Have you ever wondered how Google or Hotmail finds and blocks a single spam email out of billions of emails? Or how companies analyze tweets for customer sentiment? Or how questionable content is identified on a Website? Natural language processing (NLP) does this in real time — and it can be used for a lot more than spam filtering.
When it comes to analyzing a company's spend, the old adage "what gets measured gets managed" is definitely true. However, measuring an enterprise's spend when you have free-text fields, or fields where employees can type in any response they want, can be an insurmountable task. Rarely do two people use the same words and phrases to describe the same thing. Even spelling varies. These variations make measuring how much is being spent on a given category or with a given vendor a very common challenge.