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Text Analytics Goes Mainstream: Vision Critical Acquires DiscoverText

This move clearly indicates that text analytics is within the MR wheelhouse and is not the sole domain of business intelligence. I’ve been a very public advocate of text analytics approaches and companies in the past for this very reason.



The latest GRIT study (results coming in February!) continued to show the trend of immense interest in communities, text analytics, social media analytics, and mobile.



In line with these trends, we’ve seen some movement by research technology platforms to connect some level of text analytics into their solutions, most notably the Confirmit partnership with Clarabridge and the full integration of basic text analysis into Google Consumer Surveys. To date though, no one has acquired an advanced solution with the intention of embedding it within their core platform. That has been the “Undiscovered Country” for insights firms.

Well, as today’s’ news of Vision Critical acquiring DiscoverText indicates, we’ve crossed the Rubicon and are now a significant step closer to developing platforms that are truly based upon developing common informational frameworks in a deeply holistic and integrated way. It should come as no surprise that Vision Critical, a company that has embraced the concept of the “community panel” being the insights hub, is the first company to commit to integrated text analytics in a big way.

Here is a snippet of the press release:

“Our clients engage their customers and stakeholders through insight communities to make better, faster, more customer-centric decisions,” said Scott Miller, Group CEO of Vision Critical. “As we continue to marry qualitative and quantitative analysis, this new technology combines a machine learning, language agnostic, text analytics solution with our insight communities. This is a game changer for us, for our partners and for our clients.”

The science behind DiscoverText simplifies and accelerates the process of discovering insights through open ended surveys, email, discussions and social media conversations. Its unique algorithms enable businesses to analyze sentiment, discover trends and topics, and quickly identify emerging issues directly from customer feedback. Once incorporated into Vision Critical insight communities, customers will gain continuous and on-demand access to findings that are exceptionally intuitive and profoundly accurate.

“DiscoverText has the power to capture, filter, de-duplicate, cluster, search, human code and machine classify large numbers of small, unstructured units of text–features that are invaluable to Vision Critical customers,” said Dr. Shulman, CEO of Texifter. “I’m pleased to join forces with Vision Critical as we take DiscoverText to the next level, and I look forward to helping customers continue to obtain critical insights from various audiences.”

I think Vision Critical nailed it. Brands are looking for data integration and synthesis. They want a 360 view of the consumer and how consumers relate to their brand. Ultimately, they want to leverage the power of data to predict behavior so that they can sell more stuff. The traditional focus of insights providers on leveraging new technologies to produce discrete opportunities to collect data just isn’t enough; we have to focus on combining all data channels into a holistic framework. I’ll even take it a step further; we need to craft methodologies that add direct bottom line impact by engaging consumers in an ongoing relationship with brands. Platform based data synthesis poses perhaps the greatest opportunity to redefine this paradigm.

This move also has some very pragmatic benefits to Vision Critical customers. As unstructured data continues to far outpace structured data as the dominant informational form in the world, especially in an MROC setting, the ability for Vision Critical clients to analyze that data quickly and cost effectively becomes a key product differentiator. The gauntlet has been thrown down to their competitors in this space and it will be interesting to see how they respond.

Vision Critical has always been excellent at crafting a masterful  UX combined with enterprise level functionality, and this is just one more example of their leadership there as well. Vision Critical has always been more quant focused than others in the MROC space and now they will have a bridge to apply quant scale analytics to more qualitative approaches within their platform. It’s a great strategy to truly enable research hybridization within a single platform.

Finally, as we circle back around to the beginning of this post, this move clearly indicates that text analytics is within the MR wheelhouse and is not the sole domain of business intelligence. I’ve been a very public advocate  of text analytics approaches and companies in the past  for this very reason; it’s wonderful tool to help increase efficiency, decrease costs, and ultimately derive more value from research initiatives.  It looks like Vision Critical agrees, and now we can begin the process of embracing the real needs of clients; providing insight driven business impact.

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5 responses to “Text Analytics Goes Mainstream: Vision Critical Acquires DiscoverText

  1. It is very pleasing to us at DigitalMR to see another player in the industry to go down the same path that we have started back in 2010. I am not saying this with the intention to boast that we had this vision first (which is critical for our future…no pun intended :)) , I am saying it to stress that we see it as a confirmation that it was a sensible decision. In my experience the curse of the first movers is that they need to educate the market before they can sell whilst it is easier to sell when multiple players are pitching for the same solutions. In other words the Vision Critical move will help us grow the product category (the pie) for the benefit of those of us in this business at the moment just DigitalMR and Vision Critical as far as I know. I will be happy to learn through this forum that there are more out there.
    Michalis A. Michael

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