The Information Makers

There are a number of vendors vying to help businesses manage and analyze the 80-85 percent of all corporate data that's stored in unstructured and semi-structured formats -- and some of their names might surprise you.
Finally, BI is seeing all sorts of improvements based on the use of supplementary unstructured data. SAS and SPSS have been improving their statistical analysis routines by adding categorized or clustered results using as additional data sources items like attached memo notes or survey remarks. This analysis of largely untapped data is in turn allowing organizations to provide better and more targeted services to customers, and also to respond more quickly when problems arise. Automobile companies are using ClearForest text analysis tools to improve their warranty and product service offerings. By continually analyzing the text notes on service requests and repair reports, automakers get:
  • Early detection and analysis of failure events.
  • Faster determination of root causes.
  • Streamlined claims-review and handling.
  • Improved engineering visibility into text-based market and service information.

When customers have added up the benefits, they've seen substantial returns through improved business process management. In general, this is a recurring pattern in such BI arenas as scorecarding, business metrics measurements or business activity monitoring. The more often underlying textual or location observations from customers, suppliers and employees is added to the analysis, the truer and more trusted view of the product that emerges. Given a growing battery of tested tools, organizations can ill afford to ignore their unstructured data resources.

Jacques Surveyer is a writer and consultant, see some of his work at


Towards the Next Generation of Enterprise Search Technology, by A.Z. Broder and A.C. Ciccolo

The Well Organized Enterprise, by Penny Lunt Crosman