These new technologies “allow you to cross the structured and unstructured worlds,” says Pete Bell, co-founder of Endeca.
To make unstructured data more meaningful, Verity is taking several approaches. Its newly introduced Extractor automatically preprocesses documents, looking for concepts, patterns, entities, and tags files, accordingly. At the next level, its Collaborative Classifier enlists a broad range of subject-matter experts within the organization to manage topics. It’s highly intuitive and encourages user participation, which, in turn, significantly boosts categorization accuracy, according to company officials.
End to end with security in mind
Although the line between consumer search and enterprise search continually blurs, a key difference lies in enterprise security architecture.
“Security is a huge issue because you don’t want to show results that include documents to which the user has no right,” IDC’s Feldman says, asserting, however, that security at the platform layer is fairly straightforward. “If you’ve got document-level security and repository-level security, search engines can use them to index documents for access rights. They can also tie into an LDAP directory to look at the collection-level access rights.”
John McPherson, a distinguished engineer at IBM, explains that the search engine within DB2 Information Integrator is adept at integrating assigned permissions and maintaining the security of the data from the underlying repository.
“There are associated security tokens at the document level, and an interface allows the application to do a search on behalf of the user with specified security credentials, which guarantee we’re only returning content that the user is allowed to see,” McPherson says. “It’s integrated way down in the index so we’re also getting peak performance."
Delphi Group’s Reynolds echoes a prevailing sentiment: “The search environment has no business imposing a specific security scheme on the enterprise. You want it to be flexible and agnostic.”
Simplicity wrapped in complexity
For that matter, users are typically agnostic in that few workers sit around questioning how results are returned.
To be of value, search vendors must provide “a single user experience that hides the fact that there are different engines, different indexes, and different capabilities happening in the background,” notes Laura Ramos, vice president of research at Forrester Research.
But ESPs demand that they get acquainted with more intelligent search methods. According to IDC’s Feldman, the blank query field and three-word search is gradually going away, as ESPs forge new interfaces. Search platforms “must be tied into the collaborative tools of the organization,” she says.
Mike Heck contributed to this article.