Attivio: Q and A with Michael Cizmar, Managing Director of MC+A

MC+A Interview

Last month, our partner Attivio had a chance to sync up with Michael Cizmar, Managing Director, of MC+A, and ask him a few questions and welcome MC+A on as a partner.

JZ: Tell me about MC+A.

MC: I founded MC+A in 2004 after a post “dot com” sabbatical to Brazil. MC+A is a boutique consulting firm focused on search and search derivative technologies since before it was cool. We help our clients deliver better experiences that happen to be driven by search.

JZ: Your website says, “Changing the way you find answers and insights.” How do you do that?

MC: Our customers are realizing that you can do significantly more with this technology beyond simple retrieval of information. So, we start by looking at outcomes and analytics. From there, we go backwards to see how we can understand intent to direct to those outcomes.

This is driven by the power of cognitive search technologies. We are beyond supplying two or three keywords and hoping to get a set of documents where a scoring algorithm has been applied. We can provide relevant information to you in a variety of touchpoints that answer the question that you don’t even know how to ask.

JZ: The search market has gone through several major evolutions over the years. What trends do you see on the horizon?

MC: Search drove big data and now big data is returning to search. With it we are leveraging the tremendous computing capabilities to drive the next generation technology. This will be driven by Machine Learning and eventually really good Natural Language Processing. Over time these deployments that are somewhat complicated now will become much simpler and cloud based.

JZ: I understand you have deep expertise with Google Search Appliance. Tell me about the past, present, and future of GSA.

MC: We were a charter partner of Google Enterprise. In 13 years, I worked with hundreds of customers and did about 200 implementations. I really feel that the GSA took the enterprise by storm. Before, search was very expensive and complicated. You could plug a GSA in and set up a web crawl and in a few minutes, get some results.

It really democratized the technology but was often oversold. A lot of GSAs were not utilized to their full extent and in the end, there was only so much you can pack into the form factor.

The GSA has entered end of life. Sales will cease at the end of this year. Appliances will start shutting off once their term is up. Google has announced CloudSearch as the replacement technology. It’s heavily integrated with GSuite. We are recommending to all of our customers to get out ahead of their migration. There are thousands of customers and only a few choices to go to. Couple that with a lack of deep resources and there will be a Y2K of sorts going on.

JZ: Tell me about a cool vacation spot you’ve been to.

MC: We like going to Rio De Janeiro. It’s where I took my sabbatical and met my wife. I enjoy being outside and preferably near large bodies of water.