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Guest Blog – Philip Howard of the Bloor Group

Monday 10 November 2014

Recently Connexica welcomed Philip Howard of the Bloor Research Group as a guest speaker at our annual CXAIR Conference, and off the back of this he published a blog post discussing the growth of Connexica and CXAIR in some more detail.

See his article below:

“Both I and my colleague David Norris have previously written about Connexica and its CXAIR product. This is how I described it in the former article: “this is a BI tool specifically designed to support queries that span both structured and unstructured data, though it can equally well handle either one on its own.

It uses indexing (as in search-based indexing not database indexing) to extract structure from text, spreadsheets and so on and to support queries against that structure”. I wrote that in 2011. Had I been writing it today I would have included mention of semi-structured, machine generated data (as in smart meters).

Writing today I would also have to describe it more broadly as a BI/analytics tool because it can do things like overlay results onto maps, as well as support conventional graphics. And I would also have to mention self-service, because it is very much targeted at end users.

In other words, this was a ‘big data’ product before most of us had heard about big data. As a matter of fact it wasn’t alone in taking this approach or at least something similar. In particular, Endeca and Neutrino BI were direct competitors. However, Endeca was acquired by Oracle and this element of its product line has been dropped. Rumour has it that Neutrino BI has gone bust.

My company searches have not actually confirmed this but net assets are in the red by over six million pounds, it doesn’t have much cash and it has significant liabilities. So, if it isn’t actually bust it looks close to it. Which leaves Connexica as a stand-alone success: it has doubled in size over the last 18 months and doubled revenues during the same period. It has some 150 users. So, how has Connexica managed to succeed where others have not?

I think the simple answer is that Connexica has focused on partners as much as on direct sales. It has also targeted particular verticals (notably healthcare and government) where it has gained traction, with a typical approach of implementing one application in one department and then expanding to provide additional solutions elsewhere.

Notable partners include Capita and PhlexGlobal, where the latter is the leading provider (worldwide) of trial master files for pharmaceutical companies. It utilises CXAIR in its PhlexGobal Emetrics service. This is a multi-tenanted cloud-based solution which is currently being used by some 26 clients. The company re-builds over 100 indexes every night with some more mission-critical indexes being re-built every hour.

At its recent user conference the company talked about its product roadmap. I won’t go into detail but there will be a new report building platform, mobile device support, story-telling (infographic) capabilities, semantic discovery, increased used of semantics for governance purposes and usability enhancements, amongst other new features.

Both David and I lauded Connexica when we wrote first wrote about the company back in 2011. It is pleasing to know that we were right to do so: the company looks well placed to continue to grow, especially given its support for machine generated (such as smart meters) data.”

Click here for a link to the original article

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