Archive for October, 2009

BI vs Enterprise Search

October 15th, 2009 No comments

As I’ve spent more time working with ECM (Enterprise Content Management) solutions during the past months, and I still have a strong BI background, I was asked this question today:

Could you give me a quick synopsis of the major benefits one would get from a serious BI application vs a serious Enterprise Search application like Autonomy?

And here is my answer:

At first glance, these two solutions are totally different, yet from an end user standpoint they might look similar.

In a nutshell, a BI solution allows searching, digging and making sense of structured data (i.e. stored in a database of all kind: relational, multidimensional, etc…), and build reports, real time dashboards, etc.

An Enterprise Search solution allows searching and digging unstructured information (mainly text based, from various sources including managed content or external sources such as web pages or even scanned papers).

The interesting part is that a user would like to search something globally, across structured and unstructured data, as the most important part for them is what they search, not where or how it is stored. The segregation between structured and unstructured content is mostly driven by technology although the real need is for these technologies to converge.

The convergence of these two world also comes from growing links between structured and unstructured information, as a big part of what ECM and Enterprise Search solutions are doing is to “structure the unstructured” by adding structured Metadata to unstructured information.

Most of the time though, the BI applications are not yet able to leverage this Metadata, mainly because it’s written in a very proprietary way, not designed for easy reporting but rather for the ECM own performance purposes.