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January 23, 2008

Table of Contents

Case Study: Seadrill Turns to Intellisearch and It's Full Steam Ahead (Free PDF)
Enterprise search shakeup
Oracle to acquire BEA Systems
XML heads to the skies
WebFeat Partners with Quova
MPS Technologies Delivers Platform to Palgrave Macmillan
Boosting Coveo's capabilities

Case Study: Seadrill Turns to Intellisearch and It's Full Steam Ahead (Free PDF)

Operating drilling rigs and vessels all over the world, Seadrill’s 5,400 employees produce vast amounts of information. Seadrill is an international offshore drilling contractor with headquarters in Norway and offices in Singapore, Houston, and Aberdeen, Scotland. The company’s fleet includes harsh-environment semi-submersibles, jack-ups, shallow and deepwater tender rigs, and deepwater drill ships. In addition to providing equipment, Seadrill provides platform drilling, well-intervention, and engineering services. The company’s yearly revenue surpasses a billion dollars, and it has a presence in 14 countries. Together with partners, the company operates 37 offshore oil-drilling units, 15 of which are currently under construction.

A major challenge faced by Seadrill was how to ensure that its operations, maintenance, and supporting administration personnel had easy and organized access to all manner of documentation in order to ensure rapid, high-quality processes.

A Case Study By Lars Ovlien



"Easy information access across applications is essential to our effectiveness and operational utilization," says Steffen Myklebust, manager of information systems at Seadrill. "When looking for operational information, users need to be able to find the requested  information quickly and easily by entering simple search strings." Myklebust is also wary of the possibility of "valuable data disappearing in some hidden corners of the corporation."

Plumbing the Depths of Information

Rig operations are technically complex in the extreme. The highest demands are placed on utilization and security. Thousands of documents are needed for the daily operation and maintenance of a rig. Instant retrieval of the right version of a document for aspecific drilling rig is of utmost operational importance.

By way of example, when rig operators, together with their onshore support team, perform maintenance on a specific valve on a rig, they need a number of pieces of supporting documentation in order to perform the task without undue delay. These may include a service history, technical drawings and specifications, maintenance routines, health and safety instructions, a vendor contact, and a spare-part availability report. All of these documents are associated with the specific valve at the specific location  on the specific rig. Seadrill needed to be able to access all of this disparate information with as much efficiency as possible.

"If information access saves us one day of rig operations, it represents up to half a million dollars of value," says Myklebust.

In addition to efficiency, Seadrill wanted a broad reach—a single global access point to data residing in five different applications. These applications included IFS Procurement, a maintenance and logistics system; a Lotus Notes-based TQM 9000 quality system; a ProArc technical and administrative documentation system; Eyeshare electronic invoicing; and a Synergy health, environment, and safety system.

A Beacon on the Horizon

Seadrill found the solution to its document-management concerns in its newly implemented enterprise search solution from IntelliSearch. Having implemented the platform in early 2007, the company now has instant access to information across the board, increasing its competitiveness by securing process quality and freeing up time for its core activity.

The information-access solution implemented at Seadrill is the IntelliSearch Enterprise Search 2.0 platform.  The solution is based on IntelliSearch’s award-winning Enterprise Search Platform, which can be utilized for enterprise search, website search, ecommerce search, competitive intelligence, online media, and OEM search embedded in a third-party application. All of these functions are Web 2.0 enabled. The search results can be distributed via email, text message, or a personalized monitoring page—all according to preference. IntelliSearch 2.0 is an enterprise search solution that provides employees with one single point of access to data filed anywhere in the corporate network. The IntelliSearch platform allows access to any file, any file-server, any mail server, any application, and any external or internal website.

"We have moved our focus from applications to information.  It doesn’t matter where the corporate information  resides, as long as it’s relevant and accessible. This is the same kind of approach that you will find in Google and other major search engines," explains Myklebust.

"The organization is spread across the globe. When someone logs on, say from Indonesia, they have the same information access as if they were working in our headquarters," Myklebust continues. "People working on rigs offshore get their technical specifications, their HSE reports, or their invoices the moment they need them, regardless of location."

Seadrill has indexed its complete document databases. All in all, those documents—nearly 350,000 of them—translate into 220GB of data. As of late 2007, 1,500 employees had access to the IntelliSearch 2.0 platform,

In addition to providing equipment, Seadrill provides platform drilling, well-intervention, and engineering services. Together with partners, the company operates 37 offshore oil-drilling units, 15 of which are currently under construction.

The Solution Sets Sail

Seadrill employees perform their information retrieval through a search page, similar to the Google search page, by entering a free-text search string. The search engine processes the search string and returns a categorized hit list.  The categorized result tree appears to the left of the screen, next to the result list. From there, users bore down to subcategories by clicking the plus sign on each category.

The categories include: application source, document type, author, date, and organization. A search string may, for instance, return groups of invoices and technical documentation. When drilling down in the documentation category, users find the names of specific oil rigs. Narrowing down further, users can find disciplines categorized (for instance, drilling, IT, electrical, and so on). From there, users choose document lists accordingly.  If the data belongs to a project, they will also get information about suppliers.

"The user interface is easy to understand and to use, and we are definitely saving lots of time," says Myklebust.

"Useful options are the possibility to view the data from separate angles or to refine the search. If you want to find all the approved invoices from a certain supplier, that’s easy with this solution. The invoices will appear by searching for the supplier name and invoice. You can even drill deeper down and get approvals by date or by project."

For the operations and maintenance crews and their onshore support team, the new information access tool means easier information retrieval. The tool ensures quick access to all of the information that is needed to perform operations and maintenance, leading to minimized process lead-time and faults and increased overall rig utilization.

IntelliSearch 2.0 allows users at Seadrill to search and monitor all internal and external information related to their particular roles and interests in the company. The information is readily available in user-friendly interfaces, and has advanced search and monitoring algorithms to ensure quick, relevant search and retrieval.

Data is provided according to the access level of the employee; users only get the results on screen if they are allowed to access the documents. "Security is crucial to us and our clients. The system matches the search against the user’s access. If you have no access, you don’t even get to see the match," explains Myklebust.

By now the administrative staff of Seadrill has used IntelliSearch 2.0 for some time, and the feedback has been entirely positive, relating both to search speed and accuracy, intuitive learning, and the ease of retrieval with categorized search results.

"The user interface is intuitive and we are definitely saving time and making more money," says Myklebust. 

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LARS OVLIEN Lars Ovlien has followed the computer technology as a columnist and writer ever since 740K was an imposing amount of RAM. Now he is the editor of Datateam Magasin and a widely recognized freelance journalist specializing in the full IT integration of business processes.

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Enterprise search shakeup

Microsoft has tendered an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer. The FAST board of directors unanimously recommend shareholders accept the bid. The transaction is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2008.

The offer will be subject to customary terms and conditions, including receipt of acceptances representing more than 90 percent of FAST shares and voting power on a fully diluted basis, and receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals on terms acceptable to Microsoft.

IDC's Susan Feldman reports that In the past year, Microsoft's Sharepoint group launched a new suite of search products to appeal to the low end of the market (Search Server Express) and to the mid-market (Search Server). With FAST as a high end product, they can cover the market. FAST brings with them some very nice technologies and products that will fit well with both Sharepoint and Microsoft's Live group of products:

  • Scalability to billions of documents. Search Server handles millions, not billions. FAST's Web roots (they began life as AlltheWeb, a Web search engine) required scalability from their inception. Large publishers and media companies, manufacturers, and government intelligence organizations need this kind of scale.
  • Unified access to content and data. The FAST architecture has been at the vanguard of a new type of information access platform that includes both content and data, and delivers not just lists of documents, but charts, graphs and reports.
  • Ad Momentum, a monetization platform for search queries. Ad Momentum uses matching technology to match ads to queries and documents, handle ad word auctions and payments. It was launched in 2007, and could become an important product with the right (Microsoft) marketing muscle behind it as companies try to grab a portion of the multibillion dollar online advertising market.
  • Contextual search. FAST has done some interesting research in how to improve a query by knowing something about the person doing a search. They have enriched queries with geographic location, and with profiles of users. Like many other enterprise search engines, they have worked on both query enrichment (adding synonyms, for instance), and improved tagging of documents to find similarities.
  • Rich media search. FAST's CTO, Bjorn Olstad, is an expert in image search.
  • Semantic features. FAST bought a linguistics research laboratory and has also embedded technologies from vendors like Lexalytics and Basis in order to provide multilingual understanding, extract and tag documents with names of people, places and things, and to extract sentiment or opinions. Reputation monitoring is a new, hot area that uses these features.
  • Hosted solutions. FAST hosts search for some large publishers like Elsevier. Combining their expertise with Microsoft's data centers could expand this business further just has interest in increasing in letting someone else run complex search applications.
  • Search consulting practice. The FAST Best Practices group brings expertise to Microsoft in customizing search for high end applications.
  • European foothold. FAST is a Norwegian company with good market penetration in that area. They should extend Microsoft's reach and credibility in that region.

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Oracle to acquire BEA Systems

Oracle and BEA Systems report that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire all outstanding shares of BEA for $19.375 per share in cash.

In a press release, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, said, "The addition of BEA products and technology will significantly enhance and extend Oracle's Fusion middleware software suite. Oracle Fusion middleware has an open 'hot-pluggable' architecture that allows customers the option of coupling BEA's WebLogic Java Server to virtually all the components of the Fusion software suite. That's just one example of how customers can choose among Oracle and BEA middleware products, knowing that those products will gracefully interoperate and be supported for years to come."

The board of directors of BEA Systems has unanimously approved the transaction. It is anticipated to close by mid-2008, subject to BEA stockholder approval, certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

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XML heads to the skies

IxiaSoft has inked an OEM partnership agreement with 4DConcept, a French firm focusing on electronic document management for the aviation industry. The deal calls for integration of IxiaSoft's XML database and search technology, TEXTML product into 4DConcept's Doc'Advance EDM system.

4DConcept reports Doc'Advance provides a modular approach to content management and is comprised of the following modules:

  • Module Author--authoring environment for data modules,
  • Module 3D Author--authoring environment for 2-D / 3-D data graphics,
  • Module Manager--management of the environment for data modules,
  • Module Publisher--a publishing framework, and
  • Module S2000M--the production environment for procurement management.

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WebFeat Partners with Quova

WebFeat, a provider of federated search solutions to more than 17 statewide library networks, announced today that it has partnered with Quova, Inc. to provide geolocation authentication for WebFeat's federated search solutions. Libraries integrating the Quova technology with their WebFeat federated search systems can now provide instant access to subscription content without prompting patrons for authentication or library card barcodes. HSLC/Access PA and the POWER Library will be the first WebFeat system to securely authenticate remote patrons using the Quova system. Test implementation of this new authentication system will begin in the next few months with rollout as the test period is completed. The Access PA and POWER Library programs facilitate resource sharing among more than 3,000 school, public, academic, and special libraries throughout Pennsylvania, with the support of the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education.


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MPS Technologies Delivers Platform to Palgrave Macmillan

MPS Technologies announced that it has made over 1,900 Palgrave Macmillan books available to browse and search online through their BookStore Discovery platform. The launch of the facility incorporates MPS Technologies' second generation Widget. The BookStore Discovery Widget, a viral marketing tool which allows readers to share their favorite books with their friends via social networking sites, now also integrates with Google, has a forward-to-a-friend and bookmarking function, and can be embedded as HTML. With this new technology, publishers have control over how much content is made available to browse and also retain their current payment process on their existing websites.


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Boosting Coveo's capabilities

Coveo Solutions has added a number of important enhancements to its already solid enterprise search offering. New features of Coveo Enterprise Search are described below.

Greater scalability with support for Windows 64-bit operating systems:

  • Improves search indexing and query performance.
  • Expands access to more powerful servers, providing businesses with an indexing solution that requires significantly less hardware.
New connectors for Symantec Enterprise Vault v2 offer more flexibility and controls:

  • Out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Exchange and Symantec Enterprise Vault e-mail archives allow for integrated search across all corporate e-mail content.
  • Re-factored connectors enables indexing and search of massive e-mail archives.
Enhanced connector for improves performance and overall user experience:
  • Easier to deploy and delivers an intuitive out-of-the-box CRM search interface.
  • Improves performance and precision of indexing and searching.

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