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Press Release

FOR RELEASE: 2007-11-06


Elina Glazer ()

Marketing Manager, Real Story Group

Work 617-340-6464 x127

CMS Watch Finds SaaS-Based Search in Decline

Early Promise of Hosted Enterprise Search Stalls Amid Limited Scope, Rise of Appliances

KMWorld 2007, San Jose, CA, USA -- CMS Watch, a vendor-independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies, has found that the software-as-a-services ("SaaS") model for enterprise search has faltered, as hosted players fail to make inroads into enterprise-wide scenarios and appliance vendors increasingly address the kind of simpler scenarios typically fulfilled by hosted services.


This analysis stems from CMS Watch's 2008 "Enterprise Search Report," which evaluates 18 major enterprise search offerings. The report was released today at the KM World 2007 Enterprise Search Summit.

Software-as-a-Service delivery models are hot all across the software landscape, but search has become an exception. Early hosted players Blossom and Pico have remained relatively obscure. The grand-daddy of hosted search, Atomz, has been acquired twice and now belongs to web analytics vendor Omniture.

CMS Watch finds at least three reasons for the decline of SaaS search.

1) SaaS offerings have been limited largely to website search scenarios -- an important use case, but not as high-value as multi-repository enterprise search, which depends heavily on the kind of internal WAN access and onsite software connectors that SaaS vendors simply cannot provide today.

2) The dramatic rise of search appliance vendors (especially Google) has cut into demand for simple, web-oriented solutions of the type offered by SaaS vendors.

3) Google's own hosted search offering, although targeted at the SMB market, has likely dampened enthusiasm among potential competitors.

"This doesn't mean you should avoid going the SaaS route," argues report's lead author, Adriaan Bloem. "Just sign on with your eyes open and make sure you understand the provider's future plans and focus."

CMS Watch research identified other enterprise search trends as well:

  • Vendors across the board are introducing "Web 2.0" features, such as social results ranking, but customers seem to find these more attractive in demos than in real installations
  • Browsable, categorized search results functionality of the kind popularized by Vivisimo and Endeca are now nearly ubiquitous across the marketplace
  • As search technologies become more powerful and complex, enterprise customers are pressing search vendors for better testing and configuration management facilities, which remain comparatively thin in this marketplace

"Google's Search Appliance continues to exert powerful gravitational force on the entire market," notes CMS Watch founder, Tony Byrne. "However, enterprises are getting savvier to Google's limitations here, and the market for true, multi-repository search remains quite wide open."

The 2008 Enterprise Search Report provides detailed comparisons of 18 vendors spanning 5 market segments categories, as well as evaluations of individual product suitability for 12 functional and industry scenarios. The Report is available for purchase online from CMS Watch (


Real Story Group is a uniquely “buy side” analyst firm, working solely for solutions buyers and never for vendors.

We provide research and advisory services to help customers select and optimize the right digital workplace and marketing technologies. RSG evaluates Web Content & Experience Management, Digital Asset Management, ECM, Enterprise Collaboration, Portals, Office 365, CRM, CDPs, and Marketing Automation & Campaign/Lead Management Technologies.