Business Objects and Inxight
Analysis of text analytics pioneer Inxight, recently acquired by Business Objects, which itself was acquired by SAP. Also covered are Business Objects’ partnerships with text mining vendors such as Attensity. Related subjects include:
My long discussion Saturday of how to evolve (or replace) Twitter included a short discussion of what might be called Enterprise Twitter. Dennis Howlett just alerted me that there’s been considerable other discussion of the subject recently. For example:
- Dennis reported on an internal SAP Enterprise Twitter research project, and pointed at a number of the other pages I’ll mention. (Note: If that goes anywhere, it will have to be in conjunction with Business Objects.)
- Jevon MacDonald listed pros (many) and cons (few) of Enterprise Twitter.
- Andrew McAfee argues at length that an enterprise needs multiple social networking tools, to match up with different intensities of collaboration among coworkers.
- Niall Cook offers a short, convincing use case for Enterprise Twitter.
- JP Rangaswami also offers use cases.
- Ed Yourdon argues that Twitter is “good enough” for enterprises. But he seems to concede it could indeed be a lot better.
- Paul Gillin praises Twitter’s business potential for us self-employed consultant types.
- Sid offers a number of quick-hit use cases for Enterprise Twitter.
- Bill Ives takes a more skeptical view, focusing on enterprises uses of today’s Twitter.
- Nancy offers many Twitter use cases, some of which are enterprise-relevant.
Here’s my take on the subject.
I see four basic (and somewhat overlapping) use cases for Enterprise Twitter:
|Categories: Business Objects and Inxight, SAP, Social software and online media, Twitter||23 Comments|
Lynda Moulton and I see enterprise search quite similarly, as I discovered when she called me yesterday to praise my post on the many differences between enterprise and web search, and followed up with this one of her own. One of Lynda’s big themes is that large enterprises, much as they use multiple database management systems, use multiple search engines too. Read more
Today’s big news is IBM’s $5 billion acquisition of Cognos. Part of the analyst conference call was two customer examples of how the companies had worked together in the past — and one of those two had a lot of “integration of structured and unstructured data.” The application sounded more like a 360-degree customer view, retrieving text documents alongside relational records, than it did like hardcore text analytics. Even so, it illustrates a trend that I was seeing even before BOBJ’s buy of Inxight, namely an increasing focus in the business intelligence world on at least the trappings of text analytics.
I’m at the Business Objects annual user conference, and had a couple of chances to talk with Inxight/text analytics folks. When I asked about areas of commercial application traction, answers were similar to those I got from Attensity and Clarabridge, but not quite the same. Specifically:
- Voice of the Customer is definitely tops.
- Some of the other applications Attensity and Clarabridge mentioned appear as well (e.g., antifraud).
- Business Objects also has a couple of customers looking at text mining as an aid to medical records, e.g. by helping to catch errors in tabular-field coding.
- There are some projects in actual investment research/analysis/trading, e.g. in correlating news announcements and stock price movements.
The Business Objects/Inxight folks also made a couple of interesting general technical points. Read more
|Categories: Application areas, BI integration, Business Objects and Inxight, Investment research and trading, Voice of the Customer||Leave a Comment|
More precisely, SAP is acquiring Business Objects, and of course Business Objects already acquired Inxight.
This could be interesting …
I’ve been pretty skeptical about Inxight’s Awareness Server. My theory is that ordinary enterprise search engines can index remotely anyway, and they offer much better search functionality. Inxight’s Ian Hersey was kind enough to write in and offer two counter-arguments.
First, Ian points out that there are circumstances when, due to security and permissions, you can’t really index everything via one search engine. Specifically, he offers the government as an example. OK, I can see that in the government, with its classified and/or regulated silos. However, I have trouble thinking of many more examples. While there certainly are plenty of instances where a variety of organizations share information on a somewhat arms-length basis, it’s tough to think of such cases where federated text search would come into play.
Second, Ian in essence disputes my claim of inferior functionality. While implicitly conceding — as well he should! — that Inxight’s Awareness Server doesn’t do some things full-featured search engines do, he points out analytic features that may not be found in conventional search engine offering. The big one he calls out is faceted search — which of course was the core of Intelliseek, the acquisition Awareness Server came from. Hmm. Faceted search has a checkered history, with Excite and Northern Light being perhaps the most visible among many failures. On the other hand, it’s a great idea that keeps being tried, and some versions — notably Endeca’s — have turned out well.
I guess I’ll have to reserve judgment on that part until I look at Inxight’s product and see what they do and don’t actually have.
|Categories: BI integration, Business Objects and Inxight, Endeca, Enterprise search, Search engines||1 Comment|
OK. I secured permission to actually quote the details on something I’d previously dropped a small hint about — stream processing for text messages. Traditionally, that’s been the province of enterprise search companies. A decade ago, Verity had a kernel group of 6-7 engineers under Phil Nelson. They managed to produce not only a decent search engine, but a search engine “turned on its side” as well. I.e., instead of running one query against a corpus, they could run many queries each against documents as they arrived, one document at a time. Subsequently, the same idea has been implemented by most enterprise search providers, at least those that are serious about the intelligence market.
Well, the event-processing guys are active in that market too. At least StreamBase is. Read more
|Categories: Autonomy, Business Objects and Inxight, Enterprise search, Search engines, Text mining||2 Comments|
When a company announces an acquisition, it usually does a round of limited-content briefings, in no small part because the antitrust lawyers won’t let them do anything else. Once the deal closes, antitrust restrictions are lifted, and they do another round of briefings. These, typically, are vague and platitudinous.
Business Objects/Inxight have now reached that point. Even so, my briefing yesterday had some aspects worth writing up. Read more
|Categories: BI integration, Business Objects and Inxight, Enterprise search, Search engines||2 Comments|
Based on a few conversations at the Text Analytics Summit this week, I’ve gotten a richer picture of what’s been going on at Inxight. Here are some highlights: Read more
In a comment posted to this Andy Hayler blog entry, a former Inxight board member mentions Inxight’s broad patent portfolio. I don’t know what defensible value is or isn’t there, but I do know that patent positions are important to Business Objects. Read more