While the Software-as-a-Service model has been a hot topic recently, the SaaS model for enterprise search is on the decline.The problem is two-fold as on-demand search providers continue to fail to address enterprise search needs while offering little extra value when compared to appliance vendors.
This analysis draws from the new CMS Watch 2008 “Enterprise Search Report", which evaluates 18 major enterprise search offerings. The report was released at the KM World 2007 Enterprise Search Summit.
Software-as-a-Service delivery models are popular throughout the software world, but search has failed to gain a solid foothold in the market. Early hosted players Blossom and Pico have failed to break out into the mainstream, while the most well known hosted search, Atomz, has been acquired twice and now belongs to web analytics vendor Omniture.
CMS Watch lists what it considers to be the three major reasons for the decline of SaaS search:
# SaaS offerings have been limited mostly to website search scenarios. While an important use case, this is not as high-value as multi-repository enterprise search, which depends heavily on the kind of internal WAN access and onsite software connectors that SaaS vendors simply cannot provide today.
# The substantial rise of search appliance vendors, especially Google, has lowered the demand for simple, web-oriented solutions of the type offered by SaaS vendors.
# Google's own hosted search offering, while targeted at the SMB market, has likely lowered enthusiasm among potential competitors.
CMS Watch research also identified other important enterprise search trends:
* A number of vendors across the board are embracing Web 2.0 features, such as social results ranking, but customers haven't shown as much interest in real installations of these features as they have in demos.
* Browsable, categorized search results functionality of the kind popularized by Vivisimo and Endeca are now nearly ubiquitous across the marketplace.
* As search technologies increase in power and complexity, enterprise customers are pressing search vendors to improve their testing and configuration management facilities, which remain relatively thin in this marketplace
CMS Watch founder, Tony Byrne notes that "Google's Search Appliance continues to exert powerful gravitational force on the entire market, however, enterprises are getting savvier to Google's limitations here, and the market for true, multi-repository search remains quite wide open".
It remains to be seen if the recently announced Connector Framework for enterprise content management systems will continue to strengthen Google's already formidable position.
If you'd like more information from the 2008 Enterprise Search Report, we recommend you purchase the report at the CMS Watch website.
Do you agree with the CMS Watch report results? We'd love to hear your opinion on the matter. Drop us a comment and let us know what you think.