Hurwitz & Associates has observed that companies are moving beyond search to text analytics, an increasingly important technology for analyzing unstructured information. Organizations have known for a long time that they could gain much insight by analyzing text found within and outside their businesses. But until recently, the technology to make this real wasn’t commercially viable. That’s changed. Companies now consider text analytics as a powerful way to generate actionable information from the mass of unstructured data available to them.
Text Analytics technology is rapidly moving out of the early adopter stage into the early maturity stage, with vendors reporting growth rates of 35-50%. Factors fueling this growth include a better understanding of the technology’s value, a maturing of the technology, and the desire to extend investment in business intelligence (BI) infrastructure to incorporate unstructured information. The market is quite dynamic; smaller vendors are being acquired by larger players. We expect the convergence of text analytics with such mainstream technologies as search, BI, and content management to continue.
As part of a major research initiative in this area, Hurwitz & Associates conducted in-depth interviews with text analytics software vendors and with companies using the technology. We conducted an online primary research study in March/April 2007, involving 118 large (>$200M) U.S. companies across three categories: those who had deployed the technology, those who were planning to deploy the technology, and those who had no plans to deploy the technology but were at least somewhat familiar with it.
The Key Survey Findings
The drivers for deploying text analytics solutions are business-focused, as are the applications that companies are putting in place.
The top applications are customer-focused: Seventy-five percent of the respondents planning to deploy the technology were considering customer care solutions.
Businesses are using the technology for other competitive reasons as well. Early adopters have deployed the technology in conjunction with their data mining and BI solutions. In fact, the vast majority stated that they were extracting text and combining it with structured information for use with specific data mining tools or BI solutions. Companies looking to deploy the solution are considering other configurations as well.
Early adopters met a number of significant challenges, including:
(1) Data issues, such as accessing the unstructured data, preparing it for extraction, and storing it in a useable way.
(2) Software issues pertaining to out-of-the-box functionality.
(3) Taxonomy development.
Despite these challenges, early adopters are deriving increasing and tangible value from the technology. Just under 75% of the companies in the survey said that this type of analysis provides high or critical value.
The study discusses text analytics technology, the market for text analytics and end users’ experiences with the technology, market segmentation, and purchasing guidelines. It concludes with an overview of 13 text analytics vendors.
The report’s length is 82 pages. A table of contents will be available at www.hurwitz.com later this month.