Autonomy ‘Ants’ March to New Search Approach

Enterprise search vendor Autonomy is offering customers a new twist on
spidering that it says will increase search relevancy within the enterprise.

The Cambridge, England-based company said the enhancement to its Intelligent
Data Operating Layer (IDOL) application allows users to receive real-time
results from highly fungible sources of data, including business
applications and the Web.

Typically, enterprise search engines use spidering to index enterprise
content, but are limited to static documents and information stored in

With Autonomy’s IDOL enhancement, the application receives a real-time alert from a content source when
data has changed, and can retrieve the new data using the most direct path

Nicole Eagan, chief marketing officer at Autonomy, said the technology
mimics the behavior of ants, leaving behind the equivalent of a chemical
trail during an initial indexing phase, allowing future searches to follow
the most expeditious route to given information stores.

“The ant just goes back [into the data source] when something changes,” she

Eagan said that the enhancement also obviates the need for its search
application to constantly spider enterprise networks in search of new data.

“Performance-wise, it doesn’t make sense to keep spidering everything,” she

The vendor chose to call this “ant intelligence” in response to a presentation
made by Gartner analyst Whit Andrews earlier this fall.

Eagan said another enhancement to IDOL is that it automatically clusters
search results from various sources so that users see them by category,
including sources outside the enterprise.

“It federates queries to enterprise data sources as well as over the
Internet,” she said.

Clustering, a concept that analysts credit Pittsburgh-based Vivisimo
with developing for search, is also being tested by Microsoft .

The market for content access tools, including search engines, text mining
and analytics, categorizers, and other linguistically-based technologies
grew by 38.5 percent, according to IDC.

According to a report issued by Sue Feldman, who covers the sector of IDC,
“the market for extended search platforms will continue to exceed the growth
of the overall software market in 2006.”

IDC also said Autonomy is the leading enterprise search vendor based on
2005 revenues, followed by Fast Search & Transfer, Google , IBM  and Endeca.

The company has built its business by providing users with the ability to
index unstructured data such as e-mail, instant messages and even voice and

With the new IDOL perk, Autonomy can now extend this capability to dynamic data types contained in
enterprise applications such as ERP  and supply chain management

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