As part of its latest effort to penetrate into the elusive enterprise market, Google Inc. is enlisting the help of one of the industrys largest players. The search giant has decided to partner with EMC Corp. in the hopes that the alliance will give Google access to EMCs massive—and moneyed—customer base.
Documentum, a unit of EMC, announced last week that it is adding Googles Desktop Search tools to its ECI (Enterprise Content Integration) package to further the products ability to query information isolated on peoples computers. Specifically, the company said the technology should help its customers dig into the reams of so-called unstructured data that resides in workers e-mail clients and instant messaging systems.
At least one Documentum ECI customer agreed that the prospect of combining content management with the Google Desktop for Enterprise technology is something his colleagues will value greatly. Tony Bland, IS strategy manager for London-based law firm Linklaters, said that the Google products features that allow researchers to save and track their searches will come in handy as workers cross-reference one anothers work.
"The potential impact is gaining the ability to retrieve more information and focus more attention on the quality of that information, as well as the ability to share any of that data easily," said Bland. "Our workers use external information sources as much as internal data, so theyre spending a lot of time duplicating search efforts, and this should help eliminate a lot of the legwork."
Linklaters has used Documentums enterprise content management tools since 1999 and is in the process of upgrading to the latest ECI package, and Bland said he believes that bringing desktop search into the picture will be among the greatest benefits of the project.
"Theres definitely been significant demand for more powerful search capabilities within content management, and its also about the process of what you do with that content once you find it," Bland said. "Thats the part thats often left hanging, with people sending links around, but this integration is encouraging in simplifying all that as well."
EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass., and Google established a partnership to help blend their respective technologies but will add the desktop search capability to the Documentum offering at no extra cost, as Google already gives the technology away for free. The Documentum products bearing the Google technology are slated to hit the market this quarter.
Google has tried and largely failed to bring its dominant search technology into the enterprise several different ways in the past few years. The companys Google Search Appliance and Google Mini products have not been successful in drawing large numbers of corporate buyers. Of late, the company has been emphasizing the value of its Google Desktop for Enterprise, an application that lets users search both the Internet and their PCs for specific content.
EMC maintains that customers have been begging the company for some way to have more of their unstructured data covered by search tools, which led the company to strike the deal with Google, of Mountain View, Calif. However, before partnering with Google, EMC had no plans to develop its own desktop search, admits Lubor Ptacek, director of product marketing at Documentum.
As a result, integrating Googles desktop technology, which is based on the same architecture that powers its ubiquitous Web search, was a relative no-brainer, Ptacek said.
"Customers tell us this is hugely important because 70 to 80 percent of all corporate data is stored on workers PCs," said Ptacek. "These companies need something beyond federated search to get to all this information on the desktop."
In addition to Google Desktop, EMC previously added links to Googles Web-based search into ECI, and it also offers customers the ability to integrate its CMS (content management system) with the Google Search Appliance, a combination of hardware and software sold by the company that is used for storing and searching large volumes of data.
Ptacek said that Documentum will continue to look at new ways to bring even more data into ECIs search system. Although he said its hard to imagine something that will add as much depth to the product as Google Desktop, in terms of the sheer volume of data tracked by the search tool, he said he believes that technologies such as emerging mobile business applications will demand their own search capabilities.
"To solve real-world business problems, you cant depend on applications that are narrowly focused on one content type; you need as many different sources of data as possible," said Ptacek.