CRM, BI Vendor SAS Acquires Teragram
March 18, 2008
SAS, a vendor of business intelligence and analytics products, has announced the acquisition of privately held Teragram (News - Alert), a vendor of natural language processing and advanced linguistic technology.
SAS (News - Alert) officials say the acquisition will improve the company’s own text mining and analytical BI offerings, and "extend them to enterprise and mobile search."
"The addition of Teragram's domain expertise and NLP technology will change the landscape of the BI and analytics markets," said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight.
Teragram, a 40-person firm headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be run as a SAS company. Terms of the acquisition deal were not disclosed. Teragram's NLP customer base includes CNN, Forbes.com, Sony, WashingtonPost.com, Wolters Kluwer, the World Bank and Yahoo!.
"As the data explosion continues, companies need an intelligent way to make sense of it all, whether data is in structured databases or in the huge variety of unstructured sources," said Yves Schabes, President of Teragram.
Teragram's natural language processing technologies help turn text -- in many languages and from many sources -- into useable information. SAS officials say it enables "richer data processing at the level of words, linguistic relations and word meanings." Teragram has developed and maintains large annotated dictionaries containing several hundred million words in more than 30 languages.
Business management expert Bill Jensen first decried the downsides of today's information explosion back in 2001, in his book Simplicity. According to his research, echoed by others, the most conservative estimates currently show that business information is doubling every eighteen months. This data flood has only grown more pronounced in recent years, and much of it lies outside traditional structured databases.
According to estimates, unstructured data comprises up to 70 percent of all business data. This unstructured data resides in customer comments and service notes, e-mail and chat threads, documents and surveys, blogs and RSS feeds, warranty claims, resumes, voice-mail and phone logs, among other sources.
Today's announcement came at SAS Global Forum, the largest annual SAS users group conference, attended by more than 3,000 business and IT users of SAS software and products.
Last month SAS officials announced their "31st straight year of revenue growth," with 2007 revenue of $2.15 billion, up 15 percent over 2006 results.
CEO Jim Goodnight said SAS is "free to focus on what organizations want -- raw data assets transformed into information."
Twitting software industry pundits who have predicted slower future growth in the BI market, Goodnight noted that BI applications accounted for 29 percent of SAS' 2007 revenue, and declared "we are not seeing a downward trend."
In related news, research firm Gartner (News - Alert) placed SAS in the Leaders Quadrant of its "Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms, 2008.
In "The Forrester (News - Alert) Wave: Business Performance Solutions, Q4 2007," Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Paul D. Hamerman reported that SAS business performance products are "well integrated on its business intelligence platform," adding that SAS business performance offerings have "particular depth in predictive analytic forecasting, cost and profitability management and industry-specific products."
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