Sunday, August 24, 2008

Search Vendors adding Spend Analysis capabilities

Jason Busch in his Spend Matters blog recently wrote about enterprise search vendor Endeca possibly entering Spend Analysis market ( In my opinion this is just another example of collision of Search and Business Intelligence markets. BI vendors were already applying BI toolkits to Spend Analysis and now Search vendors are also following them into Spend Analysis.
The worlds of Search and traditional Business Intelligence are merging. BI vendors are adding search features and search vendors are pushing the envelope for reporting & analytics. For example, ad hoc reporting can be better implemented by apply parametric search coupled with charting & graphing.

It will be interesting. Historically, Spend Analysis always included reporting & analytics components but advanced search and data mining capabilities can make spend analysis much more powerful and actionable. It will be worth watching not only Endeca but also other search vendors like Autonomy, Fast Search & Transfer (now owned by Microsoft), and even Google.

Search vendors can also leverage their technologies into Spend Processing which is essentially a prerequisite to Spend Analysis. In fact, quite often Spend Analysis vendors will bundle Spend Processing with Spend Analysis. To perform a meaningful ranking of search results, Search vendors have developed various algorithmic approaches such as K nearest neighbor for pattern recognition classifier, Bayesian for probabilistic learning classifier, different weights for different words for Vector Space classifier. Those intellectual properties and techniques can be effectively applied towards elements of Spend Processing such as spend classification, supplier de-duplication, spend clustering, etc. Thus, I would expect that search vendors will play an increasingly important role in Spend Analysis.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What is next for Google? (Google in the Enterprise)

Everybody keeps asking “Where Does Google Go Next?” Google is working on many fronts. There are very high profile initiatives such as “Open Social” for interoperability between various Social Networks, and “Android” for mobile phones. For me because of my interest in enterprise software, a more appropriate question will be “What is Google’s Enterprise Story?” Google is primarily about online ad leverage. But, surprisingly, Google has had limited penetration in the Enterprise ad revenue. Currently, Google’s enterprise offering is primarily limited to Universal Search or Search Appliance and Google Apps (check this out at In fact, Google’s enterprise strategy is not to embark on a major standalone development and instead develop enterprise solution leveraging Google’s core consumer products such as Google Search and Google Apps. Google’s Enterprise Group’s explicit charter is to extend Google’s consumer applications into enterprise space. Google has also leveraged its consumer offerings in the recently announced integration between and Google Apps. In this case Google Apps can be seamlessly used with SalesForce. This integration is now being extended to Salesforce’s and Cloud Computing initiatives.

Google’s narrow definition of enterprise solution currently only includes the following:
1. Site search for visitors to the enterprise website
2. Universal Search (using Google Appliance)
3. Google Apps
4. Google Geospatial Solutions based on Google’s consumer products such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google SketchUp Pro

However, there are significant opportunities for Google if Google expands its vision for the enterprise. For example, Google can boost online ad leverage by targeting traditional enterprise applications such as sourcing, procurement, and a variety of other e-commerce opportunities.

According to Gartner Google currently executes less than 1% of e-commerce traffic (Google Checkout). But, if Google can have the visibility to enterprise financial transactions such as buying and selling between enterprises (even if those transactions are not taking place using Google Checkout), they can sell a lot of targeted ads to enterprises that are selling to other enterprises. With the rapid adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) approach by the enterprises, and Google’s entry into the enterprise application space is now a lot easier. Moreover, to accelerate the entry into the enterprise space Google may consider acquiring one of the enterprise SaaS companies such as Ketera (my previous employer), Reardon Commerce or other competitors. Since Google Search is used by individuals for learning purposes, there are companies in the HCMs arena where Google can potentially benefit (increased ad revenue?) by partnering or acquiring companies such as Saba (another previous employer), SumTotal, Success Factors, or other Learning Management vendors.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why This Blog?

Welcome to the inaugural post of Aloke Bhandia's blog.

I have been an active reader of and contributor to various blogs over the years. I have thought about starting my own blog for a while. Finally, this is my humble beginning. Ideas pop up as we go through life, both professional and personal. I will make an effort to record my thoughts in these pages. Due to my years of dabbling in various enterprise software, invariably there will be ideas around enterprise software business processes. Lately, I have been intrigued by the prospects of applying Supply Chain and Lean Manufacturing concepts to Human Capital Management, and hope to elaborate more in subsequent posts. Other areas of professional interest include building multi-company data cooperative for benchmarking and decision support, integrated strategic sourcing workflow, applying artificial intelligence techniques to classify large volumes of data (such as search results, transactional data, etc.). We are also building as a portal for supplier management knowledge repository, training, and procurement outsourcing services. There may be frequent musings on the trials and tribulations of launching such a large community website and a transaction portal.

Since we are raising two wonderful boys, occasionally, I may also stumble into parenting topics. Particularly, this summer, while boys are immersed in advanced Middle School and High Mathematics (so that they can skip ahead to the next level of math in the coming school year), I am having a lot of fun interacting with them, even though sometimes it becomes a true test of my patience.

I welcome comments from visitors of this blog.