April 23, 2013
This week the Text Radar advanced intelligence blog covered a myriad of articles related to the big data deluge and its impact on a variety of different sectors.
One example of the unique ways that big data is being used is seen in “Using Big Data to Geotag the History of Human Events.” The article discusses a database that aims to contain a list of every event in human history.
Why is database journalism important? The author explains:
“It matters because historians have long feared that we live in a digital dark ages - where our history will have vanished when future generations try to look back on these electronic decades.
That is the purpose of GDELT: Global Data on Events, Location and Tone. Primarily set up by Kalev Leetaru at the University of Illinois it is literally a giant list: over 250m events in over 300 categories from riots and protests to diplomatic exchanges and peace appeals.
Crucially, it contains latitude and longitude for every event – all of them are now geotagged to city level.”
There are other ways that big data is having a big impact. “Kenneth Cukier on Big Data and How it is Changing Our World” explains the impact that big data is having on journalism and patient care and treatment in healthcare.
The article characterizes big data as:
“There is no concrete definition and that is probably a good thing since to define is also to limit. But it’s not woolly either. We can understand big data by its features, and the central one is this: we can do things with a huge corpus of data that we are unable to do with smaller amounts, to extract new insights and create new sources of value. This encompasses things like machine learning, in which we have self-driving cars and decent language translation.”
While big data is certainly taking off in the United States and around the world, there remain more than a few skeptics. “Daniel Rasmus on Skepticism with Big Data Implementation” explains that healthy skepticism is important when discussing such a large topic.
The article states:
“Rasmus explains that asking data for an answer involves serious programming needs, such as selecting relevant data, normalizing it, and producing results that a human or machine can act upon. It is tricky business. The article provides an in-depth review of the topic and what seem to be valid issues worth considering.”
Lucky for those that find big data research daunting, there are plenty of experts out there to help. We highly recommend Smartlogic’s Semaphore Content Intelligence Platform to add meaning to your data and deliver actionable insights.
Jasmine Ashton, April 23, 2013
April 22, 2013
As the relationship between Big Data and analytics continues to grow so does the number of enterprise analytics applications. There are now a variety of applications designed to help enterprises get the most from their Big Data. The Enterprise Apps Today article “5 More Buzz-worthy Big Data Analytics Apps” gives an overview of the analytic tools Concurrent, Birst, SAS, Clearstory Data and Terracotta. Concurrent Lingual is a free open source project that was designed to work with Apache Hadoop. It uses Cascading application framework which allows SQL users to use their existing skills to run application on Hadoop without needing additional training. Birst Big Data is notable because experts say it helps to eliminate a vast majority of the upfront investment that is generally required to leverage Big Data. SAS Visual Analytics uses an in-memory engine to help speed up the analytics as well as the visualization process. Mark Torr, director of the SAS Global Center of Excellence stated
“SAS Visual Analytics enables creation and dissemination of dashboards, reports and the results of investigative exploration either through the Web or to native mobile applications running on an iPad or Android tablet. We believe that we are the only vendor that has analytics in-built rather than tagged-on through call outs to other services.”
“Terracotta In-Genius sits on top of Terracotta’s BigMemory 4.0 in-memory data platform. It comes with event stream processing and messaging, is said to process one million event transactions per second, identify patterns and create action items based on predicted behavior. It is also certified to operate with Oracle, SAP Hana and Hadoop.”
ClearStory Data gives users the ability to discover, analyze as well as consume data from data sources including Hadoop and Web and social application interfaces. For me these apps were new but regardless they definitely seem to bring a little something extra to the table when it comes to Big Data and analytics.
April Holmes, April 22, 2013
April 21, 2013
Social media analysis has become popular among marketers, but many businesses have no idea what their return on investment is with these tools. In fact, we learn from BtoB‘s “4 Things to Remember About Social Media Analytics,” a recent survey by BtoB found that just 41 percent of marketers even try to measure their social ROI. Why?
Writer Karen J. Bannan cites Altimeter analyst Susan Etlinger, who says the problem is rooted in fuzzy intentions from the beginning of companies’ venture into social media. You have to have a goal before you can measure progress toward it. A related problem lies in deciding how to use the data you collect.
Bannan offers four points to keep in mind when approaching social media analytics. First, she notes that measuring whether a company or product is mentioned means little if you don’t know the sentiment within the comments. Are folks praising or panning? Another point emphasizes the need for careful human judgment. Item number two reads:
“Some of the most important social mentions won’t use your company or product names. The idea of brand monitoring is not as valid as many believe, said David Rabjohns, CEO of MotiveQuest, a social market research firm. ‘When people are talking about something in social, 95% of them aren’t going to mention a product because they are talking about brands as enablers of their passion,’ he said. ‘But marketers think that everyone is talking about their brand.’ Marketing is evolving from storytelling to story listening, he said. Again, marketers need to be on sites where customers are spending time and listen carefully to everything they say—not just pay attention to specific keywords or phrases that show up in reports.”
Ah, but is that too much of a labor investment for most companies?
The article goes on to observe that there is a wide array of metrics tools available, and companies should choose carefully. Look for one that emphasizes insights that can be applied to decision-making. Scalability is another huge plus. Finally, be aware of the differences between social media flavors. For example, while a Pinterest post is nigh eternal, a tweet will lose relevance very quickly.
Cynthia Murrell, April 21, 2013
April 18, 2013
I read the troubling write up “Q1 Venture Capital Spending And Number Of Deals Down, M&A Activity Drops 44 Percent And Pre-Money Valuations Plummet”. Try as I might, I could not see much good news in the data presented.
The main point of the write up was in my opinion:
Deals in Information Technology (IT), Healthcare, Energy and Utilities, and Industrial Goods all declined, and deals in Business and Financial Services, Consumer Goods, and Consumer Services investment increased from the previous quarter.
For companies in the search, content processing, and analytics sector with a consumer angle, the good news is that money may continue to flow and may, in some cases, spike.
For other types of outfits, money may become more difficult to get. If a funding source is available, my hunch is that investors may be taking increasingly critical looks at the companies ingesting money. How does one age a Type A 35 year old senior manager? My thought is, “Ask for actions that deliver revenue, not marketing puffery.” I am probably off base, but the Techcrunch story suggests that a downward trend may be upon us.
One cannot forget that the investors’ expectation is a return. For companies in the old “search” space, revenues are going to be needed to avoid one of those legendary investor actions: Top management replacement, fire sale, forced merger, intellectual property auction, shut down, or some similar step.
Going forward, search, content processing, and analytics vendors are going to have to generate more revenue. In short, the squeezable days of the last three years may be going away.
Can the search, content processing, and analytics vendors which have taken sums ranging from a few million (BA Insight, Digital Reasoning) to tens of millions (Attivio, Coveo) to hundreds of millions (Palantir) deliver significant top line growth and demonstrate a here-and-now value proposition? One or more of these companies will definitely perform. The ones which do not? Well, that’s what makes search and content processing so darned interesting.
One of my financial clients has asked me to poke around with some numbers and market appetite. No results in hand yet. The project is interesting.
Stephen E Arnold, April 18, 2013
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April 18, 2013
Analytics outfit McKinsey is engaged in a savvy marketing effort. The company now offers a newsletter packed with information on big data, the McKinsey Quarterly, first published in March. For example, they help businesses put together big-data strategies with their first article, while the second details three key challenges of data analytics. This month, they have turned to a crucial market segment; the company tells us:
“Two additional articles–the first set in a series on how analytics has been changing key industries–apply these insights specifically to health care. The Big-Data Revolution in US Health Care: Accelerating Value and Innovation explains why analytics could transform the sector. How Big Data Can Revolutionize Pharmaceutical shows a way forward for companies struggling with declining success rates and stagnant pipelines. Both include video interviews with McKinsey directors, who discuss the challenges that organizations face.”
McKinsey is proud to provide well-informed management consulting services to organizations in a variety of fields around the world. The veteran company was founded in 1926, during the early days of management theory. More recently, McKinsey has prudently seized upon technology as a natural addition to the core considerations of strategy, organization, and operations.
Cynthia Murrell, April 18, 2013
April 17, 2013
Big data and analytics means more than just helping companies wade through unstructured data to make better decisions. In this time of economic woe, it also means jobs. Few other places outside of fracking are people hiring like they are for the big data revolution, as we learned from a recent Government News article, “SAIC Builds Victorian Cyber Security Center.”
According to the story:
“Global research and development company, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) will develop the regional cyber security centre to support its efforts for the Australian Government and industry clients. The researchers will also be involved with developing software applications associated with SAIC subsidiary CloudShield Technologies Inc, and TeraText products. According to the Victorian Government, the centre will create 50 skilled jobs involved with the facility over the next three years.”
As we have heard from several other sources, the big data job market is booming. Dice recently broke down the outlook for the market and what skills data experts need. Saying: “The expected market for Big Data is expected to surpass $100 billion…This means that employment opportunities in the area will increase.” We agree and see this as a boom time to get into the industry that logically isn’t going anywhere, since we are producing more and more data all the time and need someone to manage it.
Patrick Roland, April 17, 2013
April 16, 2013
Speed is the key. We can talk about a lot of different elements that help build successful big data and analytics, but at the end of the day a program’s speed is the thing that matters above all else. Shaving a few seconds off organizing unstructured data can add up to a lot over the lifecycle of a business and there are some impressive steps being taken to avoid wasting time with unnecessary data, as we discovered in a recent Data Center Knowledge story, “IBM Advances Big Data Platform, PureData System for Hadoop.”
According to the story:
“IBM BLU Acceleration delivers key information to users faster by extending the capabilities of traditional in-memory systems – which allows data to be loaded into Random Access Memory instead of hard disks for faster performance – by providing in-memory performance even when data sets exceed the size of the memory. Innovations in BLU Acceleration include “data skipping,” which allows the ability to skip over data that doesn’t need to be analyzed…”
IBM’s breakthrough couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, because Computer Weekly has just released a story about the millions companies waste on storing and dealing with unnecessary data. Read it here. The key with all this is streamlining. Business moves faster than ever so any step that can be taken to minimize drag is welcomed.
Patrick Roland, April 16, 2013
April 16, 2013
This week the Text Radar big data, content intelligence, and compliance blog covered some interesting articles covering the impact that big data has on our industry.
“Putting Big Data in the Human Context” explores the lack of objectivity in some analytics initiatives. The author explains how massive data sets are closely linked to physical place and human culture:
“Data and data sets are not objective; they are creations of human design. We give numbers their voice, draw inferences from them, and define their meaning through our interpretations. Hidden biases in both the collection and analysis stages present considerable risks, and are as important to the big-data equation as the numbers themselves.”
This is a unique way of looking at big data. Another post that focuses on the human experience of big data is, “Big Data Needs Human Input and the Right Technology.” The article explains that it is problematic to completely rely on big data systems.
The article states:
“However, the author points out that a complete reliance on systems over human strategy would be a mistake for businesses. The human element adds ingenuity and analytic prowess to number-crunching. Schwartz adds that relying simply on data leads many people to mistake correlation for causation.”
The third article that I would like to highlight explains how small businesses are beginning to get on board the big data bandwagon. “Small Businesses are Tapping Into Big Data” explains how big data offers big opportunities for small business marketing.
The article explains:
“Many small companies want to improve their marketing by pinpointing the best sales prospects through social media. Peter Bordes, founder and chief executive officer of 10-employee, New York City-based Internet Media Labs, says small businesses can analyze what their customers are saying online ‘to engage in much more meaningful conversations with potential or existing customers, because that big data allows them to understand [those customers] better.’”
For those small and large businesses that are a little late to the big data game, using a third party solution to can help remove some of the subjectivity in business decision making. In order to turn your big data into smart content, consider Smartlogic’s Semaphore Content Intelligence Platform.
Jasmine Ashton, April 16, 2013
April 15, 2013
If there’s one thing we can count on with analytic news it is the idea of familiar names popping up in unexpected places. That was our initial instinct upon reading a recent Sys-Con story, “Innovative Analytics—Changing the IT Landscape.”
The biggest surprise was this tidbit of news:
“IBM is a late entrant into developing a core product focused on log analytics leveraging new technologies. Their new product is promising as it integrates competencies from multiple software divisions as well as the recent Vivisimo acquisition. This combination of products brings the challenge of integration and installation, while allowing the new product to pull strengths of multiple best-of-breed products. By integrating systems manuals as an additional source to identify specific problems, this new workload analytics capability will be a good addition for existing and new IBM Tivoli customers.”
We were pleased to see a solid company like Vivisimo get so much praise here. It is well deserved as their stock continues to rise. To illustrate, we also caught them in a recent edition of Washington Business Journal. There’s something to be said for garnering so much press in a small window of time. To us, it means people are catching on and focusing on this company. The media can tell you a lot in that way.
Patrick Roland, April 15, 2013
April 14, 2013
Recommind is embracing the healthcare market. Marketwire shares, “Recommind Will Be First Time Speaker and Sponsor at World Health Care Congress Conference.” With legal conquered, it looks like the company is on to new adventures. We learn from the press release:
“Recommind, a leader in unstructured data management, analysis and governance technology, today announced it will be sponsoring and speaking for the first time at the World Health Care Congress (WHCC) event on April 8-10 at the Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland. Recommind will join the global health care community of business, political, and academic leaders to actively share information and collaborate to improve the overall quality and cost of health delivery in the US and throughout the world.”
The company hosted a speaking session, at which they advised attendees on key analytics issues, like implementing an efficient infrastructure, communicating information back to providers, analytics-informed preventative programs, and sharing improved outcomes. It is good to see the company branching into the spirited medical arena.
Experts at handling unstructured data, Recommind provides search-powered analysis and governance solutions to customers around the world. These tools are built around on their CORE information management platform. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company was formed in 2000.
Cynthia Murrell, April 14, 2013