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11/9/2005
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IBM Software Helps Companies Monitor Reputations Online

One possible use, for example: analyzing the success of a marketing campaign by tracking online conversations about relevant products.

Earlier this week, IBM introduced new software called Public Image Monitoring Solution (PIMS) to help companies track what's being said about them online.

According to Marc Andrews, director of strategy and business development for unstructured information at IBM, companies today need search technology and analytics to cope with the massive amount of information being generated online. "One of the biggest challenges is there's so much information out there that it's difficult to determine which issues are significant," he explains.

While a variety of firms offer business intelligence services designed to monitor public opinion, Andrews contends that existing approaches are ill-suited to the pace of information creation today. He also points out that such companies often have a narrow focus, like analyzing call center logs or consumer surveys.

One benefit of PIMS, he says, is that it can be used to combine internal customer metrics with other corporate information. One potential application, he suggests, might be analyzing the success of a marketing campaign by tracking online conversations about relevant products.

PIMS relies on multi-lingual text analytics from Nstein Technologies to identify popular topics of discussion and to analyze online posts in order to assess emerging trends. Because it can categorize based on topic and context, the software simplifies the process of finding specific types of information, such as criticisms of specific products or finance-related posts.

The software also lets businesses incorporate and analyze news content from by Factiva, a provider of business news and information.

PIMS requires IBM WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition, an enterprise search software platform that utilizes the company's search infrastructure layer known as Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA). Price varies, depending on the needs of the organization, but it can range from $100,000 to millions.

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