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The future of text analytics

I had a chance to present today to a big crowd at the Enterprise Search Summit in New York City on the future of text analytics. Although I’ve spent many years on text search technology, it turns out that the same gizmos do a great job on text analytics, too. You can download my slides on the Search for Meaning, but I wanted to make a point here that many people misunderstand what these futuristic presentations ought to do.

text analytics diagram


I remember once giving a pitch about the future of something or other and being told afterwards, “Wow, you are really a visionary!” That was not good, because what it really meant was, “Wow, I don’t need to do a blessed thing about anything you talked about.”
Presentations about the future should never be about things that are so far in the future that no one needs to do them. What I tried to do today was to talk to the audience about things that real customers are doing now, but that are not yet mainstream. So the future of text analytics is that these kinds of applications that are newsworthy now will become mainstream in the future.
So, someday, many companies will be analyzing e-mails to test regulatory compliance by their employees. One day, many companies will be analyzing customer feedback from call centers, Web forms, and e-mail to find out what they are struggling with. And which parts of their product don’t work very well. It will become commonplace for health care institutions to analyze doctor’s notes to monitor which treatments correlate with poor patient outcomes.
That’s what these futuristic presentations need to be—not scenic vistas of some faraway day. If that’s what you’re talking about, then how can anyone ever check to see if you were right? If you wait long enough, almost everything happens, so who cares?
I prefer to talk about real things that most people don’t know about yet. Or things they believe are out of the reach. Or not possible yet. Then a pitch about the future could become your real future.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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