Search attains powerful new roles in age of Enterprise 2.0 and emerging Semantic Web

Search attains powerful new roles in age of Enterprise 2.0 and emerging Semantic Web

Summary: Search is becoming more than a starting point on information discovery, it is becoming the flexible interface to complex decision-making, analytics, and BI. To better understand these transitions, join moderator Dana Gardner and FAST Search & Transfer CEO John Markus Lervik, CTO Bjorn Olstad, and Zia Zaman, the Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing as we explore the future direction of enterprise search amid the Enterprise 2.0 and Semantic Web era.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Read a full transcript of the podcast. Sponsor: FAST Search & Transfer

The role of search is expanding fast. As Web-type search moves from the Internet to inside the Enterprise for semantic analysis, it begins to identify facts inside documents, combines the information with structured databases, and provides true knowledge discovery.

As analytics are increasingly derived from search, users can relate concepts to enable people to make decisions and get completeness and overview -- on the fly -- to provide, in essence, search-powered business intelligence (BI). The mega trends of Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and the Semantic Web give search more content to consider, and much more power.

Search is becoming more than a starting point on information discovery, it is becoming the flexible interface to complex decision-making, analytics, and BI. To better understand these transitions, join moderator Dana Gardner and FAST Search & Transfer CEO John Markus Lervik, CTO Bjorn Olstad, and Zia Zaman, the Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing as we explore the future direction of enterprise search amid the Enterprise 2.0 and Semantic Web era.

Here are some excerpts from the podcast:
What I don’t like with the approach of Semantic Web is that you have to put in structure, and it’s not really useful until almost everybody has started to put structure into it. So, how do you leap from that and actually make it useful before everybody has adopted this new scheme? Search can actually play a role, because search can auto-generate metadata and find ways to use that structure and to improve the discovery.

Then, the allocation elements that the traditional Semantic Web talks about can be aimed at how to improve algorithms, as opposed to starting from scratch. In doing that, I think search has the opportunity to deliver on the premise of the Semantic Web, by applying algorithms as opposed to altering tools.

If you then move to Web 3.0, then using algorithms increasingly becomes a component of it. I think an immediate step, which is an opportunity that FAST is looking at right now, is how can you use search at this level to go from atomic services to the rich environment, where you effectively can develop and deploy services. That’s kind of the orchestration: how you put services and content components into meaningful context for the end users. That is what brings business value. It brings time to market value for companies that are trying either to develop Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 applications or move their current models to a more collaborative approach.

Going forward, I think increasingly the user experience will be driven by algorithms and will be dynamic, so that you can actually optimize the user experience and the business efficiency. This is valid for both consumer-facing portals that you’ve seen on the Web but also on other applications internally. So then you get that framework and you say. "Let’s not hire system integrators to hard wire my content. Let the user decide, and when we deduce what the user likes, the algorithms can populate the user experience."

This will include both content and relevant services, and maybe a connection to people, so that you can find people to collaborate with. That becomes a framework, and search has matured from being merely access to documents to being this umbrella environment where you can provide access both to structured data and unstructured data and transform them into structure by putting additional metadata onto it. You can do the same with rich media, and search suddenly becomes that framework that can give you access to everything, as opposed to just the text that didn’t fit into the hard wire or the schema model.

We see that search is driving the connective role in Web 2.0 in the evolution towards Web 3.0 by being a service-delivery platform. So we are introducing a Web 2.0 platform that uses search as the main orchestration -- both for monetization purposes and for understanding both content and the user. We'll be tracking the user and understanding his preferences, building personalized experiences, and creating this platform where you can take the atomic components of content and services and effectively roll that out as user-centric services. We’re building a service delivery platform around search for doing that and you will see applications that already have been built on top of that platform.

Gartner predicts that in 2012, 75 percent of the world's applications will use search as the dominant metaphor for how an application is being operated by the end-user. That is a very powerful statement. And it means that developers have to adapt to that. Simplicity in an application [means] that you have a powerful metaphor that you can use to deduce what you should expect the application to be doing. Search is exactly that. So, obviously, search is evolving to not only provide access to text, but to provide value to all types of elements.

Another change in search technology is that it handles content natively, and previously it did not. In Web search you type some queries and you get a URL link to the content. Now you can take XML or SQL databases, and you can get native content. You can search in native content with queries that emulate what you can do in the database or in an XML database. This means that you can build the same type of application with the freedom to access data in an ordinalistic way, and have a mechanism to prioritize as well.
Listen to the podcast, or read the full transcript for more on the future of enterprise search. Sponsor: FAST Search & Transfer.

Topic: Browser

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