Sunday, July 22, 2007

Microsoft: SingleView augments SharePoint

Microsoft announced a new search product developed in partnership with consulting giant BearingPoint at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference here on July 10.

A new product, SingleView, that augments Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007. According to press release, the new product is already been used by dozens of Enterprise customers.

What is new in this product which is not supported in existing search of MOSS 2007? MOSS 2007 search provides full text indexing and IFilters interfaces to support meta data search in the Microsoft Office documents. It is still limited to searching the data stored in its SQL Server and Microsoft-related servers.

The SingleView will act as master search index for all kinds of enterprise data, including data that isn't stored on any Microsoft-related servers such as Oracle databases, document management archives, SAP and other CRM (customer relationship management) repositories, e-mails and other sources of information.

"Enterprise search is a very attractive business for us and our partners," said Jared Spataro, the group product manager for enterprise search at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft. The software company says SharePoint has more than 85 million seats sold to date, and continues to experience a strong demand for future growth.

Enterprise search is also more complex because unlike general Web search, it isn't just looking for keywords in a massive pile of data. The difference is that most enterprise searches are looking at the relationships among different—and disparate—pieces of data. Enterprise Search Engines have evolved over the period of time while trying to solve real world. The Enterprise Search Engines have matured while engaging in the assignments with the clients. None of search engines can claim to 100% out-of-box solution for any mid-size or large organization. It is usually 60-80% depending on the complexity of problem of client.

There are other companies like Coveo and other, that have built search services around MOSS 2007. This is clear indication that MOSS search engine is not matured and feature-rich enough to solve enterprise problems.

I am yet to see any collateral on SingleView on the Microsoft site. I think it's great initiative from Microsoft to compete with other Enterprise search companies like Google Search Appliance, Autonomy etc.

The question here is "whether SingleView will always be packaged with MOSS or can become a standalone Enterprise search tool".

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