Enterprise search vendors have spent much of the past year digesting acquisitions and stabilizing their offerings, according to new research from CMS Watch, an independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies. While in the past, search and information access technology buyers faced vendors and technology both undergoing rapid change, the choices are now more stable.

"Stability in the search technology market hasn’t brought about serious consolidation, but we've finally arrived at a point where there's plenty of easy-to-install and relatively well-performing solutions," points out Adriaan Bloem, Analyst for The Search & Information Access Report 2009.

Some signs of the stabilizing search market include:

  • Microsoft spent much of the past year honing and recently debuting a new strategy for its multiple search offerings, including Microsoft Office SharePoint Search and FAST ESP, while the products themselves changed little.
  • Many vendors' new features added in the last year are well-tested and licensed content type filters, connectors or natural language processing components from third parties.
  • Few search vendors debuted major releases in the last six months, instead choosing to focus on refining existing offerings and improving marketing.

"Some may see these developments as a sign that search technology is stagnating or that vendors are innovating less, and in some ways that’s true," added CMS Watch Principal, Theresa Regli. "But like so many other companies in this economy, search vendors have become more risk-averse and are focusing on stabilizing what they have and selling smarter. That's why we have few vendors in the upper quadrants of the chart."
The Search & Information Access Report 2009 provides a comprehensive overview of 23 search technology products and identifies current best practices. The report is available for purchase online from CMS Watch.

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