Measurement & Instrumentation

Mining text - A new way to increase ROI and reduce churn

by Avinash Bhaskar 03 Mar 2011
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I recently started with a new research on exploring the exciting technology area of text mining. The more I have learnt about the technology, the more I have realised the wonderful implications that it could potentially have on such multi-billion dollar sectors such as retail, banking & financial sector and healthcare.

What the heck is text mining??

Text mining unlike the more established data mining is all about looking for business values in unstructured data, which is any data that exists in textual format such as e-mails, blogs, word documents and many many more. Essentially, what I am saying is;  if you love your business and want to stop customer churn and want to improve the relations with your customers and since more than 80% of the data exists in textual format and then text mining tool is the right software for you. Text mining tools are marketed as social media monitoring tools or listening platforms , mainly because these tools help scan the entire web to identify who is the influencer behind a conversation, what are customers saying about your company and what do they expect from a product or in other words do they have good or bad opinion about a product. Now, these are some very nice information to have for enterprises if they want to reduce customer churn and provide better customer service. Even traditional business intelligence/data mining vendors such as SPSS and SAP have come up with text mining modules that integrates well with their bigger data mining platforms.

Ok.. now I get it, but who are the vendors?

Currently the market is crowded with text mining vendors. These vendors could market themselves as social media monitoring tool vendors or listening platform vendors. Lithium Technologies, Radian6 and Clarabridge are some of the leading vendors (there are many more with different bragging rights and rightly so!). Their tools are extremely user friendly as these can be used by anyone in the organisation. Their dashboards can help visualize the collected data in real time, can provide charts and figures on the data collected .. essentially they help in making sense on the tons of data that was collected by crawling through web and other data sources. The sentiment tools help in rating if an opinion expressed by the customer on a product or brand is positive or negative. Although there are some limitations which are associated with sentiment analysis tools such as irony and sarcasm!.

What if I want to get into the market?

The total market for text mining tools is growing in double digits. We estimate that the current market size is about $400 million globally and could grow to reach a billion dollars in the next five years. Ofcourse, the addressable multibillion dollar markets could take the market revenues from text mining tools much higher provided these addressable markets adopt text mining tools rapidly. I recommend that they do!.

Overall, the path for text mining tools is extremely rosy considering how consumers are adopting social media to express anything .. starting from when they went to take a shower to deliberating extensively on how ipad2 rocks!.

Now I am off to exploring the mega market of tools to mine structured data!.



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