Search tool provider Endeca Technologies is putting its ecommerce experience to work inside the enterprise. Today, the company has introduced Endeca Latitude, a new BI product that combines a familiar search experience with business intelligence to improve decision-making.
According to Endeca’s chief strategist, Paul Sonderegger, a few years ago, “our customers came to us and said that they like what we doing out there on their dot com sites with navigation, but that they had another problem: They have employees and managers making decisions—and they are supposed to use a lot of information to make these decisions–but the BI tools they’ve used to date have been too complex.” He says that the company saw this as an opportunity to produce a BI tool that leveraged the “simplicity of search with the power of BI.”
So for the past three years, Endeca has worked with some of its “most visionary customers” and taken its simple, consumer level decision making user experience and brought it inside the enterprise to apply it to much more complex data.
As part of this move, the company is also focusing on reducing the complexity for IT to develop specific intelligence applications. Based on Endeca’s search-analytical database, Latitude provides a centralized platform to allow organizations to deploy BI applications on diverse and changing data. According to Sonderegger, “in the ecommerce world, a lot of the IT skills there are around web application development. However, in Enterprise IT, they don’t have a lot of these developers. So to help enterprise IT take advantage of this tool, we provide a Discovery Framework, which is a tool for assembling applications which cuts deployment time way down.”
Also in the ecommerce world, search clearly delivers value to the bottom line that can be measured in conversion rates. However Sonderegger points out that search tools have had a more difficult time proving their value within the enterprise. He says, that “search has struggled with playing a sufficient role in a business process.” However, he points out that “Business Intelligence doesn’t have that problem. BI technologies are already closely associated with improving the metrics in business processes.”
As a company best known for its work in ecommerce search and navigation, it seems a departure for Endeca to move into such a business-specific space. However, Sonderegger says that, “As a company, we’ve been on this path for a couple of years now. In launching Latitude, we are continuing the trajectory Endeca has been on which is to improve daily decision making and now we are bringing this inside the enterprise.”
Given the complex combination of data and outcomes required for enterprise decision making, combined with the increasing expectation of enterprise users for work specific tools to be more like what they use out on the open web, and given Endeca’s base of ecommerce users who have enterprise level decision making needs, there are likely to be shoppers ready and willing to buy into this approach.