New business drawn by redesigned platform architecture
Endeca CEO Steve Papa reckons the company’s new information access platform gives it a strong story to share with IT executives and enterprise architecture teams looking for ways to support business users who want to draw search results from customer relationship management and legacy systems, internet sites, Web 2.0 apps or elements of the social web.
“Historically we have developed stronger relationships with line of business managers than we have with IT. But we have rebuilt the core platform in a way that will make it very appealing to IT” company chief Papa told us. “There’s a SOA front end, XQuery at the presentation layer and standard ETL extract, transform and load at the back.”
The new MDEX Engine that comes as part of the McKinley release of the Endeca Information Access Platform is “extensible through an open, XQuery-based web services stack, and ships with a WS-I compliant SOAP service for easy enterprise interoperability” the company confirmed.
“This release is also built to maximise the advantage of using multi-core computing,” Papa claimed. Endeca said it had redesigned the core data storage architecture of the engine, to exploit 64-bit memory architectures to be better able to access massive data volumes at speed. Also enterprise architects and software developer groups can adapt the system to suit specific user needs with a series of Endeca cartridges or plug-ins.
Papa said all these features would help broaden the appeal of its information access application among enterprise IT groups.
He explained that to date the company has concentrated on developing systems that address two main aspects of information access: customer-facing solutions and other types cut to suit the needs of supply chain scenarios. It has also won business with another public sector intelligence solution, Papa told us.
Gartner confirms this as a market trend in this segment. It says that vendors of information access technologies have to date oriented their systems specifically toward addressing particular business problems, such as issues of legal discovery or publishing.
Endeca has continued in step with this theme releasing two search-based solutions this week, the Endeca Commerce Suite aimed at on-line retailers and the Endeca Publishing Suite squarely set at media companies like the FT, which is being cited as an early adopter.
“Endeca’s new platform is the foundation for our robust news site that provides customers with the ability to quickly sift through large amounts of content to make informed business decisions,” John Greenleaf, Chief Marketing Officer of Financial Times Search, Newssift.com said.
The deal with the newspaper could stand as an especially important win for Endeca, as the FT has long used search technology from rival FAST to underpin its content site. Papa sees it as a vote of confidence, “When companies start planning their next-generation search options, we like to think they come to us,” he commented.
Endeca’s new platform provides something the company calls Guided Navigation across the full range of structured and unstructured enterprise data. It is a big differentiator, Papa maintains.
“I started out working with Teradata and large-scale structured data sets, then I moved to Inktomi and large-scale unstructured data and parallel web search. I now know that the idea that data has to be classified and searched according to whether it is structured or unstructured is fundamentally flawed. What we want to achieve is visibility to information that is commonly a heterogeneous mix of structured and unstructured data sets.”
Heterogeneous information access is critical to the future development of the information access platform Papa insists, and is something he believes will drive a distinct market segment.
Today Endeca wins contracts with an average deal size of around $350,000 and competes in a market that is worth around $1 billion, and which at one end covers the broad extremes of commodity search and Google and, at the other, a compliance and content search and management company like arch-rival, Autonomy Software which has products that currently out-scale those of Endeca’s, Papa concedes.