Site-search tools expand scope

Aiming to help an enterprise’s Web site customers better help themselves, new tools from Kanisa Inc., Atomz Corp., and Endeca Technologies Inc. build on core search technology to offer guided customer self service and guided Web commerce search.

Kanisa this week rolled out Version 6 of its self-service application that blends knowledge management, natural language search, and business process support for site search and customer support. Kanisa 6 is designed to resolve customer service issues and deflect support-center calls by guiding site visitors to the needed information and activating processes across multiple channels.

The Version 6 platform uses Resolution Wizards, components that automate the process of guiding a customer through self service by triggering business process flows across applications such as CRM and ERP.

“What Kanisa has enabled with Version 6 is a guided self-service experience where, dependent upon what a customer asks on the Web site, we can launch any number of these flows that take you through a step-by-step process, like checking in at an airport kiosk,” said Ben Kaplan, vice-president of marketing and product management at Kanisa.

Atomz, meanwhile, this week upgraded its Atomz Commerce hosted service, which combines search, promotion, and content management capabilities to create a guided commerce search offering.

New features include Managed Relevance, which lets retailers control search results so they can present products in order of importance on a list of results.

Atomz Commerce features an automated metadata creation tool that crawls a user’s Web site, gathering available metadata that can be used to create multifaceted search, according to Steve Kusmer, CEO of Atomz.

“It is all about creating the metadata surrounding your content and using it effectively. With automated metadata creation, we can go through a site and pick out portions to expose,” he said.

Whereas other search tools go through SQL for relational data queries, Atomz Commerce does relational metadata queries through site metadata.

“It is easier than SQL queries because that (metadata) is readily available on the Web site,” Kusmer said.

The update also expands the search capacity to handle over 20 million products, which puts the Atomz Commerce hosted service in scalability range of installed software, Kusmer said.

Guided search and self-service tools aim to improve on basic keyword site searching by pointing users to what they really want, said Eric Peterson, site operation and technology analyst at Jupiter Research.

“We see search vendors each looking at (their) core technology to see how they can better leverage that into other areas,” such as applying natural language processing to self-service or guided commerce, Peterson said.

Another search player, Endeca, this week launched Version 4.5 of its ProFind enterprise search and navigation and its InFront commerce search offerings, bolstering the platforms with enhanced personalization, expanded relevancy ranking, and improved classification and taxonomy management.

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