Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Text Mining and Customer Experience - the blog I intend to write...

Since this is my first entry, I'll use this first posting to organize my thoughts and think about what I want to write over the next few days and weeks.

A bit of background:

Who am I - I'm a technology executive with more than a few years working in and around the business intelligence, data warehousing, and more recently the text mining and customer experience management and analysis space. A few years ago I started a text analytics company that's really taken off in 2007. I decided to start the blog to have a place to document my thoughts on the business we're in, the creative ways people are starting to analyze the terabytes and petabytes of unstructured customer-originated data that are increasingly available to business decision makers, and to speculate on issues that are at the intersection of business, information technology, customer experience, marketing, maybe politics, and the pace of change in all of the above...

Over the next few days and weeks ideas I want to write down include:

1) Why is there a market for text analytics, and specifically the business application subset that my company's involved in, which we call Customer Experience Management and Analysis. How did it evolve to be a viable space for a company like the one I'm working for?

2) What the heck should we call the space in 2008? Should the company's space be oriented around a technology (such as text mining, text analytics)? Or should we define our business so that it's more aligned to a specific class of business problems that it solves (i.e. customer experience management and analysis)? A good label for a company should support a nice acronym - should the acronym factor into the naming of the space?

3) What are the benefits our customers get from our solutions? Specifically,
- why do they buy our stuff
- what are the initial benefits they get when they deploy our solutions?
- what's the long term benefit of using our solutions? How do you define ROI up front, and more importantly with sustained use over time? Are our solutions "transformative?" How?

4) When you are building a solution that is grounded in technology components that are packaged and developed into a business solution, (as our company's offerings are), how much do you build, vs, license, vs partner with others in the surrounding ecosystem that supports your business area? What parts of your solution are critical, and differentiating, vs what parts are best accessed via partners? Why did we make some of the technology development decisions that we made when we built our platform? How do we expect our technology to evolve over time?

5) A brief history of Text Mining applied to customer market research -- How did the space evolve? What preceded Customer Experience Management and Analysis? What was the ancient history of the space? I have a view that text mining is a logical evolution of technology and analysis that dates back to the era of mass production, leading through the eras of mass distribution, mass retailing, and now mass consumption, and that as every era has developed over the past century, the market has required "instrumentation" - and that text analytics is the latest instrumentation that is now being applied to business (more on this as I write this post).

6) as an adjunct to posting topic #1, - is the market for text analytics and customer experience management and alalysis "wide open" or are there barriers to new entrants that are making it harder to just enter into the space if you aren't already in the thick of it? What are the critical business and technology factors that any potential entrant needs to consider before diving into this space?

7) Case Studies, Case Studies, Case Studies. If customers won't go on record (if they do you can read about it on the corporate web site), what are the interesting stories that have emerged from our deployments over the past couple of years? Changing the names and perhaps industries to protect the unauthorized, what real insights have customers gleaned through mining through customer experience data? How have they reduced the time, and cost intensity of predecessor approaches to seeking out, examining, and acting on customer experience insights? What "quick wins" have they found? Why are our customers continuing to use our solutions year after year?

8) Case Studies/Lessons learned. What SHOULDN'T Text analytics be used for? What have we learned through trials, tribulations, and failed efforts, and what did we need to do to turn lemons into lemonade? How can you avoid making mistakes by learning from our experiences?

9) What is the Customer Experience Maturity Model, and where do you sit on it? Why is it important to move up the curve from customer experience "novice" to custome experience "guru?"

10) Political Experience Management and Analysis - what can we learn from the presidential campaigns about mining customer sentiment, experience, and using it to sharpen your "customer experiences" and relationships?

11) Our Partner Ecosystem - what is it now? What do I want it to be? How can you be a partner of our company if you're a prospect, consultant, marketing services company, systems integrator, data provider, or just an interested party?

If I can get all these topics written, I should have a resonable blog. If anybody has additional ideas for posts, feel free to comment.

Happy 2008. Challenge me....