Siderean CEO Michael Schmitt calls it “dirty returns.” That’s what happens when an enterprise search brings up unwanted information. For workers relying on searches to find essential information, dirty returns waste a lot of valuable time.
There is an overload of data out there, and information keeps on coming from every direction. With all that’s available, users need to figure out how to find the specific information they want. “Text search simply isn’t good enough,” says Schmitt. “With all the convergence, workers aren’t finding the information they need.”
To combat this, Siderean has developed a relational navigation approach using its own information platform system, Seamark. “Seamark uses semantic word principles rather than mathematical logarithms,” says Schmitt. “It is discovery searching.”
Seamark is built around three basic principles: relationship, context, and participation. It all begins with the relationship between what the user wants and the result; Seamark takes content and allows users to discover information that relates to their needs. The context of the results then allows users to decide what additional information, or revised search path, they may require.
The participation component is a particularly interesting one, as Siderean’s search solutions incorporate user participation to enhance the quality of results, including tagging, reviewing, and ranking capabilities. As company founder and CTO Brad Allen puts it, “Participation is a critical value and Siderean’s patented relational navigation solution sets a new standard that will be a key component for those organizations looking to adopt Web 2.0 ideals in order to stay relevant.”
Text-matching searches are good, says Schmitt, but they aren’t always complete. Relational navigation, on the other hand, is based on graphs of relationships between different pockets of information. And this, Schmitt adds, is what allows for a true “discovery experience.” The information found through a search is pertinent, but the way Siderean delivers it also allows for exploration of similar documents that wouldn’t have been revealed in a typical text search.
One thing that distinguishes enterprise search from web search is that the latter relies on the popularity of keywords and the number of times a document is viewed. In businesses, documents may only be looked at occasionally and probably aren’t peppered with searchable words and phrases, yet neither factor is indicative of their potential value. Thus, an employee could waste hours searching for desired documents using traditional search tools.
However, workers accustomed to the way popular web search engines work want a similar experience inside the enterprise. Companies have caught on to that concept and are now willing to blend business and IT aspects. Relational navigation is an important step in that direction because it provides a similar experience, but with more relevant results.
Schmitt proudly points to a few impressive Siderean clients to illuminate the power of its search tools. “Oracle couldn’t anticipate what its users would be looking for,” he says. Now, Oracle uses Siderean’s applications as a common layer that analyzes search feedback to determine what users are looking for, in order to better meet their needs.
Another customer, Environmental Health News, scours more than 3,000 newsfeeds a day for relevant content. Standard keyword searches were almost useless; they missed a lot of essential information, meaning that users couldn’t find the data they needed or easily share content with interested groups. Using Seamark Navigator and MAPP applications, Siderean was able to create search mechanisms for Environmental Health News that better automated the process. Editorial time was cut by 90%, which allowed for an increase in the daily summaries the organization provides.
“Our technology does the heavy lifting for companies,” says Schmitt.
Schmitt believes relational navigation is an essential tool for real search discovery, but finding information is only part of the goal. Schmitt says that with more effective search, “Productivity will improve. There will be a greater level of customer satisfaction. And it will improve the partner-supplier relationship.”
Siderean’s relational navigation application has been described as the ability to first “see at a bird’s eye perspective” before winnowing the material to “a bug’s eye level.” It allows users to see the scope of pertinent information and then investigate the possibilities. Siderean, Schmitt says, has a compelling promise to help users master discovery.
Fun Fact: Siderean’s engineers play golf together every Thursday evening.