On October 18, 2011, Oracle announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire Endeca, a leading provider of unstructured data management, web commerce and business intelligence solutions (see our original blog post here). The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close before the end of t his year. Here’s the original press release.
Most everyone is familiar with structured data consisting of data that is well organized and comes from ERP systems, custom solutions etc. and generally is organized in a manner which allows that data to be analyzed and reported from. Lesser known, but of increasing importance, is unstructured data. Unstructured data consists of social media information from platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. where users or consumers can post commentary using freeform text. Comments are not necessarily organized. This unstructured text can extend to consumer commentary on product websites, blogs or emails. The rise of social media and the real-time web is making unstructured text more and more critical for companies to be able to analyze.
For example, through the various social media mechanisms mentioned, using powerful unstructured text BI tools such as Endeca, companies can quickly evaluate the unstructured text and begin to make business decisions or combine the unstructured text with structured data and have actionable information. A quick example: if customers comment on a website regarding their experience with a particular product, it normally would take an employee or employees to read the responses and evaluate the consumer sentiment. It may take a significant amount of time to evaluate the sentiment negating the potential value of that data. In today’s ever changing, quick-paced social media environment, it’s more important than ever to stay on top and have the ability to react quickly to fixing a negative experience or promoting a positive one. Understanding whether a consumer had a positive or negative experience proves invaluable for marketing, sales and corrective actions to be made in a very short timeframe.
Take all of this a step farther, when Oracle can combine unstructured data and structured data under the OBIEE platform, companies will have exceptional tools to help make truly informed business decisions based upon quickly changing data.
Fantasy? So far, maybe a bit. In the short term, smart companies will be investing in ways to do exactly this.
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