Google, one of the premier free-form search engines on the planet, may be getting a little skittish about the Microsoft Longhorn project. Google wants to unleash its search technology on the enterprise and on the desktop, but with Longhorn, Microsoft plans to have that capability built into its operating system and its new file system. Is free-form searching really the next battleground? Or is bringing together two needles in a haystack of information really the holy grail of search technology?

In the new category of enterprise software called business performance management (BPM), bringing together the worlds of structured and unstructured data can add significant value to the enterprise. BPM fosters new levels of corporate accountability, financial rigor and tangible value creation across the distributed global organization. It is driven by the imperative to align internal and external constituencies with business objectives through real-time availability and continuous exchange of financial, transactional and operational information. Effectively implemented, BPM enables enterprises to better shape and influence business outcomes by improving the caliber and speed of decision making. With it, executives can anticipate and respond to shifting market dynamics, intelligently allocate and utilize critical resources and consistently meet management and shareholder expectations.

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