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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Enterprise Search And Destroy

New government regulations often spawn whole new markets.  A far-reaching reform of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) is proving to be no exception.  The reform means that electronic documents in all forms, including e-mail, instant messages and even transcripts of video conference and VoIP calls, are fair game for litigants during the discovery phase of a lawsuit.

According to IDC analyst Sue Feldman, the field of electronic document search and retrieval has “gone from practically zilch three years ago” to achieving 30 percent growth over the past year, in large part thanks to the changes to the FRCP.  No wonder that established enterprise search application vendors like Autonomy, Recommind and Exalead have introduced new products or tweaked existing software to meet demand for the efficient storage and retrieval of electronic communications. For instance, Exalead CEO Alain Heurtebise told me that his Paris-based company closed a deal with EDS’s Italian subsidiary in 2006, and is being considered by IBM as an OEM partner for a storage and e-discovery application.

Paris-based business intelligence vendor Business Objects (Quote) picked Attensity to be its search partner in November, while Nstein has recently signed deals with Cognos (Quote) and Computer Sciences Corp. (Quote).

E-discovery application vendors promote their own special sauce for allowing corporate lawyers to sift through reams of data while de-duping and otherwise reducing irrelevant search results.

“If you’re ignorant about what you’re looking for, you’re obliged to go by serendipity,” he said.

Posted on 01/02