Fujitsu software tackles enterprise information

Fujitsu Ltd. is developing two applications that could help enterprises make better use of their data and better handle information flowing into the company.

The first is a search tool for the “semantic Web,” which refers to a web of interconnected servers filled with information that is tagged so it can be easily understood by machines. Called the Business Information Navigator, Fujitsu’s tool seeks to use this metadata to spot relationships between documents spread throughout an organization and deliver search results that are more focused than is currently possible with a simple text search.

The idea is that with better tagging and more metadata, such as XML (extensible markup language) and RDF (resource description framework), an enterprise could derive much more value from its data. Fujitsu’s Navigator will both run through the documents and attempt to automatically tag them and works as a search engine for this tagged data.

The software was demonstrated at the Fujitsu Forum 2005, a company technology showcase that took place last week in Tokyo. Working on a sample database, a search was performed for “XML.” This brought up a number of hits that were displayed as a spider map, a graphical representation of the results in which their position and size on the graph signifies their importance. Lines between the results showed the strength of the relationships between them. Further clicks allowed the data to be explored by author or division so a user could quickly see who are the leading authorities on XML within the company and in which divisions they work.

Fujitsu is already testing the system with a domestic financial institution, which it wouldn’t name.

The company’s second piece of software is aimed at helping manage the flow of information coming from outside a company and uses the RSS (really simple syndication) format. It’s a combination of an RSS reader client and a corporate RSS server, and is already on trial within Fujitsu.

The client can monitor RSS feeds just like any other reader but has several additional features, all of which are enabled by the server. The first is the ability to tag an item that’s appeared in an RSS feed as being of interest to other people in the same workgroup. When a user does this their client communicates this to the server and the information is sent to other RSS clients in the workgroup.

The server can also make an RSS feed from any Web page and so enable tracking of changes made to a Web site via RSS. To do this the system examines the Web page and tries to decide, based on things like position on the page and presence of times or dates, what items are likely to change and what parts of the page can be ignored.

Fujitsu expects both pieces of software to be available within the current fiscal year, which ends on the last day of March 2006.

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