Data Management

Endeca Forms Partnership with Consultant Kalypso

22 Jan, 2009 By: Kenneth Wong

Search technology designed to enhance PLM systems.

With its new partnership with Endeca, consultant firm Kalypso is expected to help its clients reduce database blind spots.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Endeca offers sophisticated search functions through its Information Access Platform (IAP). Its client list boasts iconic names like Dell, Ford, Hyatt, and Wal-Mart. Last week, the company announced a strategic partnership with Kalypso "to bolster engineering, product design and product lifecycle management (PLM)-related initiatives for clients by providing cutting-edge technology to locate and manage information … in ways not possible with today's common CAD, PDM/PLM-only toolkit."

Kalypso offers PLM-related services that encompass strategy, system selection, implementation, integration, and optimization. "We have not only worked with all of the leading PLM providers, we have first-hand knowledge of the software applications and how they are unique," the company claims.

Guided Navigation
According to Endeca, most search technologies based on relational databases can answer questions such as "What was the sales close rate last quarter?" or "Is John Smith's resume on file?" but they fall short in resolving inquiries such as "How can I consolidate purchasing?" or "Who should I staff on this project?"

As an alternative, Endeca offers what it describes as "guided navigation" or "guided summarization," which reduces the search to a series of category-based browsing. For example, the search for an oil rig replacement might run: couplings > threaded couplings  > desired diameter range  > marine use  > preferred materials  > preferred suppliers. Watch Endeca's video clip here.

Endeca delivers search functions through what it calls guided navigation.

Depending on the scope of the project, the number of databases involved, and the indexing task required, an Endeca implementation can cost from $150,000 to multiple millions. Endeca also offers a Software as a Service (SaaS) option called Endeca On-Demand, delivered through its partnership with Thanx Media, an e-commerce solutions provider. But currently this option is limited to the retail industry.

Recently, Endeca launched two products aimed at manufacturing: Design for Supply and Spend Analysis. With Design for Supply, businesses can integrate part, material, and supplier data from internal and external sources, both structured and unstructured, into its search platform. Spend Analysis lets businesses identify cost savings via analytical graphs and charts, powered by aggregated information from disparate databases.

"We're considering [SaaS licensing] for these and a number of our solutions," said Ric Zaenglein, global lead for manufacturing at Endeca. "But for the foreseeable future, for the next two to three quarters, we'll be only doing behind-the-firewall deployment. The reason for that is, many of the deployments taking place right now are part of broader enterprise-visibility initiatives."

Endeca's manufacturing-specific solutions are Design for Supply and Spend Analysis.

Searchable Lifecycles
Leading PLM software suppliers have long recognized that robust search functions could reduce manufacturing cost by encouraging design reuse. In 2006, Siemens (operating as UGS at the time) acquired 3D Geometric Shape Search technology from a German firm called Software Design & Management AG. The outcome is Geolus Search, a search engine that allows engineers to use an existing part's geometry as a reference to look for similar parts.

In June 2007, Dassault Systemes, makers of CATIA, signed an agreement with Autonomy to provide conceptual search capacities in its ENOVIA PLM platform. Describing its technology, Autonomy writes, "[It] identifies the patterns that naturally occur in text, voice, or video files based on the usage and frequency of terms that correspond to specific concepts. By studying the preponderance of one pattern over another, Autonomy's technology understands that there is X% probability that the content in question deals with a specific subject."

For more on this topics, read "Intelligence Beyond the Known Universe", April 1, 2007.