Enterprise search vendor Endeca Technologies has been selected by BT Group to deploy its product across all the UK incumbent carrier’s business units, ousting two sets of search and discovery products from UK rival and market leader Autonomy in the process.
Cambridge, US-based Endeca, which is privately owned, already has deployments of IAP in organizations as diverse as ABN AMRO, Boeing, The Guardian, Hyatt, IBM, Tesco, and Walmart.com.
BT, besides being the UK’s largest telecommunications provider, is also a major systems integrator and managed service provider. The selection of Endeca’s Information Access Platform, IAP, is part of BT’s program to create what it describes as Common Capabilities across the organization, standardizing on key technology platforms. In this instance, it is a common tool for information access.
BT said it is looking for ROI from the use of IAP in four areas: greater direct revenues from its e-commerce web sites; increases in indirect revenues because of improved customer satisfaction and user experience; a reduction in the level of customer complaints and the cost of dealing with them; and cost reductions at its call centers because customers will be getting more of their information from the lower cost web channels.
The investment in Endeca as a search and information access capability provides another success in BT’s strategy to standardize capabilities that support customer services and product development, said Mike Galvin, director of portfolio infrastructure for BT Group. We will spend the next quarter building the core platform, which will be followed by a pan BT roll out across a number of applications.
Mike Davis, a senior analyst with Datamonitor’s Ovum division, commented: This is a good win for Endeca, which is widely respected for its Guided Navigation. This is functionality that dynamically groups the results of a search enabling the user to refine their selection by descending through categories. For example, on an e-commerce site, fridges could be grouped into price band and economy rating.
From the carrier’s perspective, he said, there are two messages from BT’s selection of Endeca for information access. The first is the recognition that positive management of the information channels to its customers, partners and staff can have revenue effects. The second that the standardization of technologies and functionality should reduce the core costs of the organization.
As for the potential impact on Autonomy, Davis said, they’ve already had some good wins this year and this is their first big contract loss, so it’s not going to have a major effect on them because of these blue-chip deals. What this deal does show, however, is that there is another major player in the market.
Ovum’s Mike Davis points out, quite rightly, that Autonomy has scored enough big wins of late to cushion the blow of losing the BT account to smaller rival Endeca. Still, the loss of such a high-profile customer as the incumbent carrier in its home country, and such a bellwether as BT, represents a considerable loss of face, even to a company with the clout Autonomy wields. Expect Endeca to make much of the deal, in conversation if not in print.