The mission every CIO should hold true is to make information easily accessible to every person in the workforce and to the business value chain of partners, suppliers and customers for improving business processes and resulting outcomes. This demand has been the driving force of enterprise-wide technology investments and has begun to transform the industry into a technology category called information applications (See: “Information Applications: New Generation of Information Technologies “).

One vendor that has been working to meeting this need is Mark Logic who has grown rapidly over recent years with over 200 customers advancing their sophistication in making information readily available in business specific applications.

So what does Mark Logic do? They provide information infrastructure with a platform and toolset called MarkLogic Server using XML as a foundation to access, store, index, search, analyze and assemble content and text into specific applications. Inside of Mark Logic is a sophisticated implementation of a XML-based database and server with connectors, security and a portfolio of application services for assembly, library access and search into content easily for the needs of specific applications. This content is the container for embedding text and other forms of data that are part of any organization's documentation, books, reports, policies and procedures and business information, which should be easily found through search and navigation. This is also the reference point for where structured data is called into content when needed and does not have to require someone to go and find it in traditional business intelligence type tools that make information disparate and not unified. There is much more to the capabilities for those looking to get really technically deep as I have found in interacting with the Mark Logic team.

For many applications, Mark Logic provides a very sophisticated search interface to specific text within a broad range of content for reducing the time to needed information. Most useful is that Mark Logic has embraced geographic markup languages to also make searching on the proximity and area easily accomplished. This expanded approach to what I call Location Intelligence is quite useful for presenting information location and context of information within content. Mark Logic also realizes the importance of mobility and need to search and provide alerts on information as part of their assembled applications. All of this provides the means to have very robust information applications based on the requirements of the users or consumers.

While Mark Logic has been aggressively growing in the government, education and digital media industries where they have been dominating the attention of the industry, they have gone well beyond this into the travel, software and financial services industries. This has clearly made an impact, which cause Oracle to put out a competitive paper in response. Oracle is publicly promoting the paper while Mark Logic responded in kind with their "Stick to the Facts" information that repudiates all the Oracle claims.

Much of the Oracle claims appear to be making scattered shots at older version of their technology even at the time of publishing in November 2009. The reality is that Mark Logic technology approach to solving serious application needs by using W3C XQuery language and bringing together information, business and presentation logic into one server. I guess Oracle must have lost some large opportunities to spend the time to build a competitive attack white paper. All of this is clearly why Mark Logic is a vendor to watch as its technology and deploying are creating some disturbance that is not just fun but transformational to see how ‘David as Mark Logic and seasoned CEO David Kellogg’ is taking on ‘Goliath who is Oracle’ in this segment of XML based information technology. Of course Oracle is not the only one eyeing this market with IBM and Microsoft coming to bear with their own approaches and specialized providers such as Endeca and even Actuate getting drawn into varying types of information application deployments.

Mark Logic is not sitting still as they announced the availability of their platform available in the cloud computing environment utilizing Amazon EC2 and VMware environments. This step forward dramatically simplifies the ability to cycle up their platform and assemble information applications within a short period of time without the hassle of getting the hardware and resources to configure it internally. This will make it easy for anyone to gain access to the technology and get started enabling Mark Logic to get drawn into more information application opportunities. If you do not believe it, go see their cloud computing center yourself.

The market for information applications is heating up and the demand is coming from line-of-business and vertical industries, which is why our firm has started a new technology focus and research on information applications to accelerate the market through fact-based research and insight to help organization examine how they can improve. We will shortly formally launch this business technology segment after a year of analysis in 2009 along with years of requirements and demand by business and IT professionals looking for a simpler way for making information availability a reality. I hope you take note as it is not often that a new technology category comes to market and a vendor that brings a fresh new approach to solving a business wide need in a simple and logical manner.

Mark Smith also blogs at ventanaresearch.com/blog.