Social media redefines traditional business intelligence strategies

Social media redefines traditional business intelligence strategies

Summary: * Jennifer Leggio is on vacationGuest editorial by Blake CahillCompanies and social media are on a collision course—with positive benefits. Thanks to the Internet and its increasingly social nature, the amount of information and conversation data existing today is breath-taking.


* Jennifer Leggio is on vacation

Guest editorial by Blake Cahill

Social media redefines traditional business intelligence strategiesCompanies and social media are on a collision course—with positive benefits. Thanks to the Internet and its increasingly social nature, the amount of information and conversation data existing today is breath-taking. We’ve certainly become more than familiar with the impact social conversations can have on companies and their brands, whether it be the Dove Beauty Campaign or the Motrin mommy blogger fiasco. At the same time, companies are also increasingly savvy about more traditional data collection (finance, sales, etc.) and its impact on business intelligence—getting credible information more quickly into the hands of operations managers and sales reps.

However, as companies build and integrate their business intelligence platforms they often neglect to include vital product and business feedback found in social conversations. Social data is arguably the most challenging to integrate into a BI platform because it’s is so fluid and unstructured. A quick check with Google may tell what hot topics people are searching for, but all the free Web tools available can’t accurately tell what folks are really talking about. That chatter in the ether is affecting purchasing decisions, making it crucial for companies to begin listening and integrating this data into their BI platforms. Social media is no longer an amusing world we can view from afar.

Many companies grapple with the social media world, especially with traditional notions of data quality. Just how comprehensive and reliable is social data? Social media intelligence solutions are increasingly sophisticated at data capture, integration and presentation (however, many are still only a step up from RSS feeds with a different presentation layer). Organizations are just now beginning to understand the need to integrate these perception periscopes into their existing BI and measurement platforms, building cultures and structures to move on the actionable intelligence quickly.

At the same time, social media intelligence vendors are starting to tackle the problem of integrating social media into their overall business intelligence offerings. Take Omniture’s announcement on Thursday. Omniture, which makes business optimization software, is continuing to increase its Genesis Network of partners. The company understands it can’t be all things to all people and that best-of-class point solutions benefit from integration, whether it’s data discovery, email management, measurement or metrics.

Really smart people have spent the past decade innovating individual point solutions to solve issues in PR measurement, Web analytics, customer service and other areas. Increasingly, companies today are looking for competitive advantage and can get closer to their customers by listening and learning from them online. But these efforts typically are done off to one side within a company, be it IT or marketing. Firms like Omniture and others realize that social media data needs to be part of an integrated BI approach. Only then will companies achieve the data democratization that gets structured, real-time information into in the hands of people on the front lines of business.

Blake Cahill is senior vice president for Visible Technologies, based in Seattle, a leading provider of social media monitoring and engagement solutions.

Topics: Software, CXO, Data Centers, Data Management, Enterprise Software, IT Employment, Social Enterprise

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  • also check out sysomos

    Sysomos is another tool that can be used that I saw today from a post on
    twitter (@GuyKawasaki). Has data back to 2006 on several social
  • Incredibly useful to businesses...

    I've been a small company owner for 10 years
    now and I
    always thought social
    networks was something
    for my kids. I didn't realize what a powerful
    tool it
    could be for my business too. I'm actually
    Twittering about my company and getting new
    followers! I found some more good tips on
    social networking and business intelligence
  • RE: Social media redefines traditional business intelligence strategies

    There is no doubt that social networking on the Internet has fast matured to the point where it is an essential part of our daily lives. Millions of us are using various online social networks to help achieve better personal and business visibility, but can we use this information to add value to our organizations through BI?

    A large number of businesses are now gathering real-time intelligence and using social media data to gain a competitive edge. Organizations can analyze the data to better understand customer feelings and satisfaction, market trends and threats from competitors. From a cultural point of view, the data can also provide insight into the collective opinions of the public on current issues, including political events, social crises (such as the BP oil spill) and even reality TV shows. However, social data is arguably the most challenging to integrate into a BI platform because it is so fluid and unstructured. BI pros are used to working with financial and sales data, which has a more clear structure.

    Social networking should not be underestimated as a business tool ? the important thing is just to know how to leverage business from it. As stated above, the only way to do this is by integrating social media into business intelligence strategies.