Managing Information Overload

Are you the recipient of an impossible number of information sources you feel you need to monitor your industry? Do you struggle to track countless sources to know what's going on inside your own enterprise? Can you afford to spend hours every day reading periodicals and news feeds or surfing the Web for competitive business intelligence? For most of us, these tasks are simply not manageable.

Personalized portals, of course, try to automate much of this effort, but although portal providers promise to organize the world's news into manageable screens, they cannot by themselves deliver content they don't have. Increasingly they are realizing they'd better find somebody who does have it.

Powerize.com of Reston, Va., aims to deliver critical news to desktop PCs in the form of customized weekly, hourly or real-time information feeds from more than 10,000 news sources. Users can set up a monitoring channel about a subject or a company and search multiple information sources for just the right data. For instance, an investor relations manager can instruct the portal to return specific information and fast-breaking news that might impact his company's financial performance or tell it to monitor various sources that project earnings estimates for the company. Similarly, brokers of oil and gas or commodity goods and materials need not waste time logging onto specific information portals to download current and future pricing information. In each case, data is delivered according to user-defined schedules.

But for many executives, access to the right external information is only part of the solution. They also need to capture information from internal repositories and databases and integrate all the disparate content on their screens into a meaningful picture.

Integrating Multiple Systems
Through components called Wizards and PowerLinks, Powerize.com provides the content integration technology (or glue) that enables tools from vendors such as Engenia Software, Hummingbird Communications, Hyperwave, Lotus Development Corp., Plumtree Software, Radnet, Sybase and Viador to work simultaneously with search engines, information management systems and content source, regardless of whether those systems reside on the Internet, on an intranet or in a corporate data center.

Portal vendors provide their own front-end templates to access Web information sources and use the Powerize.com content integration technology to synthesize information into specific views.

Wizards simplify the development of sophisticated search queries. Users fill out a Web-based form to create a detailed query that increases the likelihood of finding the desired information. PowerLinks is a proprietary metasearch technology used for linking and integrating information sources through categorization, such as proper name identification, data range clustering, locations and user-defined categories.

These features enable portals to access relational databases, Lotus Notes databases, HTML-based intranet Web sites and document collections indexed by Documentum, Excalibur RetrievalWare, and Verity Information Server. Moreover, Powerize.com can access "hidden" Web sites that Internet search engines don't index.

In addition to licensing its content and integration technology to portal vendors and its content links to such affiliated Internet sites as Annotate.net, SageMaker.com, CNBC.com, Fox Marketwire and Netscape Netcenter, Powerize.com has launched its own Web site where companies and individuals can search the same brand-name content libraries and sources available by portals. The Powerize.com Web site is powered by the Inktomi Content Delivery Suite 3.5 engine services.

To enhance their searching capabilities, users can download a free desktop utility called Powerize 1.0. It requires the Windows 95, 98 or NT operating system and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0+ or Netscape Navigator 4.0+ Web browser.

Powerize.com's content is primarily focused on about a dozen vertical industries, including business and finance, the Internet, computers, automotive, pharmaceuticals, energy and chemicals. Others are expected to follow.

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