The news today that Elastic (the company behind the open source Elasticsearch software) has acquired Swiftype will have surprised a few people, even though Elastic has already acquired a good number of other companies. Swiftype have a couple of products that deliver cloud-based site and enterprise search and under the hood, all of this is built on Elasticsearch. Swiftype are part of a new breed of enterprise search companies – often based on open source cores (such as Lucidworks & Attivio), able to index cloud applications and data and with modern, clean, responsive user interfaces.
The same problems remain however with making enterprise search work in practise: data locked in hard to access legacy systems, low-quality content and metadata, unrealistic expectations driven by over-optimistic marketing and most importantly the various people factors that affect all cross-departmental large-scale IT systems. No matter how clever the software, without the right people with the right training it’s very hard to deliver effective search.
It remains to be seen how the acquisition will change the enterprise search market – Elastic certainly have significant funding and admirable ambition – which in itself is probably enough to worry a few of Swiftype’s competitors.