Search Marketplace Stabilizing After Years of Turbulence

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CMS Watch research finds vendors slowing technology development to digest acquisitions

2009 Cross-Check

But like so many other companies in this economy, search vendors have become more risk-averse, and are focusing on stabilizing what they have and selling smarter. That's why we have few vendors in the upper quadrants of the chart.

Enterprise search vendors have spent much of the past year digesting acquisitions and stabilizing their offerings, according to new research from CMS Watch, an independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies. While in the past, search and information access technology buyers faced vendors and technology both undergoing rapid change, the choices are now more stable.

"Stability in the search technology market hasn't brought about serious consolidation, but we've finally arrived at a point where there's plenty of easy-to-install and relatively well-performing solutions," points out Adriaan Bloem, Analyst for The Search & Information Access Report 2009. "In our 2009 Cross-Check(tm) chart, many vendors moved into the 'Balance' sector or migrated to the quieter, bottom-left of the chart. But enterprises in need of search technology still have a wealth of choices -- in some cases, several from the same vendor."

[The 2009 Cross-Check(tm) chart is available online at:
http://www.cmswatch.com/images/CMS-Watch-SIAR-Cross-Check-2009-hi.jpg (high res)
http://www.cmswatch.com/images/CMS-Watch-SIAR-Cross-Check-2009-low.jpg (low res)]

Some signs of the stabilizing search market include:

  • Microsoft spent much of the past year honing and recently debuting a new strategy for its multiple search offerings, including Microsoft Office SharePoint Search and FAST ESP, while the products themselves changed little
  • Many vendors' "new features" added in the last year are well-tested and licensed content type filters, connectors, or natural language processing components from 3rd parties
  • Few search vendors debuted major releases in the last 6 months, instead choosing to focus on refining existing offerings and improving marketing

"Some may see these developments as a sign that search technology is stagnating or that vendors are innovating less, and in some ways that's true," added CMS Watch Principal, Theresa Regli. "But like so many other companies in this economy, search vendors have become more risk-averse, and are focusing on stabilizing what they have and selling smarter. That's why we have few vendors in the upper quadrants of the chart."

The Search & Information Access Report 2009 provides a comprehensive overview of 23 search technology products and identifies current best practices. The Report is available for purchase online from CMS Watch (http://www.cmswatch.com).

About CMS Watch:
CMS Watch(tm) is an analyst firm that provides an independent source of buyer's advice on content technologies. Through highly detailed product evaluation reports, CMS Watch sorts out the complex landscape of potential solutions so enterprise project teams can readily identify and assess technologies suited to their particular requirements. To retain its independence as a vendor-neutral analyst firm, CMS Watch works solely for solutions buyers and never for the vendors it covers.

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Kristie Hughes
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