Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Autonomy trying to break the mould

(By Philip Carnelley, 16 Sep 09, 15:00) We don’t often comment on new products but this one caught our eye, as it just might have a significant impact on Autonomy's future prospects - it might even change, or at least expand, the nature of business intelligence applications. Autonomy has announced IDOL SPE (“structured probabilistic engine”). It aims to bring to the world of transactional, structured data the “meaning-based” search technology that Autonomy has so successfully peddled to the world of unstructured data, such as textual documents, internet and intranet websites.

It is a truism often quoted that over 70
% of the world’s information is unstructured. That's usually said by people managing unstructured data. What they don't say is that the other 20-30% is critical stuff - the transactional data that organisations run on, which is normally found in relational databases. Now, often you know what you’re looking for in a relational database, where to find it, and what it looks like. But not always. So, applying Autonomy’s Bayesian approach to relational data searches is an interesting new move, and, if it proves useful in practice, could lead to some interesting new applications – an alternative to the established business intelligence vendors, for instance. It could also expand Autonomy’s addressable market considerably.

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