It seems like everywhere you go these days, end users want to have more intelligence about the business. But the question that seems to be coming up more often is if there is a difference between what end users are actually asking for and what IT is giving them.
When IT staff hear a request for more intelligence about the business, their minds naturally flow toward business intelligence applications. But more often than not, BI applications are empty shells until somebody first puts some structured data in the application and then models that data in a way that can be consumed.
As valuable as that data might be, increasingly it's becoming more apparent that end users are looking for information about the business, and most of that information is located in unstructured data. So the question that arises is, are end users really just looking for a way to first centralize all the information available to them and then search it for relevancy?
In the bad old days, we use to refer to these as knowledge management systems, which as a concept never really seemed to get any real mainstream traction no matter how much we talked about it. Now there is a new approach called the Zoogma Intelligence Platform from Cormine Intelligent Data that does two interesting things. First, Zoogma automates the collection of information by leveraging Web services to find all the unstructured content that exists in blogs, articles, patent filings or any other public source and aggregates it in one place. Second, Zoogma provides a proprietary search engine to make it possible to easily search that new custom archive.
Zoogma may ultimately be a slightly more handy way of organizing content than using something such as Autonomy or any other enterprise search tool. But what is clear is that there is a hunger for useful information, not just data, in the bellies of end users that is leading us to reevaluate how we think about enterprise applications.
Going forward, that means IT organizations are going to be judged not so much by how well they manage the data, but rather how good a job they did using structured approaches to content that serve to expose the valuable intelligence buried in both unstructured and structured data.