Magazine article Information Today

Dialog Announces 'Realignment,' Management Changes, and More

Magazine article Information Today

Dialog Announces 'Realignment,' Management Changes, and More

Article excerpt

Paula J. Hane, co-editor with Barbara Quint for NewsBreaks, is contributing editor of Information Today. Her e-mail address is paula.hane@cwix.com.

It's been a little more than a year since The Dialog Corporation was formed from the purchase of Knight-Ridder Information by MAID. It's been a year with a lot of changes and upheaval-we've seen pricing changes and customer backlash, management and employee changes, a move of the U.S. headquarters, growth of existing products and forays into new Internet initiatives, subsidiaries offered for sale (CARL/UnCover), mounting pressure from financial analysts, and a disappointing stock price. Company executives have endured grueling trips back and forth "across the pond," and around the globe, as they worked to integrate the merged companies, move forward to meet stiff challenges to their core business, and mount an Internet strategy. Now, the company has released a bevy of announcements that show careful study and strategic planning, and the fruits of product development initiatives-and probably some astute strategic financial repositioning.

Realignment

The company announced early in February a "strategic realignment of its existing operations into three newly formed divisions" to provide a greater focus for its Web-based activities. The three new divisions are: 1) Information Services, 2) Web Solutions and Internet Software, and 3) eCommerce (business-to-business).

The Information Services Division (ISD) Consists of Dialog's core online service businesses, DataStar, DIALOG, and MAID. ISD will develop and expand the range of interfaces and products for information professionals and end users, and provide intranet solutions. The division has just released its new Intranet Toolkit, which will let information professionals build customized searches for end users. (See the NewsBreak story in this issue on page 10.) ISD will be headed by Jason Molle and Ciaran Morton, both formerly senior vice presidents. Molle is now president of the Americas, and Morton takes over as president of Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

The Web Solutions and Internet Software Division will focus on Dialog's knowledge management solutions leveraging InfoSort, the company's proprietary indexing system, and the Muscat intelligent search engine technologies. This division will license these search technologies for use in Web-based corporate solutions, such as its recently debuted LiveIntranet product. Dan Wagner, CEO of Dialog, indicated that there has been a lot of interest by companies in licensing the technologies. The division will also pursue special projects and contracts, such as those recently secured by Dialog from the U.K. Government's Department of Trade and Industry and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company is currently recruiting for someone to head the division, and it is likely to be an external appointment.

The company is currently developing a Web search service, geared exclusively for businesses, which will enable Internet users to use Dialog's professional search capabilities. The company believes the advantages offered will be a considerable improvement over existing Web search engines. Wagner indicated the service would allow searching of Web resources and Dialog databases, and would include Boolean capabilities and a "find more like this" feature. No date has been set, but Wagner said it would be released sometime in 1999.

The third division, the eCommerce Division, will focus on Dialog's growing eCommerce activities aimed at the corporate and professional marketplace. The company plans to roll out OfficeShopper (http://www.officeshopper.com) beyond the U.K. to the business community worldwide, hoping to leverage Dialog's customer base. Interestingly, Planet Retail, which was a consumer retail comparison shopping product launched last summer with plans to add a corporate focus, was not mentioned in their plans. …

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