Text analysis in 2008

I was asked by someone recently what I thought would be a major trend in text analysis (or text analytics, but I prefer analysis) in 2008. We covered this ground in 451’s annual preview of storage and information management. That’s available to 451 customers only, but the sub-title of the section on search and text analysis was ‘The big vendors move in.’

That referred as much to to search as it did to text analysis, with the emergence of Oracle and SAP as players in the search market along with IBM. t mentioned Microsoft but at that time, it looked as if Redmond was content to continue developing its own stuff. But then it bought Fast Search & Transfer (FAST) and that changed things. And, I think, along with SAP’s ownership of Business Objects, and by extension text analysis player Inxight Software, it may mean 2008 is a year if not quite of stasis, then certainly of a slower pace of innovation.

FAST had a lot of interesting stuff in its labs, probably too much judging by the financial mess it got itself into mid-2007. But it will be distracted this year as it gets subsumed into Microsoft and it ties itself ever tightly to the Microsoft platform. And similarly for thew 3 to 4 months that Business Objects owned Inxight as an independent company we heard a fair amount about its plans to leverage iunstructured information. Now SAP owns it, we may hear a lot less.