MarkLogic Acquires Smartlogic
Enterprise IT companies do acquisitions routinely — what makes this one interesting? If you like to follow trends in the industry as I do, this transaction is perhaps emblematic of things to come.
The first big theme is complex data. To create value from data, we have to connect it. Simpler data is easier to connect than more complex data, as connecting complex data demands the creation and use of metadata. More complex data is being generated, which means more potential value, so certainly a theme with growing importance in the data management world.
MarkLogic customers ingest data from any source and in any format, enhancing and connecting metadata. The results are models that encode human understanding, which are then used for search and discovery, creating new applications, or enriching other analytics and machine learning efforts.
One of the holy grails here is discerning intent, something that humans are good at. Enter Smartlogic. Their unique Semantic AI is very good at discerning intent, which is especially useful across a variety of complex data types: especially human communications of any type, documents and contracts, reports and similar — and also across a wide variety of industries and use cases.
Discerning intent within a defined context turns out to be a near-universal challenge, not only for machines, but humans as well!
At a functional level, Smartlogic extracts relevant metadata and context from especially difficult complex data types, and feeds the MarkLogic platform — keeping data and metadata together — where new insights can quickly be put to work.
The emergent pattern here is “tools plus platform” — tools that are good at capturing, enhancing, and connecting metadata — backed by a unified, metadata-centric data platform that quickly operationalizes the resulting work product.
By combining and integrating a very powerful tool with a very powerful platform, more value is created for our mutual customers.
The second big theme of note here is consolidation, in segments as defined by Gartner Magic Quadrant reports. Consolidation of industry segments itself isn’t new, but where it shows up is always interesting.
Consider the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Database Management Systems. It’s chock full of newer names with point solutions aimed primarily at developers. It currently gets a lot of attention from customers, vendors, and the investment community.
Every time I hear about one of those high-flying newer database companies, I ask myself — what problem are they really solving for their customers? It’s not clear to me how many specialized databases the market needs. And, yes, Oracle is still #1 in this space and will be for the foreseeable future.
It’s not hard to see a shake-out coming soon: too much venture capital chasing not enough revenue. By comparison, MarkLogic’s primary customers are larger enterprises and government agencies, and it’s been that way for a while.
By comparison, MarkLogic solves unique complex data problems — at enterprise scale — in a way that no other technology can do. Joining with Smartlogic puts even more daylight between MarkLogic and the next best alternative.
As long as our customers have complex data problems, we’ll be helping them to turn their most complex data into their most valuable asset.
I’d like to offer a big, warm welcome to the incredible Smartlogic employees, customers, and partners.
I think we’ll be doing some wonderful things before long!