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Posts Tagged ‘social BI’

Social Business Intelligence in short

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is usually business information brought to a centralized analysis tool for analysis and decision making support purposes, and is still quite often financials-related data. Usually it`s collected from sources such as the company CRM, ERP, helpdesk, financial systems and the HR tools. In some cases it can also be business information or general information about and around one`s business being brought into a centralized analysis tool, such as parts of the company ERP tool or a specific BI tool. Especially Salesforce, Oracle and SAP have been working hard to turn this aspect into a Social Media process, and they all have a slightly different approach to it.

So what is Social Business Intelligence?

Most people consider it being straight forward raw business data that is being collected for analysis purposes to further increase company`s efficiency or profitability ÔÇô the social aspect hidden somewhere deep in the process or in the source of data. Well, it may not be quite that simple.

  • Exact information about certain people (and in the future their discussions and status updates!), companies or markets are being brought into a centralized analysis tool from external sources such as social networks, e.g. LinkedIn.
  • Social BI could also be information from discussion forums, chat rooms, etc. general discussion environments/tools for crowdsourcing purposes
  • A person can collect information about other people and/or companies to support ones personal goals; looking for work, research, networking activities, etc. Usually done via Social Networks and media
  • It may also be data coming from automated alerts and tracking systems about competitors, suppliers, company/product mentions, etc.

If the information is being collected from or with help of social media, the social point of business intelligence is very valid. If the data is being brought into a (social) collaboration tool (e.g. http://wetell.fi) or open discussion at company Intranet or similar, the discussion and open analysis of employees may bring even more value to the data, enhancing the social aspect. People may have personal or private information that they can bring into the discussion or they could analyse the data differently based on their knowledge of other factors related to the subject matter. Consider it crowdsourcing to the power of 2. And still after this round the data could be brought into the strategy discussions at company management.

If the information is used wisely, the benefits are seen in many parts of the organisation. The data may well help in targetting advertising, help following the competitive landscape and markets in general, identify potential threats (in many forms), help spotting new suppliers, vendors and subcontractors, adjust process flows internally and in production, identify buyers, decision-makers and influencers, create value to support-functionalities, target new market segments, generally validate information, etc. I won`t go very deep with these, but the means are plenty and varied.

Combining the information coming from all the internal systems with sales data, bonus programs, social plug-ins, social media profiles and discussions, Likes, followers and fans, shopping lists and bookmarks, etc. create a huge endless dataflow that can help you do business like never before – or it could potentially drown you with uncontrolled, useless, unstructured information. Which option would you choose? Yes, I thought so. Well then, choose your weapons wisely, and choose what you want to know. If you just dig into all the data you can get your hands on, you`re in trouble. You need to identify what information you want to find out, from where (which are the relevant sources), when (a constant unstructured flow or a set time), and why? What do you want to do with that? How can you use it best for your purposes.

Additionally it is extremely important to understand the difference between information and information. Sound odd? What I mean is that on one hand you have information that the client has given to you 3 years ago when they last bought something from you or asked for a quote. Then there`s a number of LinkedIn profiles related to the company, and people who you see in your own system having worked there 3 years ago. Which data is newer? Is the LinkedIn person the exactly same person who you think he/she is? A name is not enough to identify a person! Sometimes even not the same school or employer in addition to the name is enough. And then on top of all this there`s a number of profiles and data coming from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Plaxo, Unyk, Bebo, Orkut, etc. Which data is allowed to update your CRM client profile, which is the newest data, should all be brought in for further analysis? Who`s going to manually verify the data? Consider yourself warned! You need a strategy!

There are tools for all this, but seldom if never everything in one. There are the above mentioned SaaS-CRM Salesforce, there`s SAP with dozens of submodules including old BW and new BO for Business Intelligence needs, Oracle with their DataGuard and the Siebel Analysis tools, and then there are dozens and dozens of small applications and tools to help you dig in to certain social media information. One of the new small tools is SomeMonitor that I`ve mentioned before. SomeMonitor brings in the data from specified sources, allows structuring, helps digging in to the data a couple of different ways, and helps identifying influencers. And as you can choose the data sources, it may well stay controlled and easily analysable. That`s just one example, there`s plenty of different tools out there, but most still need a lot of personal controlling and continuing adjusting, and are focused to only a handful of sources. SomeMonitor is also restricted to a certain number of sources, but they seem to be willing to add more when asked for and when possible.

So now you know a bit more about Social Business Intelligence. How does it feel? Information overflow heading your way? No worries, just think about what you want to achieve first and why, and then (only then!) move on to trying different tools that fit your need. Social BI is here, that`s for sure, but not many companies use if yet to larger extent, you`re not too late ­čśë

Which tools would you recommend and what are your experiences with the above mentioned?


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12 Social Media trends for 2011

I just ran into a new interesting article at the Harvard Business Review, and just couldn┬┤t help but to answer the post with my 2 cents. The post was from David Armano, SVP of Edelmann, a global media and communications company. David had compiled a list of 6 Social Media trends that he sees going big in 2011.

His list, roughly, was like this;

  • Social Media going from local to global with big brands, not just national or local campaigns, but companies like Ford or Starbucks launching global Social Media campaigns.
  • Affordable tablet Pcs (and Pads) helping Social Media become available 24/7 and mobile, on the go.
  • Facebook Places helping location-based services go big
  • Social Media schizophrenia emerging when people have too many profiles and networks to maintain and follow.
  • Google vs. FB battle, Google finding new ways of working with searching Social Media in new and innovative ways, not necessarily tying to build a new Facebook or create a new Buzz anymore, but adjusting what they do best into Social Media and vice versa.
  • Social integration to old websites making them ┬┤hip┬┤ again, breathing new life to old portals and sites, making them information centrals for all information and profiles over the web and especially Social Media.

I think David has great points there and I just have to agree with just about all of them, but I see much more happening in Social Media next year. Here┬┤s what I think should be added to the list.

The 2011 Social Media trends from my point of view;

    • Social features being integrated into other tools. I see a lot of new type of tools emerging, creating new value into old practises, old tools and the ways of working. E.g. here in Oulu, Finland, I┬┤ve found a couple of interesting tools that may well find their place in the Social Media ecosystem if nurtured and funded correctly;
      • WeTellNetworks has a great new communication tool with social features, combining the best of internal communication tools, external social media feeds, Skype, 3rd parties┬┤ access to internal communications with specified rights, document sharing, project management features, etc. The tool is in beta testing with customers in Finland and Germany and everything┬┤s looking fine so far.
      • InterestID is a great new tool for event organizers for managing registrations, communicating related to the event and between the registered participants upfront, during and after the event, tagging people and companies with a great looking and feeling graphical tagging system, sharing documents, and all these are not just available in the tool online, but the tags and all have been taken into the live event as well, creating a unique experience to all participants, making seminars and fairs a new kind of social experience. And then there are the mobile tags… Anyway, the tool┬┤s been tested in real events in South Africa, USA and Finland, and things are looking fine, new interface being built and the communication abilities enhanced. Promising future ahead…
      • SoMe-Monitor is a tool for tracking and following Social Media feeds from various locations, brought in centralized and controlled, being able to identify sources, trends and influencers, making it a great business intelligence tool. The system has recently been launched, new features and Social Media connections being built as we speak. Great interest all around.
    • New tools that combine old software tools, web portals and social networking aspects (either inbound or outbound effect, perhaps both).
    • Social CRM and Business Intelligence will be catching wind. Salesforce, Oracle and SAP will surely blow the horn for everyone to understand the importance of the social aspects in their tools, and the trend for using Social Media in general to support activities and decision making will increase fast. The importance of identifying influencers also grows as taking advantage of influencers and trends in business is growing.
    • Social recruiting going big ÔÇô it┬┤s been talked about for ages now, but finally in 2011 even the small companies enter Social Media to find new and better applicants, and to attract the passive resource pool. Many companies have used LinkedIn for years, Twitter has been used now by many in 2010, and the early adopters have entered Facebook, but will the masses follow in 2011? I believe so!
    • Transforming social networks into customer service, self-service, support and sales tools. Dell has done it, when do other companies follow? In 2011? Yes!
    • Location-based shopping tools growing fast; Foursquare, Gowalla, and similar are in 2011 being used actively in sales. Lots of interesting location.based campaigns will emerge in 2011, but will it be big or not?
    • The importance of local social networks will be exceeding expectations in 2011. vKontakte and QQ are growing already much faster than Facebook Ôćĺ not just having a number of language versions, but localizing the content is becoming really, really attractive. Can Facebook follow the lead?
    • Social Media metrics and analyzis tools are becoming popular. There┬┤s been a lot of talk about Social Media ROI, and the general need for metrics and analyzis is now critical for many.
    • Social Media is hitting TV big time, more interactive features in TV shows will arise, Social Media feeds are shown at live TV shows, etc. Old media will finally meet new media big time. First signs are on…
    • The importance of showcasing your skills and specialism and growing a personal brand in Social Media (and personal branding in general) will be big in 2011. In many fields the competition is already global, one needs to play the skill card to compete with lower prices. Then again making yourself better found is always better, you never know when you may need a new job or project.
    • Integrating Social Media with brick-and-mortar business practises, creating new business models by combining these two (like Netcycler for example), the online and IRL (In Real-Life) practices take the best of both worlds to build new value to the customer.
    • The Microjob concept is soon coming available for all. Work and projects are broken into smaller pieces of work, divided between larger amount of people who are more specialized, and the outcome of the small parts is again reconstructed to the big picture for the client at the end. A new wave of Crowdsourcing is coming up.

Do you see the future like I see it? What other trends would you predict for 2011 and perhaps beyond? Is the big answer really 42?


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