better enterprise search capabilities. But, in the mean time, it is certainly worth a look-see.