// Commented out mbk Feb 2019 // //
Search this site:
Enterprise Search Blog

My Take on the recent Forrester Wave

By: Miles Kehoe

The new Forrester Wave Cognitive Search And Knowledge Discovery Solutions is out, and once again I think Forrester, along with Gartner and others, has missed the mark on the real enterprise search market. 

In the belief that sharing my first impression will at least start the conversation going, let me share my take.

First, I am not wild about the new buzzterms 'cognitive search' and 'insight engines'. Yes, enterprise search can be intelligent, but it's not cognitive. which Webster defines as "of, relating to, or involving conscious mental activities (such as thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering)". HAL 9000 was cognitive software; suggestions like "Did you mean" and 'People like you" are not cognition.  And enterprise search has always provided insights into content, so why the new 'insight engines'? I guess I missed my ballot when they we taking the vote.

Ranking Enterprise Search

Let’s start with what I consider “Tier 1” products. I agree with Forrester that Attivio, Coveo and Sinequa are among the leaders. Honestly, I wish Coveo was fully multi-platform, but they do have an outstanding cloud offering that in my mind addresses much of the issue.

Unlike Forrester, I think Lucidworks Fusion belongs right up there with the leaders. Fusion starts with a strong open source Solr-based core; a crawler (Anda that provides many of the best attributes of the old FAST crawler/platform including an index pipeline that makes enhancing content easy; an integrated administrative GUI; a great search user interface builder (soon to include products from the recent acquisition of Twigkit); integrated machine learning with Spark; and multiple-platform support. (Yep, I worked there a few years ago, and I am a shareholder, but I was there well before the current product was created).

Many of the former Tier 1 search platforms have become what I call the 'Old Guard’. These include IDOL, Endeca, and Recommind. It will be interesting to see if Idol and its new parent, Microfocus – the company I’ll always think of as the 'Cobol for PCs company' - survive the recent shotgun wedding. Vivisimo is gone, but its 'Clusty' tool is part of what drives 'Young Turk' platform Yippy; and some Vivisimo technology lives on in IBM Watson Explorer.  

Tier 2, great search but not quite “full” enterprise search, includes Mark Logic, SAP TREX, X1, Thunderstone and perhaps one or two more. These guys have niche markets, and are likely thriving.

Then we have the “Young Turks”. These are newer and lesser known search offerings, including Algolia, Funnelback, Swiftype, Yippy and more. Don’t hold their size and/or youth against them; they’re quite good products and one or two are so feature-rich, it's hard to think of them as 'a search engine'. I'll have more on this in future issues.

Those of you who know me understand how I hate to be controversial, but I have to address what many might perceive as a glaring omission: Elasticsearch, the very popular and capable commercial product based on Apache Lucene. It’s a great search platform and quite innovative: it’s from the company that first integrated Kibana, the very cool, powerful, and useful graphics analytics and reporting tool - later to be ported to Solr and to Lucidworks Fusion as Banana and SILK respectively. I do know of at least one very large company planning to use Elasticsearch for their corporate enterprise search engine. But that company is a high tech giant, has the skills in-house to script things that need scripting and to integrate things that need to be integrated.

But in my view, 'enterprise search needs fully integrated capabilities like a GUI crawler for ingesting content; tools for indexing non-text format files such as PDF and Office docs without having to download additional tools like TIKA; and complete tools for gluing it all together – not shell scripts left to the customer to write.

That said, I consider Elasticsearch the undisputed leader in a new category of search. In fact, it’s so new, I had to make up and name a new category: Search for the ‘internet of things’, or Search-IoT. If you have massive amounts of data with small record sizes, which IoT devices generate by the gigabyte, Elasticsearch is probably your best choice. But while enterprises are diving into IOT, and it’s probably the fastest growing search use case, IOT is not enterprise search


In closing, I’d say the Forrester report is limited, and honestly feels a bit out of touch with the real Enterprise Search market. I know, I know: How do I really feel? Stay tuned, I've got more to say coming soon. What do you think? Leave a comment below!