SAS snags Teragram

BI vendor gets natural language processing, linguistic technology

Business intelligence (BI) specialist SAS has acquired Teragram for its natural language processing (NLP) and advanced linguistic technology.

Through Teragram, SAS plans to enhance its own text mining and analytical BI offerings, as well as enterprise and mobile search capabilities.

Teragram, a 40-person firm headquartered in the United States, will be run as a SAS company. Terms of the acquisition deal were not disclosed. Teragram's NLP technology is well established, with a customer base including CNN, Forbes.com, NYTimes Digital, Sony, WashingtonPost.com, Wolters Kluwer, the World Bank, and Yahoo.

"Teragram's technologies augment, strengthen, and extend SAS' ability to combine structured and unstructured data -- not only in our text mining solution but embedded across the entire SAS Enterprise Intelligence Platform -- to drive better answers faster," said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight.

"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.

According to Gartner, the vast majority of the information a company has is unstructured data residing in word processing documents, presentations, rich media files, spreadsheets, and other file formats. If the content is easily available to the employees, organizations can automate business processes, increase efficiency, reduce costs and repetitiveness, and ultimately gain competitive advantages.

Teragram's NLP technology help turn text -- in many languages and from many sources -- into usable information. NLP 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.

For enterprise search, Teragram's NLP technologies scan structured corporate databases and unstructured sources, including text-based reports and Web pages to provide comprehensive answers from these multiple information sources.

"With today's multinational companies and distributed workforces, as well as tremendous amounts of data in disparate systems and formats, it's more important than ever to get quick and accurate answers to key business questions," said Schabes.

The combination of SAS and Teragram technologies provides indexing driven not just by a report's header, but by its actual content and the metadata associated with it. "Enterprise search is a competitive weapon for tapping an organization's existing data resources. Combining SAS' business intelligence, data integration, and advanced analytics with Teragram's NLP technologies will deliver answers to search queries in seconds."

Meanwhile, SAS can offer Teragram's mobile search technology to individuals to store and retrieve information, connect to outside applications such as BI systems, and search databases from their BlackBerry, smartphone, or other mobile devices.

This story, "SAS snags Teragram" was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.