Bob Tennant is the chief executive officer at Recommind, a lead provider of e-discovery, enterprise search and automatic categorization software. Bob has degrees from the University of Victoria, the University of California at Berkeley, and Columbia University. He has many years of experience in the IT business, having worked for Swiftsure Capital and Sun Microsystems, and he is board member at several successful companies. In this interview Bob gives us an insight into how Recommind solves its customers’ problems in terms of data management, e-discovery, and data querying. He also shares his thoughts on gaps in the market and how to fill them.
Sramana Mitra: Bob, let’s start with setting some context about what Recommind does. What is your business, what kind of customers do you cater to and what kind of problems do you solve?
Bob Tennant: Recommind is a company that has a platform to manage and analyze unstructured information. As most unstructured information, this is basically text. We spend a lot of time working in that particular area. When you think about who has unstructured information more generally, that is basically any kind of organization, but some organizations have greater needs in that area than others. Markets where we have a significant presence right now include law, financial services, technology, pharmaceuticals, government, and a variety of others. What we help those organizations do is manage and analyze their unstructured information. This assistance can be broken down into a wide variety of use cases – everything from general data management, which is called data governance, which means being able to delete data without violating any regulatory principle or email management [policy], helping you get through your mailbox more efficiently, etc. It also includes use cases like e-discovery – helping to get through the investigative or regulatory process more efficiently. Furthermore, it includes investigation or ad hoc querying of unstructured information you might have for business analytics purposes.
SM: How do you position the company?
BT: Recommind’s aspiration is to be the Oracle of unstructured data, where there is a base platform that forms the core of our capabilities, which are applied in many different use cases, because most unstructured information – unlike information that is in a structured database – has not been put there suited to purpose. You can build many situations out of the same set of indexed structures.