Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ISYS:web - Enterprise Search for Small and Medium Business

Yesterday ISYS Search Software announced Enterprise Search Support for Interwoven WorkSite. Last month, they had announced integration of ISYS:web 8 into Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS). When I read the news release, I got curious to know more about the ISYS and its market in the Enterprise search.

ISYS Search Software is based out of Sydney, Australia and has been business since 1998. Its major focus has been in Small & Medium Business (SMB) and Government sector. Currently ISYS has over 10,000 customers on seven continents, including Antarctica and was selected as 'one of the 100 most significant Australian innovations of the twentieth century' by the Powerhouse Museum in 1999.

When I looked into its product portfolio, I discovered following products:
1. ISYS:Desktop - indexing and retrieving tool for desktop and laptop primary windows based.
2. ISYS:web - designed for indexing and searching on public and intranet websites.
3. ISYS:sdk - SDK toolkit to support development

What interested me most is their ISYS:web product, an Enterprise Search Engine, suited for mid-market segment. It is out-of-box search tool with small foot-print, an easy installer, and can be customized and configured to meet complex enterprise needs. It compares with Google Search Appliance from pricing perspective and meet features and functionality of full blown enterprise search engine like Verity and Fast.

From platform perspective, it is based on Windows and supports Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 2003 server, Vista operating systems. That is one of the reasons, it can easily provide integration points to Interwoven WorkSite and Microsoft SharePoint Server, both windows based products.

What impressed me most, is its rich set of features. It provides a range of search, navigation and discovery tools all bundled into a single platform. One can execute natural language queries or easily construct advanced Boolean and proximity queries via point-and-click operators. Navigate, drill down and instantly locate the right information via On-The-Fly Categorization, ‘search within’ queries, hit highlighting and hit-to-hit navigation. Discover associations and connections between your search terms and the entities ISYS has automatically identified within your search results with ISYS Entities. Administrators will also benefit from ISYS:web’s easy-to-deploy, web-based administration, which includes features like the ISYS Site Designer and Search Designer, federation of remote ISYS indexes, Best Bets, and ISYS SearchTrends for measuring and analyzing search patterns.

It can seamlessly search multiple disparate data sources, including Microsoft Office, WordPerfect, Open Office, HTML, ZIP files, all major email products, all SQL data sources, SharePoint, Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino.

I wanted to try it myself, ISYS Search Software website provides search through its own search engine and I also found some more organization using ISYS, including City of San Jose and Town of Frisco. ISYS also have impressive list of customers, including Boeing and Cisco Systems.

When I look at the ISYS:web, it has all required features of Enterprise search engine for SMB and with low cost of ownership. Even the pricing model is quite different from tools in same category. Most of search engines in this category are per document based licensing or appliance model. ISYS:web has base license cost and an additional per user ($100) licensing model. In addition, it claims to have provision for volume licensing. If I am company with 100 employees, my total cost of ownership will $1000' + $100*100 = $11000, which is significantly lower than other search engines.

Though I am impressed and want to install and run the Search engine myself, I am also skeptical about its performance and scalability. Whatever it turns out to be, but it still meets its objectives of rapid return and low cost of ownership.

I am going to explore more on its navigational (auto-classification, faceted search) and discovery features and share with you.

1 comment:

Sean Hawk said...

Thank you for the recognition of our recent announcement. We're obviously excited about this new capability, since we see SharePoint as something that many companies are migrating toward. Please note that the pricing listed should be slightly amended. While our ISYS:desktop pricing starts with a USD 1,000 per network license, ISYS:web for SharePoint search actually starts at USD 5,000 per server. So, it's quite close to your initial pricing listed, but slightly higher (yet significantly less than competing solutions). Most importantly, ISYS lets you try before you buy, and this is something we insist on, since a number of competitors don't have this option.