Searching for information is a time consuming task, one that often results in disappointment and overwhelming quantities of information. A search may result in the correct answer, however, wading through and separating the relevant from the irrelevant is no small task for the knowledge worker. Ultimately this is the consequence of searches returning correct results, but not necessarily correct answers.
With an eye towards resolving this problem, Dow Jones announced last week that it had acquired Generate, a business intelligence company, and would be forming a new Business and Relationship Intelligence unit within the Enterprise Media Group. The Generate platform works by crawling millions of Web sites and extracting data on four million companies and over six million executives. This, when combined with so-called trigger events, such as mergers, executive changes, venture funding, and partnerships, provides precise reports that allow companies to detect changes in the competitive landscape, identify prospects, and nourish their own networks. Extraction is complemented by relationship mapping technology, showing the best possible path to approach an executive, anticipate shifts in the market, and make the most out of personal and corporate connections. While busy executives may not think to update their Xing or LinkedIn profile for weeks after a change, if at all, a system utilizing Generate technology would pick up on a change almost instantaneously and ensure that those who need to be aware of the change are.
The savings in time and headaches for the knowledge worker – and by extension in productivity for the enterprise – from such a system should not be underestimated. The pairing of Dow Jones and Generate is indicative of the massive importance of better searching technology to the knowledge worker. The potential gains in the fight against Information Overload are no less exciting – as searching technology improves, those overwhelming piles of results will shrink, and the information we were looking for all along will float to the top.
Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.