Inside the Dassault Systèmes Acquisition…


Today, I’ll be sharing the perspectives of Christophe Chotteau from Exalead Pre-Sales Engineering and Sébastien Richard from Exalead’s Web team on the possibilities this acquisition opens up for both Exalead and Dassault.

Christophe Chotteau – Exalead Pre-Sales Engineering

Our technology is very versatile. It can be used to meet a wide variety of information access and reporting needs in just about every industry – which is wonderful! But it makes for a challenging environment for my team. We’re continually working with clients in industries that are new to us, which means we have a fairly steep learning curve to scale in order to understand how they can best benefit from our technology.

Christophe ChotteauThe second challenge we face is guiding our clients through a learning curve of their own. Search-based applications are a relatively recent development. Many of our clients are not yet familiar with what they are and how they work. In fact, we’re sometimes called in because the client has a simple need like search for SharePoint. When they see how search technologies have evolved and all the ways they can be used, they’re captivated and want to learn more.

I think the Dassault acquisition can help us on both of these fronts. One, they have deep industry expertise in a lot sectors we haven’t entered yet. It will be enormously helpful to enter into discussions in these markets with industry experts as integral members of our team. Dassault can likewise benefit from our expertise in sectors they are not yet operating in, or have only recently entered, particularly online and service sectors.

Second, as Dassault works with core enterprise processes and systems, I think we’ll be brought into the picture much earlier, when the client is in the process of rethinking fundamentals and can reflect on our offering in an infrastructure context.
And I think in those situations we’ll bring some real energy to the table. We can complement Dassault’s deep structural solutions with fast, visible up-front results.

For instance, if they’re working with a consumer goods manufacturer on an end-to-end design and production solution, we can offer instant visibility across those systems and others, as well as delivering a fresh look at consumer demand and the after-sale lives of their products through our Web mining tools. Seems to me everyone will win!

Sébastien Richard – Exalead Public Web Engine

The most exciting aspect of this acquisition for me is not the technology match, but the philosophical match. While it’s true we share a strong R&D culture, it’s ultimately not the technology per se that interests either of us, but rather what you can do with it. If we do our jobs right, the technology disappears.

Sébastien RichardI see this in Dassault’s vision for a lifelike experience. There’s real technology behind that, 3D, but what matters are the real things people can do with it. It’s like the development of the Gothic vault in the Middle Ages. Neat technical feat. Who cares? What matters is people started building cathedrals and bridges using that technology. Once a technology like that enters our day-to-day life, it feels so simple and natural no one even thinks about it anymore.

We strive for the same thing with our public Web engine: lead with a lofty vision, back it up with innovative technology, then work hard to do ordinary things for ordinary people so extraordinarily well it feels like second nature.

That’s why our Web team isn’t locked away in an ivory tower. We don’t just work on the public search platform, we work with other engineers on a whole slew of client applications based on that same platform, helping directory publishers enrich their databases with social media content, creating vertical engines for blogs and forums for e-reputation monitoring and competitive intelligence, enabling market intelligence dashboards on mountains of Web info like real estate ads, using visual tools like Constellation and Miiget to identify online communities and influencers in particular markets, etc.

While these kinds of applications can bring immediate benefits to Dassault’s clients, especially in sales and marketing, I think what’s important in the long term is that together we’ll be able to consistently develop practical solutions that help our customers overcome difficult challenges quickly and easily, while giving them the knowledge and tools they need to manage and adapt these solutions on their own.