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IBM Unstructures Biz Intelligence

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-15

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On Wednesday, IBM plans to unveil its WebSphere Content Discovery for Business Intelligence solution, an enterprise search and unstructured information discovery software. IBM calls it an "industry first" for its ability to gather and understand unstructured information from audio, video, comments, and others.

Working with Cognos to integrate the solution with Cognos 8 Business Intelligence and Cognos Go!, IBM built upon the open source Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA), a framework for connecting different text analytics modules, which helps identify and extract specific business information from unstructured data, such as comments, description and notes fields that are typically found in most applications for users to enter more details about a claim, a problem or a transaction.

The knowledge, says IBM, enables users to seamlessly access supporting documents, such as contracts, spreadsheets, project plans, scanned images, audio, video, e-mail and other correspondence, directly from within their business intelligence applications to provide valuable context for business decisions.

"There have been several announcements recently about search for BI, but none of these address all of the potential customer requirements around this area," an spokesperson for IBM said.

"After all, nobody wants to use one application to search for BI reports, and a different one to search for other documents across their enterprise. Organizations need the ability to directly navigate their BI data from their search application and integrate unstructured information."

For example, a manufacturer may use the solution to dig deeper into product sales, quality issues, return rates and buying patterns to help maximize profits. While conventional BI applications may display quantity, sales and return rate for a product, WebSphere Content Discovery for Business Intelligence can extract data from call center and warranty claims notes to help uncover reasons why return rates are high -- information not easily accessible through other search and business intelligence solutions.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee is using the solution in a pilot program to get a more 360 view of health care providers.

"This includes structured relational data from our enterprise data warehouse, internal and external web content, as well as unstructured data from other content sources such as free-form call center notes," said Frank Brooks, senior manager of data resource management, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee. "By pulling this information into a single view, we are able to save time, make quicker decisions, and provide better service to our customers."

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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