Unified Information Access

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Unified Information Access Platforms are computing platforms that integrate large volumes of unstructured, semi-structured, and structured information into a unified environment for processing, analysis and decision-making. These platforms are highly scalable, hybrid architectures that combine elements of database and search technologies in order to make information access dynamic and ad hoc, while offering the reporting and visualization features commonly found in business intelligence applications. While the vision for such integrated platforms has been around for years, only since 20XX have products been released into the market. Companies like Applied Relevance, Attivio, BA-Insight, Cambridge Semantics, Endeca, Exalead, HP Autonomy, PolySpot, MarkLogic, PerfectSearch, Palantir, TopQuadrant, Sinequa and VirtualWorks have recognized the need for this approach.

Unified access applications:

  • Create hybrid data structures that combine structured data and data operators with text and semi-structured operations and analytics. They combine semantic understanding, fuzzy matching, sorting, joins, and various operations such as range searching within a single architecture, rather than federating a query to multiple sources in multiple forms.
  • Leverage these hybrid structures to provide real-time access through ad hoc queries to multiple sources of information, including information across a spectrum of formats (e.g. rich media) through a single interface.
  • Handle sparse matrices of unpredictable content.
  • Optimize interactions for consumption and decisions, processing queries faster than traditional database and/or BI applications and implementing visual consumption metaphors.
  • Scale to terabytes.
  • Provide reporting tools that are BI-like, or integrate easily with BI applications and reporting tools.


  • Worldwide Search and Discovery 2009 Vendor Shares and Update on Market Trends, IDC #223926, July, 2010 by Susan Feldman and Hadley Reynolds.
  • Building the Intelligent Enterprise: The Case for Unified Access and Analytics

Susan Feldman, Jul 2009 - Doc # 219467

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