Revolutionary Measures

Making sense of Big Data

Big data is a very sexy subject at the moment. Given the enormous volume of digital information in the world, being able to bring it together and analyse it should make it easier to spot overall trends and, in the case of marketing, build up a personalised picture of consumers so you can better target them with products and offers.

Like everything in IT this isn’t anything that new – I remember a story from 20 years ago about a US supermarket that analysed the buying patterns for nappies. They found that lots were being bought at 6pm on a Friday, and by staking out stores saw that the majority of buyers were fathers on their way home from work. By moving beer nearer to nappies, they increased booze sales dramatically as dads stocked up for the sleepless weekend ahead.

What has changed since then is the enormous increase in the number of data sources and the sheer amount of data out there. We live in a digital world and the majority of what we do leaves a data footprint behind us. However in a lot of cases this data is either in multiple formats – or is completely unstructured, such as academic documents (or this blog).

Big Data

Big Data (Photo credit: Kevin Krejci)

And analysing big data isn’t just about selling us more beer – by comparing and questioning multiple information sources, including patents and scientific papers you can speed up research in areas such as life sciences, helping make drug discovery more efficient. A great example of a company enabling this is Linguamatics, which has just opened its new worldwide HQ on the Cambridge Science Park. Its flagship I2E text mining software uses natural language processing to understand the meaning of unstructured data delivered through a search engine approach that is fast and accurate.

Already used by nine out the  world’s top ten pharmaceutical companies Linguamatics is growing fast, both in Europe and North America, but has operated under the radar, focusing on building its business. With big data being flavour of the month, the time is now right for Linguamatics to raise its profile, both in Cambridge and across the world.

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September 25, 2012 Posted by | Cambridge, Marketing | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK needs to unblock the IPO bottleneck

Autonomy Corporation
Image via Wikipedia

There’s good and bad news from the latest Deloitte UK technology Mergers & Acquisitions survey.

On the plus side respondents believe the market is looking up, with increased optimism and higher prices paid for tech businesses.

But on the downside confidence in going public in 2011 has crashed – with only 16 per cent seeing increased investor appetite for tech IPOs. And more worryingly given the government’s plans to use the tech sector to kick start the economy, the acquisition market is still being driven by overseas companies. 90 per cent of those surveyed believe that the US will remain the dominant buyer of UK tech businesses.

Why should this start ringing alarm bells? Not through any desire for protectionism of UK companies – tech is one of the most truly global markets and nowhere is that more obvious than in M&A. The issue is that the stall in IPOs combined with the acquisition of breakthrough UK tech businesses risks reducing the number of UK leaders we need to encourage other companies and sectors. Large, quoted companies create their own ecosystem, building up a network of suppliers, spin-outs and related businesses that mutually interconnect. For example, look at the cluster of neural network/data mining companies around Cambridge. Headed by Autonomy, companies as diverse as Linguamatics, Transversal and True Knowledge all use broadly similar technology to solve completely different sets of business problems. They benefit from access to staff and suppliers that understand the market – take out the kingpin and it gets more fragmented, and consequently companies and people drift away.

So we need a way of encouraging IPOs that attract investors for the medium to long-term – perhaps that would be a better use for government cash than propping up the banks or the Irish economy?




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December 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment