REVIEWER: Eric Platow, director of Product Engineering for LexisNexis.
BACKGROUND: LexisNexis is a leading provider of information and business solutions to professionals in a variety of areas - legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic. A member of Reed Elsevier Group plc, LexisNexis provides customers with access to 5 billion searchable documents from more than 32,000 legal, news and business sources.
PLATFORMS: Windows Server (32, 64-bit), Red Hat Linux (32, 64-bit), Solaris, VMware.
PROBLEM SOLVED: As part of its strategy to provide legal professionals with a complete set of total practice solutions for the business and practice of law, LexisNexis began work on atVantage in 2006. LexisNexis atVantage is a prospecting tool that helps clients make better business development decisions. It provides detailed information on companies historical and current litigation and financial transaction activities, law firm representation and trends by practice, as well as up-to-the-minute research on market and industry trends, current litigation, news, M&A activity, deals and analyst reports. Built on the Endeca Information Access Platform (IAP), atVantage integrates four data sets - three internal and one external - that can be explored and analyzed. These combined sources provide insight into 43 million public and privately held companies and 1,200 industries. It is designed to support aggressive expansion and scalability demands around new and constantly changing data sources. The user experience offers business intelligence (BI), search and navigation capabilities, as well as charting tools, giving it more of a dashboard look and feel, while allowing for exploratory ad hoc analysis by novice users.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Endeca IAP integrates differing data and content of varying structure. It maintains relationships across this information and applies security permissions from the originating systems. It offers a user experience that allows people to explore, browse and filter complex collections of information and see summaries of aggregate information in interactive lists, tables, charts, graphs and other common visual summaries. These capabilities make it possible to bring atVantage to a wide audience of business users without the need for training on ad hoc querying tools. atVantage customers can easily conduct a range of previously complex analyses that bring together contextually related information from different sources. Endeca uses a flexible data model that can incorporate different schemas, simplifying and speeding the addition of new content types.
STRENGTHS: Endecas flexible architecture makes it easy to pull together disparate information sources and provides for the simple addition of new content sources without the data modeling hurdles and costs associated with more traditional BI architectures. Its user experience capabilities were originally designed for high-traffic consumer media and e-commerce sites where training is not an option; thus, if a user can use the Web, they can use Endeca. It offers the speed and performance characteristics of search engines but offers both indexing and querying capabilities not possible with search or database alternatives.
WEAKNESSES: Endeca does not include out-of-the-box user interfaces or out-of-the-box reports/key performance indicators, as it is designed for exploratory analysis. At present, it does not offer the ability to write back to underlying data sources.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Endecas software was chosen after a product evaluation that included database, BI and search options, as well as discussions with other business units within LexisNexis that had been using Endeca for other applications.
DELIVERABLES: The Endeca IAP allowed LexisNexis to create new value from existing information investments by introducing a successful revenue-generating service and a key point of competitive differentiation. It enables LexisNexis customers to make faster and more accurate business development decisions by combining unstructured text with structured data in a single solution. It helps law firms to grow revenue by identifying cross-selling opportunities within their existing client base, find and qualify new prospective clients, and/or make the best informed decisions about expanding into new markets.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Endeca has been very responsive with all support issues.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is clear and is complemented online with other developer forums within the Endeca Developer Network portal.
Endeca Information Access Platform
101 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
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