Making Sense of Enterprise Search

Beyond Basic Search

A summary, though, is just a start. With large data repositories, it’s important to organize the results in a meaningful way. Endeca has worked with university libraries, a situation that gives them the advantage of having high organization already in place. Results will come back in categories, such as history or fiction, giving a fine-grained view of the information.

The typical enterprise doesn’t have a card catalog at its disposal, however. Search vendors realize this, and as they come up with methods for adding organization to various data stores, they are realizing that search is simply a starting point to the larger issue of “information access.”

In its “Magic Quadrant” series, Gartner says that Endeca, Autonomy (, and Fast Search & Transfer ( are the leaders defining this space. Google, Microsoft (, and IBM ( can’t be discounted, though. All have deep pockets and proven track records.

What, though, is the difference between search and information access? Basic search is really little more than hunting for keywords, whereas information access helps organizations find, store, organize, classify, present, and share data – and since these are enterprise settings, not the public Internet, having hooks into authentication and other security systems are a given.

Information access vendors are also seeking better ways to represent information once it is retrieved. This could involve summaries, as with Endeca, tabbed searches of narrow applications and data stores, which Google already offers to enterprise customers, or even visual representations that show how data is linked across applications.

“When we succeed in making search as valuable to business as it is to the web, we’ll change how people work,” said Glozbach. “You’ll see search driving data sharing, collaboration, and any number of new processes and technologies.”