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Attivio democratizes data analytics for nonanalysts
While data scientists and analysts are in demand today, some companies are trying to commoditize their skill sets for business users. "When analytics become more pervasive, they will become simpler to use," predicted Sid Probstein, chief technology officer of Attivio, a Newton, Mass.-based company that has designed an enterprise search engine.
The latest release of Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine is designed to make data analytics more accessible by creating more granular searches and simplifying the user experience. The engine was updated in January with three new modules:
- Scope Search. The module enables users to perform searches at lower levels than documents. It can search paragraphs, sentences, headers and footers. So it can, for example, identify a company's acquisitions by combining various search terms for queries and bringing in text analytics. It "provides deeper, more meaningful response from smaller pieces of documents," Probstein said.
- Predictive analytics. The module can train the engine to see patterns in data. For example, as a customer navigates a website, the module can analyze behavior and train the system to predict the most likely product that a customer will purchase next based on the last few clicks.
- Business Center user interface. The third module allows nontechnical users to command the search experience. A company that is trying to offload last year's model of tablets can create a query that will redirect users to its tablet-selling microsite based on search terms. "There's no coding of any kind required, though you can inject snippets of HTML. In this era of big data, experimentation is key. So being able to make changes to a website without a build-test-release cycle is essential to the nontrivial search experience. "We believe that asking Attivio will be like asking the Star Trek computer in the movies," Probstein said.
Facebook on the move
Facebook has stepped out into the world of real-time communication with its purchase of the mobile messaging app, WhatsApp. The $19 billion price tag may suggest a change in Facebook's outlook, away from online commenting to instantaneous chat from anywhere, at any time. Falling in line with the trend toward simple interfaces and mobile apps that don't require pesky Web logins, WhatsApp is the type of communication tool users have come to expect. And some observe that, like Twitter, WhatsApp could bring opportunities for real-time customer relationship management -- especially with more than 450 million active users worldwide.
SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 available
Without much fanfare, Microsoft announced that the Office 2013 SP 1 is now available for download, with "improved compatibility with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2." The service pack includes 45 fixes for SharePoint 2013, a version that brought more social media capabilities, better integration with Exchange and a somewhat improved mobile experience. Microsoft was careful to point out in its announcement that Office 365 subscribers have the advantage of always being up-to-date.