Autonomy has hired Convera’s federal sales team for the RetrievalWare enterprise search product from under the nose of Norwegian-headquartered FAST. This decisive move should bolster Autonomy’s already encouraging position as a US government technology provider, and may result in some federal agencies being made an offer they will find difficult to refuse.
Autonomy has recruited a sales team from Convera to focus on RetrievalWare.
The surprise move by UK-based Autonomy came less than three weeks after FAST had declared its intention to purchase Convera’s RetrievalWare business. At its announcement on April 2, 2007, FAST had sought to reassure the RetrievalWare customers that they would be supported for the future, although no product development would be undertaken, and customers would be encouraged to move to the FAST ESP platform, which would be upgraded to include some of the advanced semantic mining capabilities available in RetrievalWare.
US federal agencies account for some 70% of RetrievalWare’s $16.4 million revenues, and those organizations that will be faced in the not-too-distant future with a migration from RetrievalWare to a FAST ESP were always likely to take the opportunity to explore other technologies.
FAST will certainly be disappointed by this move, for, although it already had 38 direct customers in the government arena, the RetrievalWare product is now nearly 20 years old, and, despite those semantic capabilities and a reputed $1 million security enhancement funded by a US government agency, it is looking somewhat long in the tooth.
This is a decisive move for Autonomy, which has already made strong inroads into the US government, particularly with the Department of Homeland Security. Autonomy’s recruits from Convera include the vice president of sales and operations, vice president of product engineering, and the security program manager.
Autonomy has taken advantage of the disruption that the RetrievalWare transfer will cause. In being able to offer both domain expertise and, most importantly, when the customers concerned include CIA security-cleared personnel, the company is making an offer that some agencies may find hard to refuse.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)