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X1 Desktop Search Platform-- User-Centric Enterprise Information Retrieval and Action

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					        X1® Desktop Search Platform:
User-Centric Enterprise Information Retrieval and Action

                             May 2005




                          Dejan Nenov

                   Vice President, Engineering

                      X1 Technologies, Inc.




                         ©2005 X1 Technologies, Inc.
X1® Desktop Search Platform:
User-Centric Enterprise Information Retrieval and Action
Today’s $12 billion knowledge management market provides comprehensive solutions to large organizations –
implementing such solutions requires significant resources and depends on behavioral changes by employees.
As a result, KM efforts often fall short of their goals.

This paper describes a new user-centric approach to managing structured and unstructured organizational
documents and data. Focusing on end-user features offers significant benefits to corporations, their employees,
and their IT managers.



1.0 Problem Definition
The Problem of Capturing Data
In the current approach to KM and enterprise search, capturing the structured and unstructured data in an
enterprise or government agency is a complicated and difficult task since information resides in a variety of:
      • Formats – documents, messages, relational data, Internet and intranet content, and multimedia
      • Systems – ERP, financial, human resources, customer relationship management, and content
        management
      • Locations – enterprise data and file servers, departmental network/shared drives, and employee
        desktops and laptops


Each business function or information system has its own requirements for accessing and manipulating data.
Additionally, each has widely different user interfaces and storage systems with varying degrees of access by
the rest of the enterprise. As a result, an enterprise or agency-wide KM solution contends with such a disparate
collection of silos and stovepipes that the eventual system makes too many compromises to be of much use to
anyone.

The Problem of Interfacing with Data

Currently, KM and search vendors typically work with an IT department on a hugely complex, expensive and
labor-intensive effort to build a system capable of the full range of enterprise data management tasks.

Current KM solutions often fail in the following ways:

      1. Inability to find and act on data hampering an agency’s ability to identify, analyze or respond to
         dangers, opportunities or constituent needs, especially in times of crisis
      2. Lack of mobile solutions, preventing data access by employees in the field
      3. Extensive and complex user behavior and business requirements, leaving KM systems only
         partially utilized
      4. Lack of extensibility and flexibility, failing to accommodate legacy, existing and future data sources
      5. Poor search of local files or email, often obscuring the most relevant data
      6. Lack of scalability, making the addition of data sources and systems challenging for IT
      7. Need for management, training, and deployment, resulting in high ongoing cost of KM system


Although most enterprise and government organizations are now pursuing knowledge management, KM
technologies have not yet realized significant impact on organizational productivity. Several factors cause this
failure, including the methods of data capture and management, as well as interface and utilization.




                                             ©2005 X1 Technologies, Inc.
2.0 A New Approach: Search-Based User Interface
A new approach to the information retrieval component of knowledge management assumes that companies
already have legacy data and file storage and management systems. Instead of replacing those systems, a
user-centric approach seeks to make existing data more immediately searchable, actionable, useful, and
ultimately valuable by adding search-based user interfaces. Understanding the significant investments already
made in KM systems, new search companies seek to give options to organizations by making existing systems
work the way they want them to work, not the other way around.

In the presence of existing, largely taxonomy-centered systems, the new user-centric search interfaces are silo
and stovepipe “agnostic.” They provide connectors into existing sources of structured and unstructured data.
Software development kits (SDKs) provide for customization to federate results from all available data sources.

Competing vendors who provide this user-centric approach will differentiate themselves in terms of how
multiple data sources and types can be located and leveraged. Increased accessibility and usefulness of data,
as well as enhanced interface, will increase the ROI of these vendors’ solutions.




Search Technology: Information Processing in a Real-Time Environment

The traditional way of finding data is for the user to launch one application at a time, enter keywords and/or
other search parameters, and hit enter. Frequently, retrieving all the information needed by a user requires
repeating the process within multiple systems, such as document management, customer service, logistics,
and email.

The new user-centric approach starts with the entire data set and then excludes non-matching items from it.
The user easily pares away the non-relevant data from the known collection via the new interface.


Search Technology: Horizontal Information Awareness

The new systems scale in three dimensions – the number and bandwidth of inputs, the total number of search-
able information items, and the number of concurrent users and queries. The distributed yet integrated systems
accommodate an unlimited number of structured or unstructured data inputs regardless of data format.




                                            ©2005 X1 Technologies, Inc.
Search Technology: User-Focused Relevance

Just as user-centric search does not seek to recreate existing storage systems, it leverages third-party
applications for locating the most relevant data in an organization.

A relevance algorithm provides a sorting order – from most relevant to least relevant – for a set of indexed
content. The new approach does not provide any relevance algorithms out of the box. Instead, user-centric
interfaces are relevance engine/algorithm agnostic, integrating multiple third-party and end-user defined
relevance functions on-the-fly.



Search Technology: Security

All large organizations require security features on their data storage and retrieval systems. Many enterprise
and government agencies are more and more mandated by law to use data systems with robust permissions
management. The new approach to information retrieval will not require additional design, configuration,
or administration of a new security infrastructure. Rather, they will leverage the existing permission infra-
structure already in place, including Active Directory permissions that are centrally maintained and familiar
to system administrators.



3.0 After the Search
Task Oriented Search

In many cases, an information system’s search functionality simply discovers if the requested information
exists at all. Rarely can users act upon retrieved items immediately, without a “two-handed” cut-and-paste
operation, or even worse, having to jot down the ID number and switch screens to retrieve the item.

In the new world of information retrieval, users will save time and work smarter by going to a single search
interface to both initiate the search and complete the task.


Sharing the Search: Query-Defined Virtual Dynamic Groups

Another unique, powerful feature of user-centric information retrieval technology is the possibility of virtual
classification and the capability of easily sharing virtual classification between workstations and users.

A user can refine a query and then store that query, rather than the query results. The stored query then acts
as a virtual, dynamic grouping of information: virtual because the system does not tag the actual items in
order to group them and dynamic because as additional information is entered into the system in real-time
or data items age and are removed from consideration, the result set continuously updates itself.

Stored queries are saved as files that can be shared easily with other users via the network and through
email. Users share information by sharing how to find it, rather than by trying to move the information
itself – collaboration by information referencing, rather than by information sharing.




                                              ©2005 X1 Technologies, Inc.
4.0 Benefits for the Enterprise
What do all of these user-focused features add up to for
businesses and government organizations, their IT managers,
and their employees?

         1. A new user-centric approach in KM will support faster
            response times, especially in times of crisis. Finding,                            The X1® Solution
            making sense of, and acting on information will                                    X1’s desktop search model is not based on an ever-
            accelerate greatly across the organization.                                        expanding taxonomy of existing data, but rather the
         2. Business processes no longer require being at the office.                          intelligent indexing and searching of a company’s
            New platforms support access from anywhere, via                                    data no matter where it is stored and no matter
                                                                                               whether it’s organized or not.
            secure and reliable mobile, web & client interfaces
            centered around the employee.
                                                                                               X1 Works Like You Do,
         3. Business requirements now drive technology solutions,                              Not the Other Way Around
            rather than the other way around. User-focused KM
            gets business done faster.                                                         The X1 desktop search model recognizes the central
                                                                                               truth that the traditional KM and enterprise search
         4. User-centric solutions provide state-of-the-art,                                   solution does not: people work in different ways,
            extensible and flexible information infrastructure.                                with various organization skills. They generally seek
            They can accommodate legacy, existing, and future data                             the shortest way between Point A and Point B
            sources and can adapt to a variety of sources without                              irrespective of the “approved” path, and all knowl-
            requiring costly data transformations.                                             edge workers have too much information and not
                                                                                               enough time to find it and make sense out of it.
         5. Search-based interfaces allow for management and
            search of the user’s most immediate work (files on local
            PC and in emails).                                                                 X1’s Next Generation
                                                                                               Customizable Search Interface:
         6. User-centric technologies mean less work for the IT
                                                                                                 • Returns entire data set of matching items
            group in managing an ever-increasing array of silos.
                                                                                                   (not a page at a time)
         7. User-centric approaches to KM will be less expensive in
                                                                                                 • Allows random access to any element in the
            every aspect because they require less effort to manage,                               results data set (top, bottom, anywhere
            train and deploy.                                                                      in-between, not just a list of 20 at a time)
Focusing on end-user features with search-based interfaces can                                   • Provides high-fidelity previews of any data
offer significant benefits to enterprises, their employees, and                                    item without opening the underlying native
their IT managers.                                                                                 application (not a 30 word extract and you
                                                                                                   don’t have to download the item and load the
                                                                                                   native application to simply view the item)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                 • Allows real-time modification (add, delete,
                                                                                                   change, etc.) of multiple search parameters
Dejan Nenov, VP of Engineering                                                                     with instantaneous recalculation of results set
Dejan is a veteran entrepreneur and technologist who has held management positions
with leading Silicon Valley and International technology firms. From 2002 to 2004, as VP       X1 Frees the IT Department
                                                                                               from Expensive KM Applications
Wireless Messaging and VP Engineering at Intellisync (Pumatech), he managed the inte-
gration and offshore development aspects of multiple acquisitions and the development          Because X1’s desktop search platform eliminates
of the Intellisync phone products. As a founder and CEO of Jolly Object Software LLC,          the need for locating, organizing, and aggregating
he funded and launched EZtearsheets, a newspaper and ad agency ad management                   data across the enterprise, much of an organiza-
system and worked with Norwegian directory integration startup Metamerge, acquired by          tion’s IT department resources are freed from the
                                                                                               management tasks normally required of KM systems
IBM / Tivoli in 2001. As a CTO at Instill Corporation, Dejan developed patent-pending
                                                                                               and enterprise search solutions.
technologies in the area of trading partner integration, data analysis and data warehous-
ing, which today handle a unified system of over 2,000 physical locations and analyze          ------------------------------------------------------
over $10B in foodservice transactions. Dejan holds a B.SC. degree in Computer
                                                                                               For more information about X1’s platform and
Engineering from Rose-Hulman and an International Baccalaureate form the Armand                products, please contact Enterprise Sales at
Hammer United World College.                                                                   (626) 229-3050, or go to www.x1.com.




                                                              ©2005 X1 Technologies, Inc.

				
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