Hi, there! First of all, let me introduce myself, as this is my first blog. I am Simran Bagga, and three weeks ago I became the Product Manager for Text Analytics at SAS. This role might be new to me, but text analytics is not. For the past 12 years, I have helped customers in government, health care, and small businesses understand the value and application of text analytics to enhance their existing business processes. From simple questions to complex application requirements, I have heard it all. And I have seen the field evolve over the years from many different perspectives.
Organizations in every industry have realized the potential of tapping into unstructured text and are embracing the power of this capability at a rapid rate. They want to leverage both internal and external information to solve a variety of different problems. The applications of text analytics are many, from enhancing the customer experience to gaining efficiencies in solving criminal investigations.
One of the misconceptions I often see is the expectation that it takes a data scientist, or at least an advanced degree in analytics, to work with text analytics products. That is not the case. If you can type a search into a Google toolbar, you can get value from text analytics.
An investigative agency recently asked me, “Our focus is closing cases quickly by connecting the dots and finding linkages between incidents. Can SAS help our crime analysts be more effective so they can drill into the incident narratives like a traditional business intelligence application and find that needle in the haystack?”
I love it when customers ask such easy questions. The answer is, “Absolutely.”
I am really excited about a SAS cloud-based offering that many people might not be aware of: the SAS® Text Exploration Framework. This provides an easy, search-based interface for all relevant information, presented in a compelling and visual way, to virtually any question you want to ask of the data.
The crime analysts desired the ability for free text search – a search that gave them smart results. Rather than sifting through hundreds of documents that had the term “firearm theft,” for example, they wanted to be prompted for the different crime areas and incident types where those terms were found. The SAS Text Exploration Framework allows them do exactly that and more. They can focus on incidents that occurred within certain time frames, locations, etc. – and ones that are associated with specific crime categories or subcategories – so they can identify linkages across incidents. Terms of interest are highlighted so they can see where they are referenced and explore the data graphically.
The excitement in the room was palpable when the users saw this application of text analytics. A question came up: Can we actually visualize links between entities (criminals, gangs, weapons, etc.) and incidents with the ability to drill down to identify social networks, gang-related crimes, and so forth? The social network capability within the framework supports this type of visualization nicely:
Various user personas – analysts (data scientists), business analysts, computer scientists, decision makers – want to use analytics to make data-driven decisions, but in different ways. The challenge is how to appeal to all these personas and meet their expectations with individualized text analytics applications, from data-driven algorithms and business rules to applications solving specific problems and cognitive computing.
SAS certainly has the technology and expertise to meet each of these needs. But I am here to understand your needs, what matters to you, and to represent the voice of the customer: your voice – an aspect of my new role that I truly enjoy and am excited about. So don’t hesitate to reach out.