Looking back, 2012 has been quite a year for search.  

From a business perspective Lexmark acquired Isys-Search, Lucid Imagination changed its name, Attivio gained a US$ 37 million investment, Coveo followed with an US$ 18 million investment, Apache Lucene and Solr moved to Release 4, ElasticSearch set up a commercial arm and Microsoft announced a seriously well-featured SharePoint 2013 search application.

Gradually a picture of search implementation is beginning to emerge, thanks to surveys from Findwise, MarkLogic, Oracle and AIIM. The picture is not a pretty one. All agree that information is a business-critical asset but companies have failed to understand the urgent need to provide technology and support for search.

Publishers saw business opportunities as well, so along with my own book came excellent titles from Susan Feldman, and Tony Russell-Rose and Tyler Tate. Stephen Arnold continued to track and probe the search business to the benefit of the entire search community. And then came the HP-Autonomy saga, which is clearly not going to play out any time soon. 

More to Come in 2013

So far I have not mentioned "big data." The Exalead tweet machine (@3dsexalead) highlights a dozen news items a day and every search vendor has invested heavily in a big data hype machine.

The upside of the interest in big data is that it is causing IT managers in all types of organizations to look, probably for the first time, into the requirements for data and information discovery. Data without an information context has very limited value.

The Findwise survey (backed up by the Digital Workplace Trends Report) indicates that less than 20 percent of organizations have a strategy for search even though many of them will be supporting multiple search applications. I expect this figure to improve markedly by the time the 2013 Findwise survey is presented at Enterprise Search Europe (of which I am Conference Chair) and the Enterprise Search Summit in May.

The 2011/2012 search vendor acquisition frenzy took out most of the mid-range vendors. In 2013 we will find out whether smaller commercial vendors can attract the investment they need to bring their technologies to a wider market or whether the space will be taken by open-source applications.