Text Analytics is the process of discovering information from unstructured text (written and verbal) through the identification of trends, topics and patterns in text documents.  Text analytics software provides you with tools to perform these tasks with the speed and power of modern computing.

Why should you use it? The short answer is because it can be game changer. You will make smarter and better informed business decisions. You will find new insights into your research.  Today, more than ever before, there is a wealth of text-based information waiting to be discovered and used. This is information that can be applied in almost any field of study or to any business.

Just think of all the written (unstructured) text you may be exposed to every day; emails, online reviews, customer comments, open-ended surveys, social media feeds, employee surveys,  supply chain reports, safety and maintenance reports, media coverage, product trials, competitor analysis, blogs, medical records, drug trials, notes from call centers, academic studies, speeches, books and so on. There is more and more text material being produced, by more people, every day. Take the example of social media. The Pew Research Center recently released the results of a survey that showed in 2016, 77% of people in the U.S. used some form of social media compared to just 5% in 2005. A quick snapshot of global users estimates Facebook at more than 1.8 billion, Instagram at 600 million and Twitter at 310 million. And that’s just three platforms.  You can’t possibly sort through all of this information manually, even if you could isolate what is pertinent to your business or area of research. This is where text analytics software comes in.

How it’s used

These tools can be used to understand how customers are linking words or phrases. They are also able use specific locations, time, and other structured data (age, gender, etc.) captured in responses. You can combine emotion and other comments in open-ended questions with likert scale responses in the same survey. For example, you can analyze open-ended comments/suggestions of people who were satisfied and those who were not satisfied with a particular product or service. You can use it to analyze hundreds or thousands of incident reports to improve safety or reduce maintenance costs. Insurance companies can use the software to analyze claims requests and potentially identify fraud.

Companies are using text analytics tools to enhance customer experience, improve customer retention, risk management, quality control, strategic planning, cost savings and efficiency. Organizations use text analytics software to analyze small and extremely large volumes of unstructured text, sourced in almost any format. You can import data directly into the software from XML, Excel, social media, email, PDF, web survey platforms, reference management tools, etc.

Scope and Future

Text analytics software has a strong following and it is growing. Provalis Research alone has more than 4,000 customers in more than 80 countries. These customers are business people in market research and many other fields, governments, NGOs and academics. We believe the use of the technology will continue to grow for several reasons. First, the content will continue to expand. Second, the technology will improve and be easier to use. Third, companies and others will see that it as an essential tool and will realize that to be competitive, text analytics must become part of their skill set.

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