Autonomy, the goliath of enterprise search indexing that grew out of Cambridge University research in 1996, has secured a $70 million (£35 million) contract from a major bank that, it’s reported, wants to deploy the technology to help it avoid a subprime mortgage meltdown. Autonomy, which has become a leader in “meaning-based computing” search and still has headquarters in Cambridge as well as San Francisco, posted a cryptic announcement last night minus the name of the customer, hinting the deal is to help the bank’s “compliance and regulatory solutions”. Adding detail, FT.com fingers the client as Citigroup – banks, it says, are “growing increasingly worried about facing shareholder litigation over the losses they have taken on subprime home loans”, so are looking for search software to help pull out old documents in preparation for any legal actions.
Products such as those offered by Autonomy, which has its Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) system, can bring structure to previously unlinked documents, sheets and email fragments, hastening the time by which evidence can be prepared for a court appearance, and Seymour Price analyst Derek Brown tells more banks are expected to follow suit. Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch: “Banks have been looking at this issue for some time, but now the subprime crisis is causing them to accelerate their programmes.” Autonomy is listed in London’s FTSE 250.