In the briefing room: Simplexo

Knowledge workers spend a good part of their day in search of information; therefore it is no surprise that having the correct search tools is of paramount importance.

Simplexo search simultaneously addresses structured and unstructured data.

Simplexo search simultaneously addresses structured and unstructured data.

The limitations that exist in many search tools, combined with poor search techniques, lead to the frequent use of outdated information, the recreation of content that exists but can not be found, and the waste of significant amounts of time.

Failed searches are a very visible symptom of Information Overload.  It is generally acknowledged that 50% of searches fail outright but few realize that 50% of the searches that people believe to have succeeded actually failed too, in that they presented stale, incorrect, or simply second-best information.  This last figure is far more insidious because the knowledge workers are unaware of the searches’ failure and blithely proceed to use the incorrect information in their work.

Training and proper search techniques can make a huge difference in improving search results but equally important are the tools the knowledge worker uses.  In most cases, information is stored in separate silos, and search tools need to be able to reach across those boundaries.  A search query that reaches across multiple information stores at once provides far more complete and relevant results than multiple separate searches.

Simplexo is one company that is addressing these issues with its Simplexo Enterprise search offering.  The company accesses the native indexing capabilities of databases and existing software such as SharePoint and Outlook to index unstructured data.  Indexing takes place in real-time and runs continuously, which helps ensure that the most current information is presented in search results.  Data is de-duplicated to remove extra copies of information, reducing the overall amount of content that must be indexed.

Simplexo uses a dual index approach that looks at both structured data in real-time and unstructured data during processor idle time.  The system examines and retrieves unstructured data from sources such as Web pages, e-mail, text files, PDF files, and Open Office files, as well as data from structured sources such as databases, business applications, CRM applications, and information portals.  The wide net that Simplexo casts when searching has the potential to improve knowledge worker efficiency. The ability to look in multiple silos and repositories with a single search query is extremely helpful in ensuring that information that is buried in a far flung repository or inbox folder is taken into consideration.

In addition to indexing, Simplexo supports native integration into platforms such as browsers, Office, Outlook, AutoCAD, and Lotus.  This integration is key to enabling the knowledge worker to remain in one work environment.  Simplexo also supports mobile devices via Simplexo Mobile for iPhones and Windows Mobile 6 devices, with plans to add BlackBerry support in the future.

Enterprise search solutions such as Simplexo take a realistic view of the challenges faced by knowledge workers when searching for information.  They recognize that relevant information can reside in any repository, be structured or unstructured, and is in need of continuous indexing to remain up-to-date.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

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