Northern Light Delivers Enterprise Search Engine

Studies have shown that some workers spend at least half their time foraging for information - which leaves less time to put that information to work. With internal documents and databases, subscription-based online resources and the myriad of other data sources available these days, making the search for information more effective isn't a simple task.

Northern Light Technology Inc., however, says it can be. This week the Cambridge, Mass., search engine company launched its SinglePoint enterprise information portal to bring the technology behind the search engine to enterprise desktops. The company's search engine technology not only crawls and indexes the Web, but also includes a database of millions of documents pulled from more than 7,000 licensed full-text business sources.

The SinglePoint enterprise information portal goes even further by integrating a business' internal documents, subscription-based resources such as those from online market research firms, and any other files that a company wants available for searching. With SinglePoint, a company needs only identify the information it wants integrated and Northern Light does the rest, says Joyce Ward, a Northern Light vice president.

"The old model is that your internal organization builds a taxonomy, trains the classifier. Our approach is radically different," Ward says. "We run the whole thing."

Sue Feldman, an analyst at market research firm International Data Corp., says the idea of outsourcing the search engine instead of licensing it and setting up taxonomies in-house is intriguing. She says SinglePoint is an appealing solution for companies looking to get the information they need fast and affordably.

Users access SinglePoint through a Web browser interface, which can look like or can be customized, Ward says. The platform runs on Compaq Computer Corp. OpenVMS AlphaServers that are co-located at Exodus data centers or at the Northern Light office.

A standard SinglePoint implementation takes about three or four months and pricing runs about US$250,000 annually, Ward says.

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