Great article in Information Week today. Seth believes “Data integration will be a top story in information technology in 2011” – and his view is based on the emergence of the “beyond-ETL” approach. (note ETL is broadly used in data analysis applications and means – extraction, transform, load).
FirstRain is one of the paths Seth discusses – in particular our approach to time-sequencing the web. He quotes Marty – “The application of semantic analysis that is ‘business structure aware’ is crucial to be able to identify and deliver relevant business information that is scattered throughout [disparate] sources,” says the company’s technology vice president, Marty Betz. Also crucial is the ability to synthesize time sequence from pages found on the open Web.
– and I love that even in a simple examples you can quickly see the time issues that show up with Google’s popularity based approach: “Time sequence is important! Indeed, the number-three result returned by a Google search for “us senator pennsylvania” was now-former Senator Arlen Specter’s now-disappeared Senate Web page.”
In contrast – we analyze the flow of content through our pipeline and so our system can dynamically model and adjust its understanding of the market ecosystems around companies and industries – to quote Dr Betz again.
Betz describes the use of trending and anomaly detection, applied to unstructured narrative content from a variety of sources, to enable a different class of questions to be systematically asked, analyzed and answered via answers that require “connecting the dots.”
So in FirstRain we have broad-but-selective content acquisition and integration, with the application of goal-relevant organizing principles, to respond to a high-value business need: timely access to corporate developments.
We definitely agree with Seth that data integration area is an area of significant investment across multiple companies over the next year – to advance ease-of-use and increase the level embedded use and end-user specific integration capabilities.