attivo_logo_2009.jpgA company getting a lot of attention these days is Attivio. And not just because it's packed with former FAST search executives, but because it offers a solution that will provide you a 360 degree view of your customer by bringing together enterprise search and business intelligence/data warehousing information. It's called Unified Information Access and it helps you understand exactly what your customer is saying. 

CMSWire spoke with Andrew McKay, Senior Vice President and MaryAnne Sinville, VP Marketing at Attivio to get a view into the world of Unified Information Access and a look at the Active Intelligence Engine.

Needing to Know Your Customer

The world of enterprise search has been changing for a while now. It use to be about indexing webpages and documents to return search results based on keyword queries. But organizations need more now because there's more to understanding and building a relationship with your customer than basic search can provide.

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Attivio: Information Access

Attivio's goal is to solve one basic problem, understanding what the customer is saying. To do that they bring together the worlds of business intelligence, data warehousing and enterprise search (also called information access). Their tool? The Active Intelligence Engine.

The Active Intelligence Engine

The AIE is a platform that combines structured and unstructured content. It provides a single API/view into that content without compromising analytics and search functionality.

All content is brought into a single repository. The AIE can ingest and index pretty much anything. In fact, it supports 400-500 different document types (didn't know there were that many), web content, twitter feeds, media (videos, instant messaging), data using JDBC and most of the top 20-25 Document Management and Content Management Systems.

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Attivio - Active Intelligence Engine (AIE)

Altogether, the repository offers a 360 degree view of content. What kinds of things can you do with this repository? Build prototypes, portals and dashboards fast.

Uses Cases for AIE

Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine supports a number of use cases including:

Let's take a look at two of these a bit more:

General Information Portal

These types of portals are designed to support media publishers and/or consumers and can be very personalized to make the experience relevant to the user. Using AIE you can create dynamic relevancy profiles and perform sentiment analysis. An example is building their view of the portal based on their location.

AIE also offers real time capabilities for search. Most search solutions dwell on historical content, but AIE offers online operational search providing the ability to stream in content in near real time (like a twitter feed). It can then integrate CMS content with back office business data and provide a personalized vew to the user.

For publishers, AIE provides the ability to take a multi branded publishing environment and slice and dice it to create new brands overnight.

Another feature is dynamic Page Linking. When content is indexed, it is automatically mined for nouns and noun phrases, and searches all content determining top landing pages for links.

Decision Support

Decision Support Portals or Dashboards are used by organizations to support their customers. Sales, Marketing, Call center views are brought together to provide a complete view of the customer. It allows you to "know them and what they might ask".

An example here is the Financial Services Company who wants to know call center transcripts, email and ERP data on a customer.

An Information Access Platform

Attivio is an information access platform provider, not a solution provider. They sell their platform through ISVs and System Integrators. Essentially the Active Intelligence Engine is middleware, the central repository from which front-end solutions can be built.

While they do offer a front-end solution, usually their platform is integrated with something already in place.

Efficient and Scalable

Architect to exist in a single Java container, AIE can dynamically add content without re-indexing. It also offers linear scalability, allowing you to add new hardware, also without re-indexing. It has a number of standard connectors which can be extended via API. New connectors can also be built using the API.

AIE supports REST, JDBC, HTTP, WSDL, XML, RSS , File Systems, and more recently a SQL Beta Module that enables you to perform SQL queries.

An out of the box workflow fabric supports both branching and looping and the ability to handle attachments. You can set alerts via email, call another application and/or invoke another search or query.

Security is also considered within AIE. Traditional security models index ACLs with documents, but this can cause problems when dealing with complex changes in permissions. AIE indexes ACLs separately, performing a join between the ACLs and the document.

Interestingly, Attivio offers a shrink wrapped version of AIE that has a 200 20 MB footprint. Small enough to run on your laptop and designed for the ISV market.

Scratching the Surface, Learn More

The most recent version of Attivio's AIE is 1.5, released in August of this year. It included some new modules such as the Sentiment Module which extracts and measures the sentiment of a document and any entities within the document, a Classification Module which can classify documents to a set of categories and an OCR Module which can ingest text from scanned documents and images.

We have only scratched the surface of what the Active Intelligence Engine can do to help you better support your customers and your business. Attivio offers a number of videos and demos explaining AIE, Information Access. We suggest you watch them.