At a time when company mergers and acquisitions are accelerating, the need for business analytics and intelligence is as crucial. Aparna Gupta, MD at FirstRain, a SAAS-based business analytics firm talks about the company\u2019s strategy to process unstructured data and make it useful for the enterprises to make better decisions during an M&A.\nHow does FirstRain tackle unstructured data and security?\nFirstRain, in terms of a traditional big data analytics company is slightly different. Our big data space is basically the global and social web. It could be newspapers, blogs, and industry sources and social. The information per se is not confidential or restricted to any customer. What is patented is the technology - Natural Language Processing-based algorithm and a multi-layer processing pipeline to convert what is available on the unstructured web into very unique insights impacting the business. Since the information is open to the web, we make sure our technology used is secure and private. \u00a0\nHow is all the unstructured data made useful for a competitive business module?\nConsider: An oil and gas company is looking at alternate energy. In this case, it would look for answers to questions like - in which regions of the world is this thriving or is shale gas doing better than wind-based energy. However, the company would require to know if there happens to be a massive discovery of fuel in some part of the world, whether it is a totally new form of energy, or a new regulatory norm which can impact what they are tracking. These are some key points we can constantly update for them and is usually a part of our algorithm. Similarly, if the company is undertaking a particular process to get a certain kind of information, FirsRain could instead provide a relevant feed where they don\u2019t need to profess it with a certain number of analysts. This proves to be an efficient and quality enhancer.\nHow does an IT decision maker leverage business analytics during an M&A?\nIt is less about during the M&A and more about when the company is exploring options for acquisitions. FirstRain provides a lead to the client about a completely new, potential company showing interest in the similar space. This company could be an investor, a VC or an acquirer who is looking for a change in business goals or at a key area to be pursued aggressively. A pointer to look at, consider the Microsoft and LinkedIn deal: Could Microsoft have been in play because it was keen to acquire professional user information? Another instance is, how core technical, traditional venture capitals (VCs) are now interested in investments in the clean or solar energy sector. But their track-record otherwise wouldn\u2019t have suggested that they could go on to sign a $1billion deal for a completely different project. This is the kind of unexplored intelligence that we makes sure our clients get.\nDuring an M&A, what do you think is more crucial to a business: Getting hold of data quickly or getting hold of rich data for a large scale analysis? Why? \nGetting data on time would be the first thing. Because if it doesn\u2019t get in front of you on time, then no matter how good the data is and no matter how important it is, it could still translate into missing out on a business opportunity. This means a competitor would have seized the opportunity. Having said that, it also depends on how obscure that information is and so it can be a case-to-case situation.