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SAP’s own private eye

by Laura Casasanto

October 20, 2010

Between the rainy walk from the Mirage to the Pallazo in the morning and the rainy walk back tonight, I fit in a lot of great sessions today at TechEd here in Las Vegas. There’s one I’ve been thinking a lot about: “Use Text Analysis to Discover What Your Customers Say About You When You’re Not Looking. Sue Hay, a Senior Solution manager for SAP BusinessObjects EIM, explained the Text Data Processing (TDP) functionality of SAP BusinessObjects Data Services that companies can use to search unstructured data externally (e.g., in data across the web) or internally (e.g., in manual spreadsheets) for information that can help direct business.

For example, a consumer products company might be looking for information about how a certain widget is liked. Using text analysis to search the internet, Hay explained, the application can search through reviews, blogs, emails, and press releases, to name just a few sources, to see what people are saying about the widget in places that wouldn’t otherwise be readily apparent to the company.

Hay also talked about how the tool can be used internally. She gave the example of an appliance company that keeps repair logs in a spreadsheet and has pressure from management to get repair costs down. The spreadsheet isn’t highly regimented, so at times fields are left blank or data is entered into the wrong field. The company can use TDP to recognize concepts, part numbers, and problems and normalize the data, revealing the most common issue, facilitating the process of reducing the most common problems.

Or a company could use the tool to search the internet for any small rumblings of mergers or acquisitions by a competitor to gain an early advantage.

I may just be suffering from data overload myself this week, but the tool really amazed me. Maybe it’s just my desire for a tool like TDP that I could apply to my life to sort out all of MY unstructured data.I’ll stop by SAP’s booth tomorrow to see if they can get on that. 

 

- Laura, Project Expert

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