December 11, 2005

How the text technology market could ignite

Over on the Text Technologies blog, I have a series of posts arguing that the potentially huge market for enterprise text technologies is being stifled by the lack of a general-purpose ontology management system. I further argue that such a product could be constructed in such a way as to be actually usable and potentially adopted by mainstream enterprises (no, you don’t need a trained librarian to use it). So what are the chances of something like this actually working out, to an industry-changing extent?

First and foremost — if such a product is built, there’s a clear Crossing the Chasm path to major success. There are fairly healthy (> $100 million dollars annually each, at least) technology markets for internal enterprise search, customer-facing search, electronic publishing, text mining, and so. That creates plenty of “bowling pins” for a tool to get established. What’s more, pretty much every sufficiently large enterprise needs internal search; every enterprise with a decent-sized product set needs customer-facing search; and many industries need text mining. So the opportunity for true mainstreaming of text technology is clearly there. I don’t know whether the dominant product category is more likely to be “ontology management systems” or “search whose product differentiation lies in its ontology management subsystem,” but one way or the other the market opportunity is there.

Second, the technology seems eminently buildable. The various “smarts” needed have for the most part emerged, at least in point products. The knowledge representation scheme needed seems like a straightforward extrapolation of current ones. Anything can be given a good UI. Almost anything can be made scalable, and this doesn’t seem like one of the rare exceptions.

So it all comes down to vendor will (and wallet). I’m not aware of any vendor that’s really figured this market opportunity out yet. But sooner or later, one or more of them will surely get the point. If needed, I’ll personally help them see the light …


One Response to “How the text technology market could ignite”

  1. Text Technologies»Blog Archive » The text technologies market 4: Requirements for an industry-altering ontology management system on December 11th, 2005 10:19 am

    […] I think it will happen. • • • […]

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