February 13, 2006
BearingPoint, a management and technology consulting firm based in McLean, VA, is entering into a strategic partnership with Google to offer Google's enterprise search hardware tailored to specific industries.
In conjunction with the announcement, BearingPoint is forming a corporate group dedicated to search technology integration, putting search on equal footing with traditional enterprise integration competencies such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). "We are clearly making a strategic investment in the search space," says Chris Weitz, managing director of Bearing Point's new search solutions integration practice. "We believe this is going to be a growing need." The need is simply finding relevant data amid a torrent of information. Trite though it may be to bemoan the difficulty of finding anything, it's nonetheless a real problem. "I joke that we're our own worse enemy," says Weitz, noting the irony of his group's mission: using search technology to make sense of the information generated by previous enterprise technology integration efforts. As an example of the sort of work BearingPoint will be doing, Weitz cites a telecommunications company that has asked for extensions to Google's search technology that will let them search through source code to find out what the hundreds of applications they have actually do. Other examples include customized plug-ins and security extensions for the government and the financial services industry, which have rigorous data handling regulations to follow. "We'll be building some vertical solutions that deliver Google search for specific industry segments," Weitz says. Other industry segments for which BearingPoint is developing software include aerospace and pharmaceuticals. While enterprise search products already address many of these needs, traditional corporate search solutions have tended to be comparatively expensive or complicated. Now, thanks to Google, Yahoo, and various other Web-based services, business users are demanding the simplicity of the consumer Web in their corporate applications. As Harry You, CEO of BearingPoint, said in his company's press release, "Enterprise users expect the same level of functionality, simplicity and ease-of-use in the enterprise that they experience as consumers on the Internet. This is part of a shift we call consumerization of the enterprise and Google search products are at the leading edge of this trend." For Google, that trend extends beyond search. Dave Girouard, general manager of Google Enterprise declined to discuss upcoming business products, but he pointed to his company's recently announced test of its Gmail service at San Jose City College in San Jose, California, as the sort of enterprise project Google might undertake. Google is providing students there with Gmail service using SJCC's Internet domain, sjcc.edu. That seemingly trivial bit of branding -- having E-mail appear to come from a corporate domain rather than gmail.com -- is all that stands between Google and the ability to compete as a corporate E-mail provider. Referring to the challenges search has yet to solve, Girouard says, "We think this is an amazing opportunity for us."
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