Subsequent to our latest columns about self-service and the public proclivity to mine unstructured data for personal objectives, we were invariably led to the subject of text analytics. Some questions are obvious, but we were interested to learn more about the status quo of text analytics in the hands of corporate business, its uptake and current use. Given the value of the search box for users of any purpose, I wanted to know how businesses were pursuing this for internal purposes, and how text analytics is being integrated with traditional BI programs.For this I was fortunate to come across the work of Fern Halper, a partner at Hurwitz & Associates, who has spent a lot of time lately tracking and documenting the uptake of text analytics. I have gained a lot of respect for Judith Hurwitz and her staff over the last many years, and Judith herself will be contributing a column to the next issue of BI Review.

But back to the subject. As it turns out, text analytics in corporate hands is both real and still emerging. "Obviously we saw a convergence of text analytics and business intelligence and search and to some degree content management although the latter was sort of lagging," Halper tells me. "Then we saw the acquisition of ClearForest, [by Reuters] and other small players being grabbed up." The net effect Halper saw was that rapidly maturing technology had caused a shift in the relevance of the market, and that corporations specifically were seeking to align text analytics alongside traditional BI programs.

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