Ontolica – Great sales team, lousy support, poor extensibility

We’ve implemented Ontolica search (for MOSS 2007) for several of our customers. The product fits our service offerings very well, and provides a great value add for minimal cost and effort (compared with other search replacement products).

The sales team has been very helpful and responsive. They’ve provided trial licenses quickly and without hassle, have provided training and demos/overviews of the product, and have even been excellent interfaces to help escalate support incidents. I can’t really say enough about the sales team.

I can’t say that about their support however. So far, they have had just about the worst level of support I have experienced with a third party SharePoint product. If you file a support incident through their web site or via email, you are guaranteed to not get a response.

I filed one particular support incident, never heard back from anyone, until 2 months later, when I received an automated email asking me if my incident had been resolved. Another incident received no response until I involved the sales persons, who managed to look into the issue themselves. A co-worker filed another incident, and never heard a response. I’m not even convinced they have a support team.

Outside of the support, if you are interested in their product, keep in mind that they have very little extensibility. This can be important if you ever need to write any customized search code, and would like to take advantage of the Ontolica features in your custom search solution.

One client of ours had a need to run searches using impersonation, so we wrote code to leverage the MOSS search web service, passing in the credentials of the impersonating account. We would have liked to have been able to pass our returned results into the Ontolica web parts (or simply have been able to use Ontolica with impersonation), but the web parts all use internal hidden search objects that are obfuscated and cannot be interacted with (unless you like deciphering obfuscated code). This made it so that we had rich search tabs with all the Ontolica features, and then our customized search tab with stripped down functionality. To be fair, my beef also lies with Microsoft for closing up their own search with the SearchResultHiddenObject, which cannot be used easily without reflection and a big level of effort. I would have thought that a product that provides such a good experience with installation and configuration would have put more thought into extensibility (and support).

Overall I would give Ontolica 3 out of 5 stars.

One comment on “Ontolica – Great sales team, lousy support, poor extensibility
  1. I work for SurfRay which purchased MondoSoft (produced Ontolica) last fall. I have recently begun looking through blogs to better understand what my customers are looking for. I have also run into a few posts scattered throughout blogs by angry MondoSoft customers. Because of the number of support related issues, SurfRay completely reorganized MondoSoft. There is an entire new support process and staff spanning the globe. If there are any MondoSoft customers out there with unresolved issues, please don’t hesitate to email me at jno@surfray.com.

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