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5/22/2007
08:34 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Business Objects Deal Advances BI-Search Combo

Business Objects announced this morning its intent to acquire Inxight Software, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company specializing in search technology including federated search, entity extraction, natural-language processing, text analytics and data visualization software. The deal, if closed as planned in July, will advance Business Objects' efforts to gain "streamlined access to unstructured information such as e-mail, documents, notes fields and Web content."

Business Objects announced this morning its intent to acquire Inxight Software, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company specializing in search technology including federated search, entity extraction, natural-language processing, text analytics and data visualization software. The deal, if closed as planned in July, will advance Business Objects' efforts to gain "streamlined access to both structured information within databases and data warehouses, and unstructured information such as e-mails, documents, notes fields, and Web content."Inxight has only 125-employees and approximately $25 million in revenue, but the company is a well-known spin-off of Xerox PARC. I've had many briefings with Inxight over the years and a few impressive capabilities come to mind. First there's the combination of entity extraction - spotting people, places and events in text - content categorization and intuitive search navigation. The trio cuts the typical 10,000-hit search result down to size and then presents much more easily navigable categories of inquiry. These technologies also figure in Inxight's text-mining capabilities, which spot patterns of meaning (customer segments, service problems, buying patterns, up-sell opportunities, etc.) within large repositories of content (such as CRM system notes fields or customer-related e-mail messages and documents).

The press release on the deal rattles off all sorts of high-profile corporate customers, including Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Novartis, and Thomson, but I know Inxight better as an OEM supplier. In fact, Inxight has OEM agreements with IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, and its technology is used by SAS in the area of text mining.

This deal makes good on Business Objects CEO John Schwarz's recent vow, delivered at April's AIIM Expo, to "add e-mail messages, documents and even images and other media content to our information domain, making it possible to search unstructured content and include it in BI analyses in a seamless way."

As both Ventana Research and Stephen Wellman observe this week, the BI-search combo is a hot topic this year, but many practitioners have yet to deploy and forge real strategies for search technology alone. Making use of the combination of BI and search will not be a simple matter of creating a single interface to structured and unstructured content, it will demand careful assesment and development of customer- and revenue-relevant applications.Business Objects announced this morning its intent to acquire Inxight Software, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company specializing in search technology including federated search, entity extraction, natural-language processing, text analytics and data visualization software. The deal, if closed as planned in July, will advance Business Objects' efforts to gain "streamlined access to unstructured information such as e-mail, documents, notes fields and Web content."

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