Free from Progress, EasyAsk searches for tech alliances

EasyAsk, a provider of natural language search technology, plans to ally with e-commerce tech companies.

Katie Evans

Search and merchandising technology company EasyAsk, which specializes in natural language site search, announced this week that it will seek out new technology alliances following its split from Progress Software.   

EasyAsk CEO Craig Bassin, who acquired EasyAsk from Progress last year for an undisclosed sum and is the company’s sole owner, says he plans to expand beyond licensed software offerings to focus on the software-as-a-service model in which EasyAsk would host the software and deliver it to client retailers via a web connection. At the same time, he aims to integrate his company’s offerings with other technology providers.

In addition to natural language site search—which enables visitors to retail web sites to ask questions such as “Do you have a size 10 cotton-linen blend shirt?”—EasyAsk offers complementary software in its eCommerce Edition suite that supports web site navigation and online merchandising. EasyAsk eCommerce Edition customers include retailers Gap, Coldwater Creek, Lands’ End and Lillian Vernon.

EasyAsk also offers a Business Edition version of its software that uses natural language search to help employees find information from a company’s own accounting, planning, business intelligence and customer relationship management systems. EasyAsk Business Edition customers include chemical manufacturer BASF and insurance company Cardif.

EasyAsk, based in Burlington, MA, was founded in 1994 by database systems and computerized natural language expert Larry Harris, who sold the company in 2005 to Progress Software, Bedford, MA, a provider of business process management and other types of software used in running companies.

Now, as an independent company, EasyAsk plans to ally with other companies that provide software in areas including e-commerce, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning, the term used to describe comprehensive software systems that run the gamut from accounting and order management to inventory and e-commerce. It will emphasize working in software-as-a-service, or SaaS, environments, which let companies rent and access software over the Internet rather than buy licensed software that gets installed on their own computer networks.

EasyAsk recently announced an alliance with NetSuite Inc.,   a SaaS provider of e-commerce and business operating software.  EasyAsk’s eCommerce software suite now integrates with the NetSuite platform’s product catalog, and online retailers operating on the NetSuite e-commerce platform can use EasyAsk’s natural language search to improve site search and online merchandising, NetSuite says.

“EasyAsk eCommerce for NetSuite brings our customers a new level of e-commerce search and merchandising precision,” says Raghu Gnanasekaran, senior director of partner development at NetSuite. “This helps drive increased sales in the increasingly competitive e-commerce industry.”



EasyAsk, natural language search, Progress Software, site search