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Autonomy Buys Interwoven

by Toby Bell  |  January 23, 2009  |  Comments Off on Autonomy Buys Interwoven

There’s a discreet neon sign in a window that you’ve driven or walked past recently if you live in a town of any size. “Fortunes”, it offers. And few of us dare go inside. Maybe we fear the image itself of the wizened gypsy woman we imagine waits inside. Maybe we fear being seen entering and thus diminishing ourselves somehow. Maybe we don’t want to believe that something as precious as our future can be foreseen. Maybe we fear the truth. If there’s a bigger plan for this universe that somehow requires me to suffer, I’d prefer not to know… even if my contribution of personal suffering winds up being noble in some grander context. Yet I wonder. If I were to meet a fortune teller, what would I be told? Would I act on this? Would it matter if I did?

Mostly, though, we still think we’ve got a better handle on what’s inside us (magnificent potential) than any outsider could see. Really… how much life experience and sensitivity could this person have? She lives under a dry cleaner, surrounded by cats and furniture made from trees long extinct obviously carved by woodsmiths high on a Transylvanian peyote equivalent. It smells like a leaky basement filled with wet boxes of leather-bound books, kitty litter, and an unwrapped bar of Irish Spring soap in the corner near the boiler. And, time suspends itself there. I worry that she’s not eating very much. She wears no rings and her fingernails are polished (but not red). She has photos of her son and his kids on the mantel. Her breath smells like Tic Tacs. She offers me one and I take it. I want her to like me. I promise not to tell the rest. But I believe every word she says. She knows.

So, though most of us reject fortune telling every day in a formal sense, we become participants in it casually. The human mouth has, by some accounts, more toxins potentially deadly to other species than science can catalogue. Partly we don’t know the particulars because “biting kittens seems somehow wrong”. Even science knows where to draw some lines. Despite having no formal training in the discipline, human mouths generally do much more damage to other humans than to kittens, I’d suggest with confidence. The killer toxins are transmitted via air directly to another human ear. But imagine the damage mouths do when they bite off the words that otherwise might spare victims of ignorance. Maybe unspoken truth is a greater risk to us than the possible damage done by lies. Imagine any wedding party and the thought bubbles we can draw over the heads of the guests as if we’re there:

He’s going to beat her like he did me….

She’s lost too much weight….

His father’s a worthless drunk….

They’re too young….

She’s probably pregnant….

He’s about to lose his job and doesn’t know….

She’s already cheating on him….

Is it harder to think that the thoughts might be positive and not negative? And, can you as quickly put together a list of positive thought bubbles for the imaginary wedding guests?

Their kids will be beautiful….

Uncle Harry looks much better these days….

She looks so pretty dancing with her father….

What a perfect day….

We’re all so lucky to be gathered here….

I’m going to offer him a job….

I’d better get going before traffic gets too busy….

Sorry for that last one. So, what’s the difference between truth, gossip, and slander? It’s intention, I’d aver. In the case of a wedding party, some of the thoughts would, if expressed, likely end the celebration altogether. We might actually foresee that the relationship is doomed because elements of the character of the couple has been revealed to some of the guests and exposed in the thought bubbles. But rarely aloud to the bride or groom. Love isn’t all you need… but love is an anti-venom. Love can offset gossip and slander, but won’t ultimately affect the truth. Love is a delaying tactic against the truth – one that perhaps allows us to deliver a better version of ourselves over time than our past otherwise predicted.

This is why I suggest to my daughter that she spend her life gathering a council. Find wise, experienced, expressive, and committed advisors of all ages willing and able to guide her when she faces choices and consequences larger than her own inventory of ideas and strengths and education and intellect and experience alone will suffice (or even those of her father by extension) for solving problems. Willing to tell her the truth as they see it; and willing to not withhold evidence that – though unsavory – might spare her longer-term suffering if presented immediately. I have tried to do the same in my life. And, I try to do the same for my clients as a Gartner analyst.

So today we have a new couple – Autonomy and Interwoven. And they have chosen to merge and become a new combined entity. And I know them both reasonably well. What Autonomy brings to the union is intelligence and governance. What Interwoven brings to the union is a Web channel for that intelligence as well as a dowry of millions in revenues generated from relationships with blue-chip customers and law firms. There are thousands upon thousands of interested and affected individuals and enterprises invited to the party. Let the champagne flow and the thought bubbles blow!

What Gartner thinks of the prospects of this union will be made apparent in forthcoming research. What I think can be exposed right now. Web channel technologies are critical to the success of nearly every business that matters. Media management is an imperative because what we think of as ‘information’ will undergo radical transformation in the next few years. My colleague Whit Andrews has posited that something like 50% of the information you receive in 2012 will be composed on the fly when you request it. It won’t exist in any particular format – whether words or audio or video or the likely combination of all – until it composes itself on your behalf.

Because you’re mobile. Because you’re a CIO. Because you need a little. Because you want it all. Because you’re rich. Because you’re smart. Because you want to be. And you’ll experience it via Web channel technology – where Interwoven is a dominant vendor. And you’ll experience it because something can successfully predict what the many ‘becauses’ of your interests, abilities, roles, etc. are – and Autonomy is a dominant vendor in intelligent analytics that can understand the meaning of information and relate it to users prescriptively on behalf of its customers. The Web is becoming a council in its own way, thanks to social media. “Thought bubble harvesting” is what Autonomy does. Some may call this correlative analytics. I see a bubble machine and hear Lawrence Welk and add a dash of action and dialogue from Jack Bauer on TV’s 24… and that’s what Autonomy and Interwoven might do in combination. Or maybe not.

My other thought bubble tells another truth. Here’s what people want (uncheck the box that omits adult terms if you’re alone):

Dogpile SearchSpy

Autonomy says it wants to help prescribe what they need. Two truths… two possible outcomes. But if Autonomy is willing to express this and Interwoven is willing to commit as well, I will raise a glass today and toast along with the rest. If you want to know what I’m thinking about the merger next week, you’ll have to be a Gartner client.

Here. Have a Tic Tac. Toby Bell’s Recent Gartner Research

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Category: somewhat-serious  

Tags: 24  autonomy  correlative-analytics  interwoven  jack-bauer  tic-tac  transylvanian  

Toby Bell
Former Research VP
8 years at Gartner
25 years IT industry

Toby Bell is a former vice president in Gartner Research, responsible for a range of document and content management technologies for the High Performance Workplace group. Some key areas of coverage include vendors and trends in the enterprise content management (ECM) marketplace… Read Full Bio

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