When I first started to research the text analytics industry about three years ago, people didn’t understand why I was so interested in this nascent marketplace. I had always anticipated how important it would be. I remember working at Bell Laboratories, in the 1980s, analyzing structured data using advanced data mining techniques, trying to predict customer actions. I knew then, that this structured data was only a piece of the puzzle and that unstructured data needed to be part of the mix. Since that time technology and computing power have obviously come a long way and text analytics has become an increasingly mature market.
Over the past several years, I’ve gotten to know many of the vendors in the space, talked to many customers deploying the technology, and in 2007 published a benchmark study entitled, “Text Analytics: The Road to Understanding Your Company’s Unstructured Data.” Three key findings from our research have been borne out in the market:
· Voice of the Customer is a key application area. Our research indicated that end-users placed a high priority on customer focused applications, with75% of respondents planning to deploy customer care related solutions. Today, many of the vendors in this space have gained great traction in this area.
· Text analytics moves beyond business intelligence. While early adopters of the technology deployed text analytics together with data mining and BI, and this is still a very popular means of deploying the technology, our study indicated that end-users were interested in deploying text analytics in conjunction with both BI and content management. Since then, I’ve seen more evidence in the market for this kind of deployment.
· The market will continue to consolidate. At the time the report was published, ClearForest and Inxight had recently been acquired. I predicted that additional market consolidation would take place; and it has.
Since the study was published in August, 2007, and due to the factors mentioned above, the market has reached the next level of maturity. For these reasons, I believe it is time to provide another benchmark. I am looking for a few sponsors who would like to partner with our firm in bringing valuable market research to the end-user community. If you are interested, please contact Carol Caliendo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-454-1030.