Introducing Search Technologies
About Search Technologies
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Search Technologies' CEO, Kamran Khan, answers a few questions often asked about the company.
Can you summarise Search Technologies in one sentence?
Search Technologies is the leading trusted and independent technology services firm specialising in the design, implementation, and management of enterprise search and big data applications.
OK, you can have a few more sentences.
Leading companies today leverage search and big data technologies to build powerful search and analytics applications for use cases such as e-commerce, enterprise search, publishing, fraud detection, recruiting, and log analytics. Our global team of experienced consultants leverages commercial and open source technologies to build solutions that are easier, less expensive, more powerful, more reliable and most importantly, aligned with our customers’ business objectives.
How and when did Search Technologies get started?
The company was founded in 2005 by three enterprise search industry veterans who, after years working with software vendors in the space, were frustrated that the majority of companies that bought enterprise search software never realised the benefits they'd hoped for.
Two core challenges would typically get in the way. First, the software licensing fee typically soaked most of the available budget, leaving the implementation plan underfunded. Second, technology choice and deployment strategy too often neglected the business goals of the project.
The founders of Search Technologies believed that things could be done better.
You started as search experts. Why get into big data?
It’s a natural fit, really. And leading IT industry analysts agree. Search was the original “big data” problem. Hadoop was originally developed to solve the massive computational problem of trying to index the Internet for search and we've been working with it since 2010.
Nowadays the lines are being blurred between the search and big data space. Big data architectures are suited for large and complex search and analytics applications, and the search-based interface remains a user paradigm that is accepted globally. I mean, everybody knows how to search right?
What’s the largest or most complex application infrastructure you’ve implemented?
On the pure search side, we have a large government archives customer whose data will surpass 7 petabytes and 1.2 billion documents by 2017. This includes text and images and is about the largest search application for unstructured data that we’re aware of – except for the Internet, of course. In this project, we’ve proven that our proposed architecture scales without a degradation in performance.
On the complexity side, we’re doing some increasingly interesting things with big data and machine learning for large transaction sets. In one use case, we are analysing millions of resumes for a large recruiting firm and we are automatically matching them to the best candidates. In another use case, we’re helping case workers to analyse tens of millions of medical insurance claims to detect provider fraud. Over time, we can use machine learning to improve on the original results served up to the users.
This is all very exciting stuff – and we’re actually doing it.
What are your key differentiators?
Focus and experience. We have a unique depth and breadth of implementation and support experience in search and big data technologies. Remember I said that search was the first big data problem!
We also have more than 180 technical consultants on staff, many with decades or more of experience. But despite being a technical company, we have an ethos, and well-established best practices to ensure that we focus on the customer’s business goals.
We also pride ourselves in being technology-agnostic. We have many great technology partners and relationships, but we always try to do what is best for the customer. Sometimes that means making recommendations that lead to having to forgo a partner referral fee.
What about competition?
In the search and big data analytics space, most of our competitors are boutique consulting companies – much smaller than us. And compared to the global consulting leaders – well, we number most of them among our clients. We really have assembled a critical mass of some of the best search and data analytics consultants in the world.
How many customers do you have?
We have delivered results for over 700 customers globally, including industry leaders in e-commerce, publishing, media, professional staffing, financial services, manufacturing, as well as the government sector.
How do your customers typically view you?
We get things done. Our focus is an important part of that, but our customers also value our pragmatism and independence.
We are flexible and provide our customers with exactly what they need. This ranges from "experts for hire" at competitive rates, to full project managed solutions.
How do you first engage customers?
We usually start with an Application Assessment which uses methodology that has been honed for a number of years. It is a structured process by which we take the time to fully understand and document the customer's requirements – both at a technical level and crucially at the business level too. Having a clear understanding of the business objectives from the beginning, and maintaining a focus throughout the project, helps us to deliver solutions that affect the customer's bottom line.