On the Info Fast Track

Putting a new spin on search, Fast Search & Transfer (FAST)
has released a new enterprise application
at the intersection of content management and market intelligence.

The offering, dubbed Marketrac, helps users at large companies and
government agencies locate and analyze documents and data from disparate
sources (225 formats and 77 languages) that are needed to make informed
business decisions.

For example, a company’s public relations team could customize the software
to scan a variety of media sources for reports that mention the firm or its
business sector.

Staffers are presented with the results via a portal, which gives team members the
same information at the same time, thus reducing the amount of time searching the Web and
e-mailing relevant links to colleagues. There is also a real-time alert
feature.

But what makes the offering unique from traditional news aggregation feeds
is a “sentiment analysis tool.” Based on an algorithm that breaks down
documents, paying close attention to adjectives and adverbs, the technology
rates whether the tone of the article is positive or negative.

With this, users can either see if their efforts are effective or if they’ve
failed to convey a certain point or defend a certain charge by a
competitor. By setting a range of dates, users can also track trends: is the
company’s name getting better or worse in public perception?

“It’s not just searching for presence or absence of terms. Now you have
the ability to further crack open the DNA of the document,” Lee Phillips,
FAST’s director of intelligence solutions, told internetnews.com.

Among the test cases are a health care company, an investment firm and a
telecom carrier. FAST also recognizes a need for the tool among government
agencies and political campaigns. In each case, FAST builds a customized
dictionary based on industry-specific terms, Phillips said.

The company will use increased worker productivity as a selling point. The
research firm IDC estimates that more than 22 percent of corporate workers’
time is spent searching for information in databases and online.

Marketrac’s auditing tools could offer added savings by allowing
lead managers to cancel expensive subscription content if employees aren’t
using it, Phillips said.

“There is a definite need in the market for a portal that combines content
with functionality, and that pulls together external and internal sources of
information,” said Susan Feldman, research vice president of content
technologies at IDC.

FAST is selling Marketrac for $12,000 per month, with a two-year agreement, or
at $250,000 for a two-year term (unlimited number of seats/servers).

In other enterprise search news today, iPhrase Technologies said that
PeopleSoft will integrate its Contact Classification Server
into the PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM 8.9 suite. The combined offering will help
companies automate online communication and enhance self-service.

Financial terms of the deal between the Pleasanton, Calif., enterprise
software giant and the Cambridge, Mass., search firm were not disclosed.

In general, the search sector is enjoying a resurgence
as investors and customers re-examine the value of search amid growing
excitement for Google’s IPO.

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