In February 2007 I wrote an article entitled The Content Intelligence (CI) market: to be or not to be? that discussed the convergence of text analytics (and video, voice and other unstructured forms of data) with data analytics i.e. Business Intelligence (BI). This article has been downloaded 20,000 times and is No3 in the chart of the most popular articles ever written on www.IT-analysis.com, so clearly the content intelligence concept resonated with you readers out there.
The primary subject of The Content Intelligence (CI) market: to be or not to be? was Inxight Corp, a ‘poster child' for content intelligence. Inxight was acquired by Business Objects in May 2007. Business Objects reports that Inxight's text analytics products are proving very interesting for Business Objects customers. Demand is strong. This demand growth is supported by a 2007 survey by The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) of 370 data warehousing professionals which reported that more than 4 out of 10 (43%) were exploring the options for deploying text analytics.
Now Clarabridge has announced 500% revenue growth for 2007 (albeit from a low revenue startpoint). Clarabridge is boasting new Fortune 1000 clients such as Gaylord Hotels, H&R Block, Intuit, Lowe's, Marriott, Oracle, Sage, TNS Global, The Gap and Gallagher Benefit Services Inc. Clarabridge's business partners include Cognos, Endeca, MicroStrategy, and Oracle.
Clarabridge was founded by ex-MicroStrategy executives working for Claraview Consulting who, in the course of consulting assignments, were asked for "BI for text". Clarabridge was spun off from Claraview and is backed by VC funding.
The Clarabridge Content Mining platform is essentially an out-of-the box ETL platform for unstructured data. The key differentiator is its delivery of unstructured data from the web, as well as customers' internal systems, into easily understood dashboards, reports, etc in a BI tool. This explains their interest to retailers and consumer goods companies wanting to know how their consumer products are being used, reviewed and scored by consumers on the Internet. But also to analyze massive amounts of unstructured information that retailers and consumer goods companies collect internally. Similar applications for content intelligence are equally common across virtually all industries.
The beauty of the Clarabridge Content Mining platform is its transparency. When a user drills into BI numbers (s)he will eventually hit text explaining why a certain group of customers defected or how customers felt about the customer service they were receiving, for example. BI identifies the short term financial effect and the text analytics explains the root cause of the problem in other words.
A SaaS solution from Clarabridge starts at around $10,000 per month. This sounds a lot but the benefits are significant. Marrying up BI analysis results with supporting text gathered from CRM systems, call centre, maintenance and repair records, let alone what is being said on Internet wikis and blogs, is a powerful source of real-time customer insight that operational managers and marketers would die for.
For the last 10 years the text analytics market has been largely confined to scientific, technical, academic and research applications, i.e. laboratories around the world. Now text analytics is being successfully merged with BI, the big time should finally be here for Content Intelligence. Expect more vendors to converge on this market as they sniff the opportunity and its strategic importance in the enterprise stack of tools and applications.