Text Analysis Vendors: Where Are They Now?

August 4, 2016

A year ago I read “20+ Text Mining and Text Analysis Tools.” The sale of Recommind to OpenText and the lack of excitement about search gave me an idea. Where are the companies identified by a mid tier consulting firm today. Let’s take a quick look.

AlchemyAPI. The company now asserts that its powers the “AI economy.” The Web sites has been updated since I last looked. There is a demo and a “free API key.” The system is now a platform. Gartner found the company to be a “cool vendor” in 2014. The company offers a webinar called “Building with Watson.”

Angoss. The company allows a customer to “predict, act, perform.” The focus is now on “customer intelligence in a single analytics tool.” The firm offers “knowledge” products and an insight optimizer.

Attensity. The company has undergone some change. The www.attensity.com Web site 404s. Years ago a text analytics cheerleader professed to be a fan. I think portions of the company operate under a different name in Germany. Appears to be in quiet mode.

Basis Technology. The company provided language reacted tools to outfits like Fast Search & Transfer. Someone told me that Basis dabbled in enterprise search. One high profile executive jumped to a company in Madrid.

Brainspace. The company’s Web site tells me, “We build brains.” The company offers NLP technology. Gartner “recommends” Brainspace for “advanced text analytics for financial institutions.” That’s good. The company does not list too many financial institutions as customers on its home page, however.

Buzzlogix. This company’s focus appears to be squarely on social media. The idea is that the firm helps its customers “listen, learn, and act.” When I visited the Web site, the most recent “news” appeared in November 2015.

Clarabridge. The company focuses on understanding “customer needs, wants, and feelings.” The company provides the “world’s most comprehensive customer intelligence platform.”

Clustify. The company positions its text analytics tools for eDiscovery. The company’s most recent news release is dated January 2014 and addresses the Recommind championed predictive coding approach to figuring out what was what in text documents.

Connexor. The company offers “machinese” demonstrations of its capabilities. The most recent item on the company’s Web site is the April 2015 announcement of a free NLP Web service.

DatumBox. This company is a “machine learning framework” provider. It makes machine learning “simple.” The Web site offers a free API key, which knocks the local KFC manager out as a potential licensee. The company’s most recent blog post is dated March 16, 2016. The most recent release is 0.7.0.

Eaagle. This is a company focused on the “new frontier of effective customer relationship management, research, and marketing.” Customers include HermanMiller, Chubb, and Suncor Energy. Data sheets, white papers, and documentation are available and no registration is necessary. Eaagle maintains a low profile.

ExpertSystem. The company bought Temis, a firm based on some ideas in the mind of a former IBM wizard. ExpertSystem, a publicly traded company, is pursuing the pharmaceutical industry and performing independent text analyses of Melania Trump’s and Michelle Obama’s speeches. The two ladies exhibit strong linguistic differences. The company’s stock is trading at $1.81 a share, a bit below Alphabet Google, an outfit also in the text analytics game.

FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation). The company gives “you the power to make smarter decisions.” The company has tallied a number of acquisitions since 1992. Its most recent purchase was Quadmetrics, a predictive analytics company. FICO is publicly traded and the stock is trading at $115.60 a share.

Cognitum. The company asserts that one can “improve your business with the innovation leader in semantic technology.” The company’s main product is Fluent Editor and it offers flagship platform called Ontorion. The firm’s spelling of “scallable” on its home page caught my attention.

IBM. The focus was not on Watson in the listing. Instead, the write up identified IBM Content Analytics as the product to watch. IBM’s LanguageWare uses a range of techniques to process content. IBM is very much in the content processing game with Watson becoming the umbrella “brand.” IBM just tallied is 16th straight quarter of declining revenue.

Intellexer offers text analytics, information security, media content search, and reputation management. The company’s most recent news release, dated May 13, 2016, announces the new version of Conceptmeister “which analyzes text from a photo, cloud documents, and URL.” Essentially this software creates a summary of the source content.

KBSPortal. This company offers natural language processing as a software as a service or NLP as SAAS. A demonstration of the system processes Wikipedia content. A demo video is available. To view it, I was asked to sign in. I declined. The company provides its prices and explains what each component does. Kudos for that approach.

Keatext. The company focuses on “customer experience management.” The company offers a two week free trial of its system. The system incorporates natural language processing. The company’s explanation of what it does requires a bit of digging.

Lexalytics. Lexalytics is in the sentiment analysis business.  The company’s capabilities include categorization and entity extraction. Social media monitoring can be displayed on dashboards. The company posts its prices. When I was involved in a procurement, Lexalytics prices, based on my recollection, were significantly higher than the fees quoted on this page. At one time, Lexalytics engaged in a merger or deal with Infonics. The company acquired Semantria a couple of years ago.

Leximancer. This Australian company’s software turns up in interesting places; for example, the US social security administration in Beltsville, Maryland. The firm’s “text in, insight out” technology emerged from research at the University of Queensland. The company was founded by UniQuest, a techohlogy commercialization company operated by the University of Queensland. The system is quite useful.

Linguamatics. This company has built a following in the pharmaceutical sector. The system does a good job processing academic and research information in ways which can influence certain lines of inquiry. The company now says that it offers the “world’s leading text mining platform.” the company was founded in 2001, and it has been moving along at a steady pace. Quite useful software and capabilities.

Linguasys. Surprised to see an installation profile. The outfit is maintaining a low profile.

Luminoso. The company provides “enterprise feedback and experience analytics.” The company has teamed with another Boston-area outfit, Basis Technologies, to form a marketing partnership. The angle the company seems to be promoting is that if you are using other systems, you can enhance them with text analytics.

MeaningCloud. Meaning cloud asserts that with its system one can “extract valuable information from any text source.” The company’s Text Classification API supports the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s “standard contextual taxonomy.” The focus seems to be on sentiment analysis like Lexalytics.

Megaputer. Located in Bloomington, Indiana, the company offers a range of interesting products. Some of the technical work is performed in Moscow, Russia. The company has new headquarters but maintains a low profile.

NetOwl. This is a system is “wise like an owl.” The core technology dates from 1996. Yep, it is ageing but it delivers a number of useful functions to licensees. The technology is owned by SRA, a government centric consulting and services firm. NetOwl appears to be positioned as a separate outfit. SRA is now formulated as CSRA.

PolyVista. The company takes a friendly approach to text analytics; for example, “Let’s discover actionable insights in your data.” The company combines technology plus consulting servicves. “Happy” customers include Hewlett Packard and Citibank. The company publishes undated articles with no author. I wonder how the firm’s text analytics system handles time and named entities on the company’s posts.

Provalis Research. The company offers products presented in graphics which look like boxed software (remember that?) The company emphasizes that it sees analytics as “creative.” The company, founded in 1989, is based in Montréal, Québec.

Rocket AeroText. The company does not list AeroText as a product. There are entries on the firm’s Web site for analytics and business intelligence. Rocket Discover appears to add value to IBM Cognos. I appreciated the references to mainframe applications. For Rocket insiders, the Web site makes sense. For a first time visitor, expect to spend some time point-and-clicking. The provided search system returns links which do not directly address what caught the attention of the write up’s author.

SAS Text Analytics. My recollection is that SAS bought Teragram and combined that system with some SAS goodies. The product is now called SAS Text Miner. A visit to the Web site puts the buying options and costs front and center. A pop up “Chat Now?” appears. SAS, unlike SPSS, remains a separate outfit.

Dell StatSoft Statistica Text Miner. The description of the system references customer comments, insurance claims, and fraud detection. Text analystics can contribute to these activities. Like SAS, pricing is front and center. The system is an add on to the Statistica Data Miner. Some of the technology dates from the 1980s.

As I worked through this list of 30 companies, I formed several “impressions.”

First, one appears to have gone out of business. Another may not be doing much business. In a tough economy, that is an acceptable failure rate.

Second, a number of companies have focused on customer-related analytics. That makes sense. If a company is losing customers, that outfit will want to figure out why. If a customer has customers and is nervous about losing them, the text analytics vendors can skip the math and focus on the benefits of their systems.

Third, most of the companies  and the products themselves have zero presence outside of the niches each company serves. Some of the firms have many customers; for example, Dell StatSoft and SAS. My hunch is that the profile of the text analytics component is low in comparison to other customer associations. When you hear “IBM,” do you think about LanguageWare. I don’t and probably will forget the association in a couple of days. Marketing seems to be a challenge text analytics vendors have to deal with.

Fourth, the mix of small vendors and large vendors is not surprising. Listicles like this one from a mid tier consulting firm are hamstrung by three ropes: The big outfits buy smaller outfits and offer the functions as an option or embed the function in another, higher value product or service. Next, the small outfits may be intereseting, so leaving them out suggests that the listicle maker did not do a thorough job. Therefore, stick ‘em in. Plus, the listicle is really a door opener for sales if the listicle is chunky. Getting into a phone chat with a company might lead to a sale for the mid tier consulting firm or an ad sale for a traditional “real news” outfit.

Fifth, the competition among the firms is causing some outfits to either lead with “free” offers or put actual prices front and center.

Sixth, there are not too many publicly traded companies in this sample. With venture funding becoming a bit less free flowing, some of the firms may find themselves forced to make some tough decisions. Some of those decisions may make life exciting for the person who pushed the sale through accounting.

What the listicle does not do is provide a sense of what companies are best suited for a specific task. There is zero indication which outfit is a tool box, which is an application one just uses, which requires massive customization, and which has solid financial footing.

Would you want to retain a firm whose engineering is handled by a country not on the best of terms with the US? Would you want to use a company which provides a system only an expert programmer can love? Would you want to license a product only to find that additional components are needed before the system will work the way you expected?

These questions, of course, are not ones that makers of listicles choose to answer. One has to pay handsomely to get high value information.

Hey, a list is a list. That’s something. Too bad it omitted some important vendors which I track. With firms offering technology from the 1980s, I focus more on the entities bringing more current methods to potential customers. Who are these outfits? I name some in CyberOSINT and will identify another batch in the forthcoming Dark Web Notebook. If you want to reserve a copy of the Dark Web Notebook or get the details about our for fee Dark Web webinar, write benkent2020 at yahoo dot com.

Stephen E Arnold, August 4, 2016


2 Responses to “Text Analysis Vendors: Where Are They Now?”

  1. Tom Reamy on August 9th, 2016 1:11 pm

    Hi Steve, as someone interested in text analytics, I invite you to take a look at my new book: Deep Text: Using Text Analytics to Conquer Information Overload, Get Real Value from Social Media, and Add Big(ger) Text to Bid Data – Information Today – http://books.infotoday.com/books/Deep-Text.shtml I would love to get your take on the book.

    Second, I would add two companies to your list – BA Insight and Smartlogic. There are lots of others as you know Including Cambridge Semantics, Concept Searching , and Data Harmony. There does seem to be a big split between social media analysis companies and enterprise text analytics although some like SAS offer both.

  2. Matti Airas on September 19th, 2016 6:38 am

    Hi Stephen, I am not sure you covered all the companies. Connexor created a spin-off called Etuma in 2011. It is now of the leading multi-language open-text feedback analytics companies in Europe. It categorizes all discussions on topic sentiment level. It has created productized categorizatio schemes for 20 industries. Customers include art.com, PostNL, Betsson, Finnair, art.com, multiple large (>10beur) retailers, travel companies, banks, hospital chains. Partners include Qualtrics, Questback and Tieto. Etuma has customers and sales partners in 9 countries.

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