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The Social Scientists: Attensity Helps Clients Use Social Channels to Gain Insight Into Customers Through Text Analytics

While some companies are content to talk the talk, Attensity is the type that walks the walk.

Year 2011 was all about action for the Palo Alto, Calif.–based text analytics software solutions developer, as it released Attensity Respond 5.1, a product that integrates social media processes into the contact center agent's route-and-response cycles.

Attensity earned a Rising Star accolade in the 2011 CRM Market Awards after it acquired social media monitoring company Biz360 in 2010. Judging by the year it's had since, it would appear the company has not rested on its laurels.

Ian Jacobs, a principal analyst at Ovum, acknowledges the "critical" arena in which the company performs.

"It's the voice of the customer—how do you understand what they're actually saying and how do you then respond to it?" Jacobs says of the role text analytics plays in customer experience management. "It's certainly the right space at the right time," and Attensity provides the proverbial ammo for customer engagement to the enterprise.

Among its latest round of accomplishments, Attensity teamed up with Yahoo! to deploy the Attensity Voice of the Viewer social analytics application at the Republican presidential debate in January of this year. Viewer data and sentiments were delivered to Yahoo!'s elections Web site, scoring candidates in key areas like the economy, defense, and foreign policy.

What Attensity has done is say, "What's missing in the market?" says Esteban Kolsky, principal and founder of ThinkJar. "What is missing is somebody who actually takes the entire process, and who uses analytics and who has the know-how and the people…to help organizations make it happen."

The trifecta that was Pegasystems, Attensity, and Capgemini Consulting's Social Insight into Action, introduced in 2011, took social data and integrated it into an organization's existing CRM and BI systems. "You don't just take data, throw it in an analytics engine, and get something in the end," Kolsky believes. "You need to have a very powerful engine. You need to have good tools to figure out how to manipulate data…and this is where Attensity has flourished."

Speaking of powerful engines, Attensity this year released the Voice of the Customer (VOC) Command Center, which affords companies real-time tracking of high-volume customer conversations on more than 75 million social media, online, and internal source sites.

The VoC Command Center is "a new benchmark for enterprises seeking to integrate the real-time voice of the customer into their business," said Attensity CEO Ian Bonner in a statement.

Spring 2011 brought an upgrade to Attensity's customer analytics application, Analyze 6.0, which was dominated by cross-channel text analytics solutions ranging from emails and surveys to CRM and call center notes. The company also banked 33 new and expanded enterprise adoptions of its text analytics solutions during first quarter 2011, which included companies like AT&T, JetBlue Airways, and Avaya.

Fall 2011 saw a Hospitality Industry Solution introduced to Attensity's mix, allowing customers like Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Travelocity to incorporate customer feedback into their business processes by way of optimized reports and dashboards tailored to the hospitality set.

But beyond the standard upgrade and new solutions, Attensity is one of those companies that keeps its eyes on the prize—or more applicably, the enterprise.

Looking forward, expect Attensity to continue its market penetration at a time when conversation hovers over multichannel customer experience solutions.

This year will be centered on mobility, cloud, and collaboration, all lending themselves to the social conversation, Kolsky says.

"As much as I hate the term 'perfect storm,' it's an aggregation of events…the perfect situation for analytics to shine over the next two or three years," he adds.

The common denominator is data, and forward-thinking analytics engines like Attensity are at what Kolsky deems "the forefront of all of this interpretation."

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