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Inktomi to integrate search in WebSphere

Inktomi has signed a deal to integrate its enterprise search functionality into IBM's WebSphere Portal Server.

SAN FRANCISCO - Inktomi announced this week that it has signed a deal to integrate its enterprise search functionality into IBM's WebSphere Portal Server.

The company says the deal will allow businesses using WebSphere to better search for content behind the firewall, be it Word documents or rich media. The companies should begin integrating the technology within 60-90 days.

Inktomi director of alliances Paul Karr says the company will deliver an application "portlet," which he describes as "the connector" between Enterprise Search and WebSphere.

"In essence, it provides to users of the IBM WebSphere Portal Server an easy integration path to integrate the Inktomi Enterprise Search into that solution."

Karr says individual companies are approaching intranet searches in many different ways, and explains that Inktomi's search technology, in conjunction with WebSphere, provides corporate users with a central location from which to view email, financial data and news as well as to search. "That's effectively what we're trying to help deliver -- being able to search throughout the enterprise from that portal page," says Karr.

Inktomi is hoping that its alliance with IBM could mean big business for its search unit. It is pointing to recent reports from IDC that estimate that knowledge workers spend fully 30% of their time searching for information. Meanwhile, IDC also estimates that 35-50% of corporate information is not indexed and therefore unsearchable. All told, IDC says, enterprises are wasting as much as $2.5m per 1,000 knowledge workers per year on unsearchable information. "The point you get to is that enterprises haven't been doing a great job at connecting knowledge workers with the information that's available," Karr says.

The problem seems to boil down to what Inktomi calls "content silos," he explains. In many cases, enterprises might have multiple rich sources of content that are not tied together and mutually available through searching. "And that's where the focus is for Inktomi," Karr says. "We make it real easy for our customers to index and thus search, regardless of where it's located or what kind of content it is."

At the same time, Inktomi is working to develop alliances with companies like IBM, firms that it feels are top-tier and that can bring it significant business.

Looking ahead, Karr estimates the Inktomi search technology should be available to WebSphere customers within 60-90 days. And while both Inktomi and IBM will be trying to solve problems for mutual customers, Karr doesn't think either company will be actively trying to pitch their own customers on the other's offerings.

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