Attensity in PR Full court Press

March 2, 2010

Risking the quacking of the addled goose, Attensity sent me a link to its “new” voice of the customer service. I have been tracking Attensity’s shift from deep extraction for content processing to customer support for a while. I posted on the site a map of search sectors, and Attensity is wisely focusing on customer support. You can read the “new” information about customer support at the company’s VOC Community Advantage page. The idea is to process content to find out if customers are a company’s pals. Revenues and legal actions can also be a helpful indicator too.

What interested me was the link to the Attensity blog post. “Leveraging Communities through Analytic Engines” presents an argument that organizations have useful data that can yield insights. I found this passage interesting:

Analytical engines cannot stop at simply producing a report for each community; they have to become a critical part of the platform used by the organizations to interact with and manage their customers. This platform will then integrate the content generated by all channels and all methods the organization uses to communicate, and produce great insights that can be analyzed for different channels and segments, or altogether.  This analysis, and the subsequent insights, yield far more powerful customer profiles and help the organization identify needs and wants faster and better. Alas, the role of analytical engines for communities is not to analyze the community as a stand-alone channel, although there is some value on that as a starting point, but to integrate the valuable data from the communities into the rest of the data the organization collects and produce insights from this superset of feedback.

Now this is an interesting proposition. The lingo sounds a bit like that cranked out by the azure chip crowd, but that’ is what many search and content processing vendors do now? Wordsmithing.

An “analytical engine” – obviously one like Attensity’s – is an integration service. In my opinion this elevation of a component of text processing to a much larger and vital role sounds compelling. The key word for me is “superset”. This notion of taking a component and popping it up a couple of levels is what a number of vendors are pursuing. Search is not finding. Search is a user experience. Metatagging is not indexing. Metatagging is the core function of a content management system.

I understand that need to make sales, and as my diagram shows, the effort is leading to marketing plays that focus on positioning search and content processing technologies as higher value solutions. From a marketing point of view, this makes sense. The problem is that most vendors are following this path. What happens is that the technical plumbing does one or two things quite well and then some other things not so well.

Many vendors run into trouble with connectors or performance or the need for new coding to “hook” services together. Set Attensity aside, how many search and content processing vendors have an architecture that can scale economically, quickly, and efficiently? In my experience, scaling, performance, and flexibility – not the marketing lingo – make the difference. Just my opinion.

Stephen E Arnold, March 2, 2010

No one paid me to write this. I suppose I have to report poverty to the unemployment folks. Ooops. Out of money like some of the search and content processing vendors.


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