Update: Part 2 of this article can be found here.
Using spreadsheets to analyze numerical or well-categorized data is relatively straightforward. It might not be easy necessarily, but at least you normally know exactly what to do. If you have ever been faced with open-ended text responses, perhaps from a survey, emailed questions or feedback forms, you know how tricky it can be to make sense of it.
The problems are many. Non-standard formatting, having to manually read each response to understand its content, variable length, and those are just the first that come to mind.
What we need is some way to drill down automatically to see if there are any common patterns, and therefore have an immediate starting point to start interpreting the responses.