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Gartner Says Organizations Can Reduce Enterprise Search License Costs by $250,000 With the Use of Federation or Alternative Delivery Compromises


Search Technologies to Be Discussed at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2009, in Orlando and London

STAMFORD, Conn., As companies try to find cost optimization opportunities during the economic downturn, enterprisewide search projects costing more than $250,000 can, in some cases, be completed for much less by avoiding or reducing the costs of a full search platform installation, according to Gartner, Inc.

“Enterprise architects, information architects and IT managers are frequently instructed to make Web sites, intranets, extranets and portals, as well as document libraries and mainframe data stores as simple as possible. Extending such capability across unmanaged data and content stores is often expensive to implement and rarely includes extra setup funding,” said Whit Andrews, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, companies intending to acquire enterprise search technology to roll out a universal platform for search can postpone or eliminate their plans and save money with a tactical alternative, such as federation, application service providers (ASPs), and inexpensive software and appliances.”

Companies using existing, as well as new, tactical search engines as target federation points will save money by reducing redundant indices, which cuts storage costs. In simple terms, it allows enterprises to incorporate disparate data sources without investing substantially in the intelligence necessary to calculate comparative relevance scores between differing data types, such as customer relationship management (CRM) records and documents.

“While federation can help save money, there are some disadvantages. The costs of such a strategy are reduced success in the relevance of searched information and, in some cases, increased load on subordinate search engines. Particular concepts or document locations dominate the results returned to many queries, which frustrates users and makes it difficult to discern the proper document in a results set,” said Mr. Andrews. “Additionally, unless queries are preprocessed before they are handed off to federation, they can overload their target engines.”

Search delivery alternatives, such as ASPs and appliances, are a viable way of addressing the need for search capability in places such as Web sites, intranets and file servers. Vendors increasingly offer an ASP model for search engines, and enterprises requiring searchable external Web sites will find such models more predictable in relation to capacity versus expenditure.

The costs of such a strategy include the loss of absolute control of the search index, which is why it is primarily used for externally facing public content. Additionally, any failure in search capability associated with the ASP host results in failure for the enterprise and an unpredictable quality of service.

“Companies looking at these types of cost-efficiency plans must handle them carefully to avoid a potentially disproportionate reduction in value,” said Mr. Andrews. “However, on balance, exchanging a high-end platform for a satisfactory substitute will be acceptable for most enterprises where cutting IT costs is more urgent than a radical overhaul of services.”

Additional information on enterprise search cost savings is available in the report “Cost Cutting Can Reduce Enterprise Search License Costs by $250,000 or More.” The report is available on Gartner’s Web site at

Mr. Andrews provides additional comments on the Gartner YouTube channel at

Additional insight into search engines and portals will be discussed at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2009, taking place 8-10 June in Orlando and 16-17 September in London. This forum looks at workplace technologies, such as portals, content management, social networking, mashups, online communications tools, e-discovery, search technologies, Web 2.0 and emerging collaboration tools, and explores how these technologies are a key element in raising overall organizational productivity and employee impact, and how enterprises must change to get business results. For complete event details on these events, please visit:

Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2009 - Orlando:
Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2009 - London:

Members of the media can register for the Summit in Orlando by contacting Christy Pettey at For the Summit in London, they can contact Laurence Goasduff at

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit


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