Amid an economy spiralling downwards and unprecedented lay-offs in the technology sector at industry giants such as Oracle, enterprise search technology firm Autonomy has posted full-year revenue growth of 47%, the highest in the company’s history.
The company, which produces high-end search software used by companies to sift through ever increasing volumes of unstructured data, saw revenues for the year to 31 December surge to $503.2 million from $343.4 million in 2007. Adjusted net profits almost doubled, rising from $77.2 million to $148.0 million. (The Cambridge, UK-headquartered company chooses to report in US dollars.)
Signs of a slight slowing of pace were evident in the fourth-quarter numbers, where revenues were up 26% to $145.3 million, although profits remained strong, rising 88% to $53.4 million.
Supporting that growth in the fourth quarter were sales to a host of blue-chips, including JPMorgan, Citi, the BBC, BAE Systems, Statoil, Société Générale, CNN, Lloyds TSB and Deutsche Bank.
CEO Dr Mike Lynch said the fundamental driver for Autonomy’s success was an explosion in the quantity of unstructured data stored by companies, brought on by regulatory changes and increasing litigation in the financial markets “as a result of recent turmoil”.
“As regulators across the world have realised that most of their issues are found in the unstructured information, we saw a raft of new regulations come in during 2008 and the announcement of new regulations which will become operative in 2009 and 2010,” Lynch said.
Search has emerged as a key method of reducing the high cost of legal discovery, with defendants and litigants both able to gain access to vital documents by trawling through vast archives. While the legal sector and compliance imperatives are major drivers of the search industry, the technology is increasingly being used to boost productivity by helping employees navigate mountains of data. Advanced search technology has also found a home in the law enforcement and anti-terrorism communities.
Lynch founded Autonomy in 1996, drawing on research conducted at Cambridge into adaptive pattern recognition and a statistical inference theorem developed by the Rev Thomas Bayes in the 18th century. The company’s focus on research has continued with R&D spend increasing 26% year-on-year, leading the technology to receive “accolades and top ratings in multiple new areas” in 2008.
Lynch concluded that the company would remain “conservatively optimistic” throughout the rest of 2009, while confidently declaring victory in the “enterprise search wars”.