For a forthcoming BeyeNETWORK article, Perspectives on Text Analytics in 2010, I asked solution-provider executives about the top challenges and opportunities they foresee for the coming year. Eight out of ten responses cited social media and sentiment analysis: solutions that harvest opinions, attitudes, mood, and other subjective information from news, social media, surveys, and other forms of enterprise feedback.
Claire Thomas, text analytics lead at SAP, calls sentiment analysis "broadly applicable to various industries and initiatives." She captures the rationale for the up-coming Sentiment Analysis Symposium, a conference I am organizing, slated for April 13 in New York.
Claire and SAP have not endorsed the symposium. I'm quoting Claire and other industry leaders simply as evidence that a practical, solutions focused sentiment-analysis forum, bridging technology and business concerns, is sorely needed.
Behind the need:
IBM SPSS Vice President Olivier Jouve notes that "Twitter, Facebook and other Web 2.0 media are the new critical sources for marketing" and a range of other enterprise functions. These functions include what's often now called "social CRM," customer relationship management that taps social sources. I predict that category will be short-lived, just as early-2000's "e-commerce" is now just one facet of modern, comprehensive business solutions.
The fact is, "more companies are looking at 360-degree views of customer feedback, and social media is a critical early warning (before a customer buys) and customer support (when a customer is having issues) indicator of customer experience," as Clarabridge CEO Sid Banerjee puts it.
I'd guess we can all agree with these statements, but how to handle these and traditional information sources?
According to Lexalytics CEO Jeff Catlin, in 2010, "sentiment will complete its transition to a 'checklist' feature that everyone who works in this space will have to provide. All of the vendors (big and small) will claim to have sentiment." So there's a problem evaluating sometimes over-stated claims to choose an appropriate solution.
What's appropriate? Many user organizations can get by -- for the present -- with what Attensity CTO Ian Hersey characterizes as "social media aggregation and lightweight analytics (e.g., buzz analysis, media monitoring)."
The Sentiment Analysis Symposium will be for organizations with needs that range from focused to sophisticated, to users who, in Ian's words, want "to incorporate the social media into the same analytical models as they use for their internal data and, more important, plug that social media into business processes."
These enterprise scale users require solutions that, in Olivier Jouve's words, handle sources that are "voluminous, cryptic, multi-lingual and deeply interconnected" via "sophisticated data collection mechanisms, advanced multi-lingual analysis and the infrastructure to manage daily terabytes of data."
This being the BeyeNETWORK's text-analytics channel, I've quoted text-analytics industry leaders although I expect media-monitoring, listening platform, and brand/reputation management users, agencies, and solution providers will be well represented at the Sentiment Analysis Symposium.
So check out the event on-line -- follow @SentimentSymp or me, @SethGrimes, on Twitter for updates -- and you have until February 3 to submit a speaking proposal by the way -- and do send me your questions and comments.
Posted January 26, 2010 8:55 AM
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