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Seth Grimes

Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK Blog, which will focus on text analytics and other matters related to making sense of unstructured information sources in support of better enterprise decision making.

About the author >

Seth is a business intelligence and decision systems expert. He is founding chair of the Text Analytics Summit and principal consultant at Washington, D.C., based Alta Plana Corporation. Seth consults, writes, and speaks on information-systems strategy, data management and analysis systems, IT industry trends, and emerging analytical technologies. Seth chairs the Sentiment Analysis Symposium and the Text Analytics Summit.

Editor’s Note: More articles and resources are available in Seth's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Data mining and market research consultancy, Anderson Analytics is beta testing a new text analytics software platform with two Fortune 500 clients. The platform, currently known as OdinText, is being developed specifically for use by market researchers. It is expected to be offered in SaaS model and may be commercially available as early as summer 2011.

Tom is a text analytics early adopter and long-time proponent. He was one of the first to apply natural language processing (NLP) techniques for ad-hoc consumer research although he chose to focus on professional services in the years when market-research oriented solutions such as Buzz Metrics and Cymfony (later acquired by Nielsen and TNS, respectively) first emerged. Tom is also behind a Next Generation Market Research movement and says that Anderson Analytics' solution is based on the firm's years of research and experience.

Tom has responded to a few questions.

Seth: That Anderson Analytics has been quietly working on developing a text analytics software product is a welcome surprise. How did that come about?

Tom: We've always done a little internal development to fill gaps. I've been relatively open about my opinions on the state of text analytics software in general, and that there are no perfect tools out there. It's more about selecting the right tool or combination of tools for the right job and then knowing how to use them. I realized as early as late 2005 that the software out there really isn't developed with the analyst in mind, and that developing something seemed to make sense. Text Analytics has changed a lot since 2005, and it will continue to do so. So I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone following this field that we're now in development of something more elaborate. Our feedback so far has been very positive.

Seth: There are many text tools on the market, so why now?

Tom: Well I've spoken to market research directors at several Fortune 500 companies. Interestingly, most of them had similar experiences and opinions in regard to text analytics that I had. Many had tried, or requested proof of concepts from large vendors in the text analytics industry and had been underwhelmed by what they saw, especially considering the price tag. It was clear to me that there was still a lot of room for something created by those who both understand text analytics and the needs of market research professionals.

Seth: Will this be a stand-alone, do-it-yourself tool or part of a larger service offering?

Tom: Probably both. Initially an 'OdinText Lite' intended as DIY option, I also think text analytics can add value to some of the other offerings of full service research firms. We also envision slightly different modifications depending on intended use. This in my opinion is one of the major failings of what some of the other large vendors are offering, tools that supposedly can handle any type of text regardless of source. If you build something for everything, then how accurate and useful can it possibly be for a domain expert? In this case the intended expert is the customer intelligence expert, not so much the PR or advertising executive.

Seth: I heard you've already been approached by one large agency regarding some sort of investment or partnership?

Tom: Well yes. However, Anderson Analytics is well positioned to get a quality product into the hands of our customers. That said I do try to keep an open mind if someone brings something additional to the table which can add value.

Seth: Thanks, Tom.

Tom: We're on the Web at OdinText.com if readers would like to get in touch.

Posted December 16, 2010 5:24 AM
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