Onna CEO is on a voyage of discovery to join up data

Salim Elkhou wants to make enterprise search simpler and connect information islands.


Salim Elkhou has come a fair way but wants to go much further. The Morocco-born entrepreneur leads New York/Barcelona dual-headquartered startup Onna Technologies and his mission is pretty grand: accessing and retrieving the data held in the sea of apps on which modern enterprises run.

You might see this as an enterprise spin on Google’s big picture plan to index the world’s information or you might call it an e-discovery or data governance/compliance play but, however you cut it, the stakes are high. To put a number on it, Elkhou suggests that knowledge economy employees spend about 25 per cent of their time searching for internal information. The challenge: making it faster through connectors that link and interrogate the apps we all use to build a joined-up knowledge repository.

Mixed-up world

Part of the complexity of the modern environment lies in the way we deploy and interact with software today and with the fact that there has been a drift away from reliance on the old software empires. Today’s IT environments are pluralist and the old digital oligarchs and plutocrats must tolerate the company of dozens, or even hundreds, of other players that do one of two things very well indeed. Onna reckons that companies on average use about 88 apps for daily workflows, up by about a fifth over three years.

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