Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Global Company Mergers and Acquisitions


We hear constantly on the news " Company X bought Y for billions of dollars". Sometime later we hear "Company X has made a big loss acquiring Y, it was overvalued". The envisaged gain in company mergers rarely happens. Actually, it quite often becomes a loss for the acquiring company. Top managers resign and it takes years to repair the company image and build shareholder value to the level it was.

Do companies really know what they are buying and how it will integrate into their company infrastructure? Will it actually undermine the growth of the existing operation to focus on a new track? Are apples and pears compatible or not? It would certainly help knowing what you are buying, beyond the bubble of propaganda created in the acquisition process.

Take for example press coverage on www.investopedia.com :
“Leading microchip maker Intel has announced it intends to buy Altera in a deal worth $16.7 billion. The deal will allow Intel to expand its product line to include Altera's unique range of products, including programmable logic devices (PLDs), highly integrated power devices, pre-defined design building blocks, and development software. PLDs consist of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which are microchips that the company's customers program to perform specific desired logic and processing functions in their electronic systems….”

How sure are they this will work? Well, they have surely analyzed their needs and how much the add on in their product range might economically benefit their operations, as well as calculated the potential integration cost, how many people they can lay-off etc. They have done a compatibility analysis using consultants. It has been serious work but the risk of error is always very high. Who doesn’t remember Hewlett Packard buying Autonomy?

What if each company was fingerprinted and analysis is carried out by merging these fingerprints?  Currently we can do economic fingerprinting if companies use the same or similar accounting systems. What if this was taken one step further and production, sales, and HR are mapped into a structure that could be analyzed and processed creating hypothetical scenarios, analyzing pros and cons? Is this a dream or can it really be done?


Yes it can! Today’s technology is able to perform such an analysis as long as both companies have maintained proper information infrastructures.  These combined with data driven methods can provide the critical answers. The key are the information structures and that they are integrated into a multilingual knowledge system as shown below. Companies will want to develop such an information structure for internal efficiency and higher revenues, but also to be more valuable in mergers. 



If the companies are working in different languages the multilingual knowledge system helps in joining the information infrastructures. In this case multilingual processing support by Machine Translation is necessary.

A good search based on those fingerprints diving into company documentation in multiple languages provides the basis for the analysis. The analytics of the two fingerprints combined with the results from the documents will tell you more than any number of human analysts ever can:


No more costly mistakes! Start your acquisition from knowledge about the firm you want to acquire! Insist on having knowledge structures at the basis of your information!




I am co-founder and Chief Strategist at Coreon GmbH. Our tag line is ‘Knowledge meets Language’. The unleashed synergy between these two fields is what highly motivates me. I believe that Multilingual Knowledge Systems are the information infrastructure for today’s most challenging IT fields: Interoperability, Globalization, and (Product) Search.


You will find more information at www.coreon.com

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Europe needs a Multilingual Digital Single Market

The real challenge to achieve a Digital Single Market are Europe’s many languages. It’s amazing how politicians, but also businesses, have overlooked this. We often don’t notice how hard it is for software to process language, because it’s so natural for us humans. We focus instead on how stupid computers are not to be able to do what we can do. Yet Language Technology (LT) is already quite big with the US companies hiring LT people where ever they can find them.

In Europe, we have around 2,500 SMEs in the field of language, knowledge, and interface technologies and over 5,000 companies providing language services. Globally, language technology is valued at around €26 billion. Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are key drivers for the projected doubling by 2020. We will talk to robots as well as the Internet of Things in our own language and not key in commands. Most Big Data is unstructured, i.e. text, which, in Europe, is historically multilingual. In the EU all AI applications in IoT and Robotics as well as all digital cross border traffic must deal with our multiple languages.

These game-changing technologies, though, are today largely available for English-speaking citizens and consumers only. Worse, even a “trivial” problem like a simple product search does not cross borders.

Recently, European Commission VP Andrus Ansip nicely summarized the essence of the Digital Single Market (DSM): “Consumers need to be able to buy the best products at the best prices, wherever they are in Europe.” Well, if one of his compatriots searches for, let’s say, Muruniidukid, she is already trapped in a language silo and thus limited to national market offers.

We will only get a true DSM for all Europeans if the 24 official languages (and these of our major trading partners) are supported in the same base quality. This requires a public infrastructure for basic Natural Language Processing. Public, because industry cannot build and maintain it profitably for lesser spoken languages. A good home for this could be the EU CEF.

On top of this, infrastructure companies would be able to build horizontal technologies such as machine translation, speech recognition, voice generation, and sentiment analysis. Language Technology is a wide field, dominated by SMEs, fragmented by language. This makes it hard to discover LT, to try, and to buy it.

The key initiative of the European language technology industry is therefore the creation of the LTI Cloud. This SaaS wrapper functions as a marketplace for various language technology components. The LTI Cloud will enable software companies to build solutions for the whole ‘Multilingual Digital Single Market’.

In a recent article the Washington Post mocked Europe’s DSM efforts by stating that Europe’s digital decline is actually accelerating! Not necessarily. Why don’t we turn Europe’s multilingualism into a unique selling point?

If we manage, in spite of our many cultures and languages, to create a Multilingual Digital
Single Market supported by cross-border eGov interoperability, I would argue that we will in fact become the fittest for the global market.

This is an adopted article originally written by Jochen Hummel and published on Tech.eu. He is co-founder and CEO of Coreon GmbH. Our tag line is ‘Knowledge meets Language’. The unleashed synergy between these two fields is what highly motivates us. We believe that Multilingual Knowledge Systems are the information infrastructure for today’s most challenging IT fields: Interoperability, Globalization, and (Product) Search.
You will find more information at www.coreon.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What is a Multilingual Knowledge System?

Today’s tools to develop, maintain, and share Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS) – taxonomies, thesauri, ontologies, classifications, nomenclatures – fail to address cross-border, cross-organizational needs. Such tools structure information appropriately but they neglect human language phenomena, particularly multilingualism but also synonymy and ambiguity. Neither do current solutions cover enterprise and cross-organizational requirements such as change tracking, involvement of extra-muros experts, or flexible adaptation to organizational processes.

In contrast, Terminology Management Systems (TMS) cater well for language phenomena. Some are even built for global deployments. But the TMSs are mostly designed for translation purposes. They are often archiving hundreds of thousands of terms which becomes an unmanageable haystack of concepts. This makes users lose trust and hesitate to use the resource and at the end a waste of a large investment. Why? Because such terminology collections lack the power of a KOS to semantically structure and deploy company terminology.

A Multilingual Knowledge System (MKS) brings together these two worlds to provide solutions for multiple purposes such as have been reflected in previous blog posts. An MKS unifies knowledge with language by combining Concept Maps (technically known as graphs) with Terminology Data. The concept map semantically links the individual entries (concepts) while each entry itself is elaborated into potentially dozens of languages with unlimited descriptive and documentary information.

An MKS is all in one! It semantically enables enterprise search, auto-classification, data mining, interoperability and globalization. It not only finds the string, but the thing!


This is my third blog entry on The Multilingual Knowledge Blog and this time with a co-author Michael Wetzel. He is a co-founder and Managing Director at Coreon GmbH. Our tag line is ‘Knowledge meets Language’. The unleashed synergy between these two fields is what highly motivates us. We believe that Multilingual Knowledge Systems are the information infrastructure for today’s most challenging IT fields: Interoperability, Globalization, and (Product) Search.


You will find more information at www.coreon.com

Friday, November 6, 2015

The CEO Challenge - Lack of Mission Critical Information

In a bigger company the least informed person, the CEO, is making the most important decisions. I would dare to say, that the information flow in any large company is flawed. Important information is simply too far down the company hierarchy to underpin good decisions. Today that information is often in a language that is not understood by the CEO or any board member.

The weakest decision makers are inside the multinational/global corporations. They rely on a decentralized decision policy where each unit must perform. The only governance tool for top management in global champions becomes the annual report from subsidiaries combined with the human willingness to provide information.

The most recent disaster is the Volkswagen scandal.  It is most certainly an error in decision making that probably passed through unnoticed at higher levels in the company. Information flow inside the company and across borders/languages is probably contributing to this scandal. A board of German directors would surely not have agreed to cheat J, or did they?

  • What if - all CEOs can have the information they need and which is available inside their companies at their fingertips?
  • What if - this information is combined with external rules and regulations that must be followed? 
  • What if - every item in the production line is linked to that information and these items could be drilled down to as regards sales, use, cost and productivity?
  • What if - all this information was available and was daily updated in any of the company languages?
It would mean that the CEO would be able to check any part of the business and its operations as well as external factors to underpin her decisions. The CEO would be able to visually observe the company administration combined with sales and the production floor in any country.  The CEO would even be able to ask questions like “why are we still producing Item257-c when this product doesn't sell, according to the sales department”.

How? The CEO would simply click on a knowledge map to see the concepts and their relationships between all and viewing the company as a large scale multilingual knowledge system. 

Is this a management utopia in the far future? Not necessarily! Just a bit of work together with knowledge and data experts. Your company fingerprint needs to be constructed and deployed on relevant data.  We can tell you how! 

Stay as is and CEOs and company boards will continue to make awful mistakes that sometimes cost companies their future!


This is my second blog entry on The Multilingual Knowledge Blog. I am co-founder and Chief Strategist at Coreon GmbH. Our tag line is ‘Knowledge meets Language’. The unleashed synergy between these two fields is what highly motivates me. I believe that Multilingual Knowledge Systems are the information infrastructure for today’s most challenging IT fields: Interoperability, Globalization, and (Product) Search.

You will find more information at www.coreon.com