Tag Archive for: IBM

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Why It’s Cool to be a Cool Vendor

 

With EasyAsk being acknowledged as a Cool Vendor for 2012, I figured it would be a good idea to give you some insight into why it’s cool.  So let’s take a look at a couple of past winners.

In 2011, Bazaarvoice was acknowledged as a Cool Vendor.  Bazaarvoice is a multinational internet marketing company that specializes in user-generated content through customer reviews.  It has become one of the largest social marketing companies in the world, with over 500 customers including: Best Buy, Macy’s, Costco., and Home Depot.  Bazaarvoice recently went public in February of 2012, and their present market cap is just under $1 Billion! Pretty cool . . .

Also in 2011, Instagram was acknowledged as a Cool Vendor. Instagram is a free photo-sharing program for social networking services. You’ll find photos all over Twitter and Facebook that are launched through Instagram. In fact, this program, which was only launched in October of 2010, was recently (April of 2012) acquired by Facebook for $1 Billion in cash and stock. With over 30 million accounts, you can see why the social media giant wanted to snatch them up.  Very cool!

Previously Splunk was named a Cool Vender. Splunk, according to their site “makes machine data accessible, usable and valuable to everyone.” And as of April 2012, they are the first Big Data company to go public, with over 3,500 customers in more than 75 countries.  That’s cool on a global scale . . .

Another former recipient, SugarCRM, is the fastest growing CRM provider on the planet, and was selected in 2011 as an IBM Global Alliance Partner for Cloud Services. They launched their own convention, SugarCon in 2007, and it is a show that has garnered more and more attendance as the years go by.  They also happen to be a partner of EasyAsk.  Now that’s beyond Cool, it’s Ice Cold…

In 2010, Jigsaw was acknowledged as a Cool Vendor. Jigsaw is a prospecting tool used by sales professionals, marketers and recruiters to get fresh and accurate sales leads and business contact information.  With a directory of more than 30 million business contacts, Jigsaw has quickly proven to be a very useful asset.  So much so, that Salesforce.com acquired them for $142 million.  I’ve used it myself countless times to get accurate contact information. SalesForce, hmm? … cool.

And now it’s our turn.  EasyAsk, the leader in Natural Language technology, being acknowledged as 2012 Cool Vendor.

EasyAsk recognized that Natural Language goes beyond the limits of Keyword. (something Google is now discovering, by the way)  And we have used this technology to help over 300 customers, applying it to e-commerce, business data and have recently used it to design Quiri, a Voice-Enabled Natural Language mobile app for Corporate Data.  Imagine Apple’s Siri, but for business.  It’s that easy and that revolutionary.

So… Why is it cool to be a Cool Vendor?  Well, one of the best ways to predict the future is to look at the past. With companies like the ones mentioned above, EasyAsk has certainly found itself in some cool company. To read more about EasyAsk becoming a Cool Vendor, click here or here.

One thing is for sure.  We think Gartner has excellent vision and is pretty cool!

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EasyAsk Named Cool Vendor

It is always great to be considered Cool.  But that is usually a personal distinction.  Now Cool is an attribute given to software vendors such as EasyAsk.

EasyAsk is proud to announce that we have been included in the list of “Cool Vendors” in the ‘Cool Vendors in Analytics and Business Intelligence, 2012’* report by Gartner, Inc.  We feel this is an accomplishment due to our products, our team, and most of all our customers.

As we look at our market position today, EasyAsk has dramatically expanded its solution footprint and customer reach in the past 12 months.  Direct sales to customers have grown.  We’ve forged new solution partnerships with IBM Big Insights and SugarCRM while expanding our partnerships with Infor and NetSuite.  We have also more than doubled the number of channel partners we work with, including our distribution partnership with BrainSell in the SugarCRM market.

Our eCommerce edition product continues to be the clear solution leader in e-commerce search, navigation and merchandising.  No other vendor can come close to performing the long-tail natural language searches that EasyAsk does, nor can any vendor make merchandising as easy to use as EasyAsk.

And our new Quiri product is revolutionizing the way people use mobile devices and mobile corporate applications.  Quiri is the only solution on the market that provides Siri-like voice-enabled natural language tools that work with your corporate data and applications.

Thank you, Gartner.  And a special thank you to our customers and partners.

 

*  Gartner “Cool Vendors in Analytics and Business Intelligence, 2012” by Bill Gassman, Douglas Laney, Andreas Bitterer, David Newman, Rita L. Sallam, James Richardson, 27 April 2012

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

 

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EasyAsk Brings Intelligence and Control Lucene/Solr Can’t Touch

Lucene/Solr is great for developers that enjoy tinkering with code as if it’s DNA and you’re working on the Captain America Super-Soldier Serum. But what if you don’t have the time or resources? What if you’re a company that cannot afford the manpower or hours needed to work on the open-source, Java-based search library? What if… what you need is a rich, mature product with the most accurate search engine on the planet?

Apache Lucene, for those who are unclear on the difference, is the library and Apache Solr is a layer of code on top of Lucene that turns it into a search platform, adding management and website APIs that are tailored for e-commerce. With Lucene/Solr you get a basic search engine, that requires a large IT staff or an army of consultants. It takes a lot of time, experience and troubleshooting to get the results you’re hoping for.

But let’s say you’ve outgrown the basic search functionality, or get frustrated having to build everything you need. And you’ve noticed how the e-commerce community has shifted to mobile sites with voice-recognition, and the abilities of open-source seem more and more limited. So wouldn’t you be tired of continuing to compete with every other e-commerce company that is trying to do the same thing with the same keyword-hampered technology? Why wouldn’t you want to stand out from the pack?

Where Lucene/Solr falls short, EasyAsk excels.

Companies like IBM, Magento, NetSuite, Infor and more have partnered with EasyAsk for a reason. The powerful Natural Language search-box and easy-to-use merchandising tools allow you to perform tasks a keyword-based software (Lucene/Solr) can’t even dream of. The intuitive site-search, dynamic navigation, and merchandising software utilizes Natural Language to increase conversion rates. It understands the intent of the search and delivers faster, more accurate results than keyword or navigation-driven softwares. The limitations you find with Lucene/Solr are simply not found with EasyAsk.

From understanding numeric units, to intelligent term relaxation, to merchandising capabilities like: Cross-Sell/Up-Sell promotions, EasyAsk has proven to bring something to the table that Lucene and Solr just can’t touch. Not to mention with EasyAsk you’re a step ahead of the game.

Take a quick look around and see which direction the technological world is headed. IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, Nuance’s Dragon-Go, Panasonic’s Smart-TVs, and many more have all made the jump to a Natural Language Processing engine. It’s just a smarter way to connect with your customers.

And EasyAsk has been a leader in Natural Language for over a decade.

For example, on an EasyAsk-powered site, you can use your iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for. Go to Lands’ End’s site on your phone, type-in or speak a product you’d like to see and a price constraint (i.e. Black Sleeveless Dresses for under $100) and see for yourself how powerful EasyAsk is. You’re not going to find that functionality with an open-source, keyword-based software.

Also the EasyAsk Commerce Studio puts the power back in the hands of the merchandiser. Want to add a new brand for your site, or cross-sell a couple of items? No problem, it literally takes a minute. To see what I’m talking about click here.

Look, if you want to keep trying to reinvent the wheel, go right ahead. But if you’re tired of sputtering in a Model-T and you’d rather upgrade to a search that’s better, the wave of the future, comes with merchandising capabilities that Lucene/Solr just can’t match, come take a look at EasyAsk, the Search That Means Business.

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Siri-Cized Sites With Voice-Enabled Mobile Shopping? EasyAsk Customers Are Already There

The technological world seems to be making a shift. It began with those three days in February 2011, when IBM’s Watson computer competed on Jeopardy! (By the way, the natural language super-computer trounced the shows two biggest champions!) And culminated with Apple releasing Siri in their latest model of cell phone, the iPhone 4S on October 14th, 2011.

You can feel the buzz in the air, a change in the winds, that a paradigm-shift is coming. The ability to tell your electronics what to do.

So wouldn’t it make sense that this same technology could be used by everyday consumers to shop on their smart-phones? Isn’t it logical, that the next step will be the ability to use this natural language technology to search and purchase items on your favorite website? That this technology would improve user experience, retention and increase conversion rates? Wouldn’t you want your favorite sites to be Siri-cized?

Well, if you’re a client of EasyAsk, this power is already at your fingertips… err… voice-box.

EasyAsk-powered sites such as: Lands’ End, Harbor Freight Tools, J. Jill, True Value and Coldwater Creek, are already Siri-cized. Customers of these and other EasyAsk clients can use their iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for their products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they are looking for.

Now, I hear the nay-sayers, griping about the times that Siri doesn’t work as well as they want. First of all, Siri is cutting-edge technology, so of course it’s still working out a few of the kinks. But here’s where EasyAsk differs. With Siri, the options are so varied, it’s difficult for the software to search through the entire Internet to find the right answer every time. With EasyAsk, the data needed is pulled from the company’s product catalogue. So, if you’re on Lands’ End, you’re going to be searching for items Lands’ End is known for having, like swimwear, shoes, luggage, etc. If you’re on Harbor Freight Tools, you’re going to search for items they’re known for having; air compressors, engines, toolboxes or various tools. EasyAsk understands the context of your request and retrieves the right product on the first page.

This isn’t the future; it’s the present. EasyAsk sites are and have been ahead of the game, because EasyAsk has been mastering Natural Language for over a decade. Feel free to find out more here.

So go ahead, grab your iPhone 4S or Android 2.1, jump on Lands’ End and get ready for summer by shopping for a new bathing suit or try True Value and order that new grill you’ve been waiting for. It’s as simple tapping the search box, tapping the microphone, and saying what you’re looking for.

Welcome to the future.

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Oracle Buys Endeca – Another E-Commerce Software Company to Vanish?

Endeca goes to Oracle. Now that is big news. I’ve read nine articles analyzing the acquisition and they all paint the same picture: good news for Oracle’s BI solutions; an enhanced Oracle BI architecture with Endeca’s ability to integrate unstructured data; new functionality for Oracle BI in analyzing data from Hadoop.

The consensus is clear: the Endeca acquisition was driven by the need for Oracle to expand its BI solutions and have more offerings to sell to existing Oracle customers.

But does anyone remember when Endeca was an e-commerce search company? What about that segment of their customer base? What should Endeca e-commerce customers expect?

The acquisition news is fresh, so there is little solid information beyond a few comments expecting an integration of Endeca’s search and merchandizing with Oracle’s ATG platform. Does this imply that ATG will become the primary, or even only e-commerce platform which Endeca supports? Where does this leave customers using Endeca with other e-commerce platforms (WebSphere, Magento, others)? With all the focus on the BI aspect of this announcement, I’m not sure anyone knows the answer. . . yet!

What I can tell you is this – Endeca e-commerce customers should not be surprised if they’re treated as second-class citizens. A recent study by Computer Economics found that “42% of Oracle (ORCL) customers are dissatisfied with the quality of Oracle’s support while 58% are dissatisfied with the cost of the support.” And that was for traditional Oracle customers! What about Endeca customers coming into the fold? What about Endeca SaaS customers? Who knows?

What I can tell you for certain is that EasyAsk believes in customer satisfaction. Or as Ford Motors used to say it is ‘JOB 1’. Since we spun EasyAsk from Progress Software back in ’09, we’ve made sure our ALL our customers know how important they are to us and how committed we are to making them successful.

Providing the very best search and merchandizing technology is what EasyAsk is all about. We can deploy in a fraction of the time it takes for a traditional Endeca site and typically ¼ the costs.

Our natural language based search provides dramatically better results, while our merchandizing tools are so intuitive and easy to use you can return control of your e-commerce merchandizing to the experts – your merchandizers.

This is why NetSuite, Magento and Infor were excited to partner with EasyAsk. We provide IBM Watson-like natural language functionality that is intuitive and optimized for customers and end users. With EasyAsk powering you search, when a visitor searches for a product they get the right result the first time, every time.

Congratulations to Endeca on their sale to Oracle. I’m sure they knocked it out of the park. Congratulations to Endeca’s investors and to their employees.

For Endeca’s e-commerce customers however, this might be a different story. If you are looking for best of breed search technology, remember that EasyAsk is here for you too.

Thanks for listening,
Craig

Ready to see how EasyAsk's eCommerce solution can help you? Request a demo!