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Gaining Inxight into Unstructured Enterprise Information
Posted On May 1, 2003
The recent war in Iraq certainly highlighted the importance of military intelligence operations. Policy-makers, military planners, and numerous agencies relied on having fast and accurate ways to sift through and analyze enormous quantities of information and data to support decision making. Though the combat has ended, the ongoing security issues remain and the Bush administration has committed to increased spending for the country's intelligence infrastructure.

One company that supplies information retrieval solutions to various government organizations is Inxight Software, Inc. Its government customers include the European Patent Office, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The company recently announced that it secured two major contracts because of the increasing need for software that can organize, analyze, and deliver information from unstructured text sources. Both the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), one of the world's premier scientific centers, and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) have chosen Inxight SmartDiscovery for their information-analysis environments.

LLNL is a national security laboratory that's managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. Among LLNL's many missions is the development of tools and capabilities for gathering, manipulating, and mining vast quantities of data and information. Using SmartDiscovery, LLNL has processed and indexed close to 2 million text files both from historical archives and new incoming reports and documents. Scientists and analysts are now able to query this information to easily locate data that might help identify previously unknown linkages or associations within the data.

DIA covers all aspects of military intelligence requirements. It'll use SmartDiscovery to automate the process of filtering key government information, which will enable its analysts to deliver important pieces of intelligence in support of U.S. military planning and operations.

Inxight provides enterprise software solutions for understanding and effectively using unstructured data, such as diverse elements like word-processing documents and text files, Web pages, e-mail, and news feeds. The company says that because more than 85 percent of all enterprise information is unstructured (according to a report by IDC), most of an organization's data is not available for effective search, retrieval, or analysis. Inxight claims that its products solve this problem.

SmartDiscovery's features include assisted taxonomy creation and management, categorization, automatic entity extraction, automatic document summarization, a related document finder, full-text search, support for more than 70 file formats, and an easy-to-use interface. It also integrates with third-party systems, such as portals and document management systems.

Inxight serves four core markets: government organizations, enterprises (including pharmaceutical), information aggregators and publishers, and independent software vendors. New business gains in the federal government sector fueled the majority of Inxight's significant revenue growth in the first quarter 2003, though it also experienced growth in the publishing and enterprise markets.

The company reported that its first-quarter 2003 revenues increased by 40 percent from the fourth quarter of 2002. Inxight signed seven new enterprise customers and expanded sales within 23 existing accounts. It also achieved year-over-year new-enterprise license revenue growth of 400 percent from the first quarter of 2002. The company says this demonstrates the success that it has experienced in changing its focus from a primarily software-license-based business to providing solutions for the enterprise. Of course, such growth is particularly noteworthy in this difficult economic climate.

"Because we offer government agencies the ability to discover vital intelligence faster and more accurately than ever before in areas including homeland security, defense intelligence, and law enforcement, it's no surprise that we've seen a dramatic increase in the amount of government contracts awarded to Inxight," said John C. Laing, Inxight's president and CEO. "And as we add more features to our solutions, such as the ability to extract 'facts' from large amounts of textual information, we expect the significant growth in our government business to continue."

During the first quarter of this year, the company also introduced Arabic-language support (clearly a good choice) for Inxight's entity-extraction solution. Inxight ThingFinder is a text-analysis application that automatically identifies, tags, and indexes named entities in documents, such as persons, places, addresses, and dates. This enables users to easily navigate huge volumes of text. Inxight says that its ability to understand the information inside of text at its most granular level, along with sensitivity to the language in which it's written, sets the product apart in the marketplace.

Inxight's products currently support 25 languages, including Farsi, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. New languages are added as the market demands. Depending on requirements and usage, Inxight's products range in cost from $50,000 to several hundred thousand dollars for enterprise-class server solutions.

Inxight solutions are based on more than 20 years of research at Xerox PARC. The company, which was founded in 1996 as a spinoff of PARC, holds more than 70 patents in information visualization, natural language processing, and information retrieval.

Inxight's customers include Ariba, Computer Associates, Dow Jones, Factiva, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, LexisNexis, Lotus, Oracle, Reuters, SAP, SAS, Thomson, Tivoli, and Xerox. The company, which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., has offices throughout the U.S. and Europe. For more information, visit or call 408/738-6299.

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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