A different spin on analyzing content – Infosphere Content Assessment

IBM made a number of announcements last week at IOD regarding new products/offerings to help companies analyze content.  One was Cognos Content Analytics, which enables organizations to analyze unstructured data alongside structured data.  It also looks like IBM may be releasing a “voice of the customer” type service to help companies understand what is being said about them in the “cloud” (i.e. blogs, message boards, and the like).  Stay tuned on that front, it is currently being “previewed”.

I was particularly interested in a new product called IBM Infosphere Content Assessment, because I thought it was an interesting use of text analytics technology.  The product uses content analytics (IBM’s term for text analytics) to analyze “content in the wild”.  This means that a user can take the software, run it over servers that might contain terabytes (or even petabytes) of data to understand what is being stored on servers.  Here are some of the potential use cases for this kind of product:

  • Decommission data.  Once you understand the data that is on a server, you might choose to decommission it, thereby freeing up storage space
  • Records enablement.   Infosphere Content Assessment can also be used to identify what records need to go into a records management system for a record retention program
  • E-Discovery.  Of course, this technology could also be used in litigation, investigation, and audit.  It can analyze unstructured content on servers which can help to discover information that may be used in legal matters or information that needs to meet certain audit requirements for compliance.

The reality is that the majority of companies don’t formally manage their content.  It is simply stored on file servers.  The IBM product team’s view is that companies can “acknowledge the chaos”, but use the software to understand what is there and gain control over the content.  I had not seen a product positioned quite this way before and I thought it was a good use of the content analysis software that IBM has developed.

If anyone else knows of software like this, please let me know.

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3 Responses

  1. Do you think this is a revival or new iteration of IBM’s Webfountain or something completely new? Cheers, Ted.

    • Hi Ted:

      According to Josh Payne, who is one of the product managers for the product: Webfountain was an early project that that made use of the Unstructured Information Management Archicture (UIMA). UIMA is also at the heart of IBM’s content analytics capabilities in InfoSphere Content Assessment and Cognos Content Analytics. Along with this shared technology, the InfoSphere Content Assessment product (and our Discovery team as a whole) has benefited from WebFountain as we design our new content analytics offerings.

      Hope this helps!

      • Hi Fern,

        Thanks so much & apologies for lag in follow up.

        I had once been approached to consider partnering with the Webfountain folks out of IBM (Somers, NY) hence my interest in Webfountain’s evolution. In fact, a former colleague of mine from IBM had been working to bring Webfountain to market back in 2003/04. Subsequently ran up against Webfountain in a couple of competitive bid situations, then Webfountain went radio silent. It was also quite a coincidence a bit later on (but no surprise) that IBM acquired Cognos, one of my former clients from my days as a CRM/BI process consultant with IBM Global Services. It was clear to me that IBM was going to invest very seriously in the BI space beyond the enterprise environment and out into the Internet domain. Webfountain has always been of interest since I first read about web analytics and text mining out of IBM’s KM network. The industry is still early stage and there is so much room for improved capabilities. I trust IBM to get this one right.

        Again, thanks so much for the update.

        Cheers,
        Ted Morris.

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