Smartlogic recently released a new version of its Semaphore software, which took home the 2011 European Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation Award. Version 3.3 adds new semantically-rich features, but the company itself has been shifting its strategy to talk about its solution less as the enterprise semantic platform and more as a content intelligence platform for identifying, classifying, extracting, analyzing and utilizing hard-to-find information from among unstructured assets in existing information management systems like Microsoft SharePoint.
Why? According to marketing VP Maya Natarajan, it’s an in to better customer access. “Whenever you think of the word semantic, there’s such a small percentage of the population that understands what it is,” she says. “But amazingly the uptake for content intelligence is so great. People immediately understand that so much quicker” — that is, she says, that content intelligence describes all the business reasons and benefits for deploying an enterprise semantic platform.
Another way to make the virtues of content intelligence even more obvious: Smartlogic is planning to introduce prebuilt starter taxonomies to kickstart the process in some vertical sectors. Meanwhile, Version 3.3 has brought to its customers features that still proclaim its semantic heritage, including a semantic visualization tool.
“This is a massive step for us,” she says. “It’s taken the product to another level.” With the tool, users can click on a topic to visually see all its associated topics rather than wade through a table. For instance, the screen below shows all the associations for NASA astronaut Buzz Aldren, and from there users can visually explore relationships to those topics, as well.
Associated with the semantic visualization tool is an ontology review tool, says Natarajan. As an example, a subject matter expert may know that Apollo 11 is related to Apollo 13, but that information hasn’t yet made its way into the enterprise’s ontology. “You can actually add those things in independently,” she says. “It lets you provide feeedback to the taxonomy or ontology that is created so the organization can label its information assets very, very clearly.”
These days, most of Smartlogic’s customer base are invested in Microsoft’s SharePoint content management system. FAST Search Server 2010 for Sharepoint is an option beyond SharePoint’s native search for creating metadata directly from content, but Semaphore further enhances things by improving the metadata quality as well as accurately and consistently applying metadata and classification to the search engine capability, Natarajan says. “We also provide an ontology-driven solution so we use a taxonomy to really, really improve search or improve findability,” she says.
The company last year sponsored independent research by MindMetre that it said indicates that, while Microsoft SharePoint is emerging as the industry standard for content management, the most effective SharePoint-based solutions tend to combine the platform’s powerful capabilities with specialist applications that can improve the end-user experience and fill gaps in functionality. According to that study, “ SharePoint is not and never will be an application that companies can simply take out of the box and plug in for a complete solution.”
Semaphore has yet to incorporate into the platform capabilities it acquired with its acquisition of SchemaLogic last fall. Says Natarajan, “There are some interesting aspects to the SchemaLogic product that we are in the process of integrating. That has not yet happened, but it will be happening.” She declined to provide further details at this point.