August 17, 2006

Business Objects’ perspective on text mining (and search)

I had a call with Business Objects, mainly about their overall EIM/ETL product line (Enterprise Information Management, a superset of Extract/Transform/Load). But I took the opportunity to ask about their deal with Attensity. (Attensity themselves posted more about the relationship, including some detailed links, here.) It actually sounds pretty real. They also mentioned that there seem to be a bunch of startups proposing search as a substitute for data warehousing, much as FAST sometimes likes to.

It turns out that Business Objects and Attensity really did some significant partnership product integration. Here’s why. Without integration, Attensity could suck in text and spit out relational tables. As a second step, those tables could be sucked into BOBJ’s product stack in the usual way, and integrated with kinds of tabular data.

With integration, however, they can skip the step with the intermediate table. One benefit is saving human work, processing work, disk space, etc. in the obvious way. But as a second benefit, Business Objects (like other ETL vendors) offers complex data transformations, managed by a range of tools. The Attensity transformation is now within the purview of that management, at least in cases where the text was already in a DBMS (e.g., the comment field of a warranty claim or call center system).

On the sales side, it seems as if they’re focused mainly on the markets where Attensity has already proved strength – government and warranty claim. The one new thing there was a reference to a PTO (Patent & Trademark Office) deal, which I think hasn’t been awarded yet. I’m not sure what the analytic aspects of that would be, if any – but then, Business Objects cites some success in selling EIM to non-analytics customers, especially in the government area. (Actually, they talk about one big win in the UK – but boy do they talk about that win a lot! 😉 )


One Response to “Business Objects’ perspective on text mining (and search)”

  1. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » Business Objects on EIM, ETL, etc. on August 17th, 2006 7:01 pm

    […] What I found most interesting (other than the text analytics part of their story), is their emphasis on what may be called data provenance. Compliance is making “one truth” almost as important as BI vendors have long claimed it was. But the more elaborate the data’s journey, the more chances there are it will be damaged on the way. Thus, to have perfect trust in your results, you need visibility all the way back into the source of the data. […]

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