Concept Mapping
By Erick Schonfeld

(Business 2.0) – As corporations become inundated with digital information from contracts, resumes, call centers, and webpages, yesterday's search technologies are increasingly inadequate. In 2004, companies are expected to spend $730 million on concept-mapping software to turn information overload into actionable intelligence.

Concept mapping goes beyond run-of-the-mill search by ferreting out relationships between ideas in different texts. Last year, Nasdaq relied on it to confirm unusual sales of ImClone stock, leading to Martha Stewart's indictment. IBM's WebFountain concept-mapping service lets companies research what people are saying about them online. Linking intercepted e-mails, overheard cell-phone conversations, and seized laptops, government spy agencies credit concept mapping with aiding in both the capture of Pakistani al Qaeda terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the discovery of potential plots against financial institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. "People are using these technologies to get at the meaning behind the language used in all kinds of communications," says IDC analyst Susan Feldman. — ERICK SCHONFELD