Why Did OpenText Buy Recommind?
I think we can safely say that, with a transaction purchase price of $163 million based on $70 to $80 million of annualized Recommind revenues, this deal was about eDiscovery revenue and not enterprise search. Recommind’s enterprise search market (for its Decisiv Search product) has been close to flat for the last couple of years, meaning that annual Decisiv Search revenue is based predominantly on support payments.
Verdict: This deal was about eDiscovery revenue, not enterprise search.
Will OpenText Add Resources to Decisiv Search?
I suggest that we look at OpenText’s historic behaviour with respect to acquisitions. Tony Byrne did a great job of summing this up last month: “The most important thing to understand, though, is that as a vendor OpenText is a financial construct in search of a technology rationale. The company follows a ‘roll-up’ strategy: purchasing older tools for their maintenance revenue streams, streams which — while not always large — are almost always very profitable.”
It is hard to feel optimistic about a long-term vision for Decisiv Search. OpenText would have to do more than add development resources to the product team – it needs to innovate in an era where basic search is becoming commoditized and innovation is being driven by data analytics and artificial intelligence companies.
Verdict: Decisiv Search will remain stable, but is unlikely to evolve.
I am a Decisiv Search client – do I need to switch?
In the short-term, you have no reason to panic. But, you should start planning for the future. I have no reason to believe that Decisiv Search will not be maintained and kept current with required operating systems and integrations. However, as recently observed, enterprise search can be a core system powering content management ecosystems and search-based applications. Moving in this direction means you should look at other search technologies.
Verdict: Decisiv Search should operate in its current state for the foreseeable future. But, an integrated information environment demands more flexible and sophisticated tools that turn search into an intelligent content platform.
Where Is the Search Market Going?
There is no question that basic enterprise search delivers results (no pun intended). But, the real value lies in leveraging the search index and publishing search results via practice-centric applications. Search can power staffing applications, support pricing analysis, and contribute to risk management programs. The right search tool for you is one that:
- complements your existing information infrastructure,
- integrates into portals and mobile applications, and
- delivers information based on multiple data points, including user personas, time entry task codes, application context – even the time of day.
We are also tracking the evolution of more advanced, analytical search tools. Very interesting models are emerging that can be implemented in combination, rather than to the exclusion of, other search tools.
Verdict: Viable search options are available to law firms. Currently available technologies support high-value search-based applications. This path can be pursued in parallel with the emergence of more advanced analytical tools.
Is That All?
Not by a long shot. Fireman & Company evaluates search technologies with our clients regularly and we believe that this is an area with untapped potential. Whether your firm owns Recommind’s Decisiv or another search tool or is still exploring search, you should look hard at the strategic uses of search.