Archive for July, 2011

Flax’s 10th birthday!

Today marks 10 years since we formed Flax (originally as Lemur Consulting Ltd.). We had an idea that search based on open source software was going to be increasingly important (indeed, our original business model was consultancy based on Xapian) and I think we’ve been proved right over the decade. Today, in the depths of a recession, we’re seeing significant growth in the business and some fascinating opportunities: the sector is still going through rapid change and it will be very interesting to see what the next few years bring.

Thanks to all of those who have worked with us and for us over the last decade – we look forward to the next ten years in this exciting field!

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Posted in events

July 27th, 2011

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Enterprise Search Europe & a SuperSized Search Meetup

We’ve been helping to organise a new conference to be held in London this October, Enterprise Search Europe. This two-day event promises to give a ‘European perspective on the technology, selection, implementation and optimisation of enterprise-scale search’ and features speakers from 3i plc, Logica, The Guardian and a number of search providers such as Findwise, Funnelback and ourselves (I’ll be talking on ‘Building a Strong Business Foundation with Open Source Search’ on the second day).

It’s going to be a busy time as I’m also chairing a panel on the first day and helping run the evening reception, which is co-hosted by the London and Cambridge Search Meetups – this is likely to be one of the largest Search Meetups ever and is sure to be a fascinating evening, featuring speakers from the conference in an informal setting (i.e., a pub!).

Hope to see some of you there.

Economic Trends in Enterprise Search Solutions – unsustainable pricing in a changing market?

This week I was passed a link to a European Commission report on the Enterprise Search market, which I’ve just finished ploughing through (it’s 123 pages and not exactly light reading). It provides an overview of the history of the market and some current trends, but sadly misses out almost completely the rapidly growing open source sector. The authors say “…open source solutions have been disregarded because they do not seem yet to be a real alternative for company use…” – a point of view both I and our satisfied clients would disagree with. The report does at least acknowledge that “open source components are frequently used and integrated in some commercial solutions”.

However there are some very interesting numbers in the latter part of the report. For example, we hear that an Exalead customer, the automotive logistics specialist Gefco, paid 700,000 Euros for the solution built for them to track around 100,000 events a day regarding 1 million vehicles. Appendix 2 has a list of various search vendors and associated costs: for example “The average selling price for the [Autonomy] IDOL tool is $375,000″ and “The price for the Oracle Secure Enterprise Search is $34,500 per processor and $70 per referenced user (with a minimum of 100 users).”

I would question whether these prices are sustainable given that alternative solutions based on proven, scalable open source software are now available at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps the authors of the report should have considered more deeply how this might impact the enterprise search market.

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Posted in Business

July 5th, 2011

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