Enterprise Search Summit 2011 Wrap-Up

Once again the New York Enterprise Search Summit brought together a lot of interesting people from the industry. Several presentations were given in front of full rooms, which may suggest renewed interest in the search industry. This being said, that interest seems to be spread across the globe. At this search summit we seemed to meet significantly more people from other parts of the world than New York or anywhere else in the US. We had great conversations with people from Germany, Holland, Australia, France, South Africa, and the UK – always great to see new faces! Naturally, Norconex stepped in to represent Canada. Our VP of Services David Gaulin presented a successful talk on the importance of capturing and interpreting good search metrics to improve your search offering.

David Gaulin
David Gaulin Speaking at New York Enterprise Search Summit 2011

At the other end of the spectrum however, participation from major enterprise search vendors was definitely lacking, compared to previous years. This seems to be an unfortunate trend that we’ve observed over the past few years. On the bright side, this definitely left more room for smaller companies to shine. We are seeing more “specialized” solutions than products trying to cover the wide-spectrum of what people often think enterprise search should be. A few familiar faces were present, like Exalead, Google, and Vivisimo. Previously present, but notably missing this year, were Autonomy, FAST, Endeca, Coveo, Attivio, Oracle and more. This didn’t seem to hamper search summit attendee’s interest in the technology companies present, but I would think the reduced number of booths this year won’t help attract more people.

I noticed buzzword proliferation in the enterprise search space has stalled this year; maybe a sign of maturity?  The most recurrent topics that have emerged from the various presentations I attended were: semantic search, social search, taxonomy, facets, and analytic.  For all attendees, do not forget you can download copies of the presentations (password-protected).    For the unfortunates that could not attend, you can always have a glimpse of what you missed by downloading the final program.   I will not summarize each presentations here.  I will instead share some of the more interesting quotes I heard (ranging from good insight to just plain funny).

Enterprise Search in General:

“Good design is encouraging, not just enabling.” – Eris Reiss (FaxDux Group)

“12.3% money is spent on unstructured data while 80% of the data is unstructured.” – Mark Rudick (Google)

“Relevancy is like pornography, I know when I see it.” – Eric Pugh (Open Source Connections)

Enterprise Search Project Failures:

“It is not a technology problem, not a design problem, it is a governance problem.” – Lisa Welchman (Welman PierPoint)

Social Search:

“Search as if your colleagues were there to answer and point you to resources.” – Thomas Vander Wal (InfoCloud Solutions).

Advice to Bring Home:

“You need more skilled resources.” – Hadley Reynolds (Search & Digital Marketplace Technologies, IDC)

“Focus on the risk of not doing it.” – Lynda Moulton (Gilbain/Outsell)

“Clean out the junk” and “Search is an ongoing investment” – Alan Pelz-Sharpe (Real-Story Group)

Personal Favourite:

“Screw the app… solve the problem!”– Eris Reiss (FaxDux Group)

Pascal Essiembre has been a successful Enterprise Application Developer for several years before founding Norconex in 2007 and remaining its president to this day. Pascal has been responsible for several successful Norconex enterprise search projects across North America. Pascal is also heading the Product Division of Norconex and leading Norconex Open-Source initiatives.