Information Access Technology Also Rises
Total software revenue for worldwide information access with search technology will realize double-digit percent growth in 2007, surpassing $728 million--a 15 percent increase from 2006's $633 million--according to the Gartner report, "Dataquest Insight: Forecast for Information Access With Search Technology in the Enterprise, 2006-2011." The spurt is expected to continue for at least another few years, with software revenue for the market rising to more than $1.1 billion by 2011. (Gartner defines total software revenue as revenue generated from new licenses, upgrades, subscriptions and hosting, technical support, and maintenance.) In addition to providing a market forecast, the report also examines the state of the market and developing trends.
Gartner uses the term information access to include a collection of technologies, such as enterprise search; content classification; categorization and clustering; fact and entity extraction; taxonomy creation and management; and content analytics. Other included technologies are information presentation to support analysis and understanding and desktop or personal knowledge search to address user-controlled repositories to locate and invoke documents, data, email, and intelligence.
Subsegments of the information access with search technology market, according to the report, include enterprise- or business-focused; vertical market, e-commerce or marketing-focused; hosted model; appliance-based (a combined hardware and software offering residing behind an organization's firewall); personal knowledge search; and public/consumer search.
Tom Eid, research vice president at Gartner and report author, contends there are multiple factors that are spurring the expansion of the market for traditional information access with search. They include:
More vertically focused and line-of-business offerings and additional delivery models;
Enhanced taxonomy and search capabilities combined with better content semantics and content analytics, which are boost result relevancy and use; and
Technology convergence across multiple data and content repositories, along with multiple content types, enabling access to more content and providing more accurate results.
"Search is becoming an enabling technology and really almost a service to other job functions and to other capabilities such as e-commerce or customer service, as opposed to just being search as an ultimate application unto itself," Eid says. "The benefit of this is if you're in a call center you can access more corporate information and realize then that you can really drill down into the key problem solving that you need to do in that call center," for example.
As is the case with other technology segments, the information access with search technology market has experienced a significant amount of M&A activity. A handful of the deals within the space in recent years include Autonomy's purchase of Verity, IBM's iPhrase Technologies acquisition, the merger of Kanisa and ServiceWare Technologies forming Knova Software (which is set to be acquired by M2M Holdings), and WebSideStory's purchase of Atomz.
Despite the consolidation, "there's still a lot of room in this particular market in terms of opportunities," Eid says. There is no lead vendor that has a huge market share, according to Eid; rather, the market is highly fragmented across a number of vendors that don't necessarily always compete with each other. "And, you have a lot of smaller vendors that can provide specialized features in terms of [serving a] particular vertical market. There are a lot of working parts to this particular market that just weren't there a few years ago."
ServiceWare and Kanisa to Merge
IBM Acquires iPhrase Technologies
WebSideStory Ups the Search Solution Ante