The Need for Enterprise Ready Social Intelligence
For a few years now, Social Media Monitoring has been a departmental activity, driven mostly by marketing curiosity about brand and competitors. Like almost everything else related to social media however, this is changing, and quickly. As more and more companies face the reality that social media is substance not fad, and Social Intelligence is more than just awareness of consumer sentiment, the enterprise is beginning to weigh in on the selection process for technology and vendors.
For a variety of reasons, the coordinated enterprise choice for go-to Social Intelligence technology will probably not be the same as the isolated departmental choice. For departments experimenting with social media, simplicity and price will often carry the day in the selection process; but for the enterprise, priorities are very different, with essential characteristics such as scalability, flexibility, reliability and integrate-ability, trumping more narrow departmental concerns. I’ll examine each of these attributes in an enterprise context.
First, as social media has grown to Internet scale, the enterprise more and more demands a Social Intelligence technology that can do the same. Managing the billions of pages/posts/tweets/blogs etc. and the terabytes of content that this represents are more and more becoming a requirement to play. If a technology can’t analyze this content and serve it up on demand, with performance on par with the big search engines and related technologies, then it most likely won’t make the cut.
Second, the enterprise requires flexibility in its Social Intelligence technology. As stated earlier, social media may have staked an early home in brand management and competitor tracking, but today, public relations, customer service, product and even sales find it a valuable asset. A Social Intelligence platform must be designed to support multiple departments for multiple purposes, supporting a variety of ways to question the data and with a variety of measures and metrics available. And since multiple teams are now using social media for a host of purposes, and since these teams will vary in size and sophistication, an enterprise Social Intelligence vendor must also have an experienced services group, as strategists and teachers, to support the various uses across the enterprise.
Third, the enterprise demands that data, analytics, and technology itself be reliable. To yield return on investment, social media must inform business decisions. To inform business decisions, the business must be able to trust that the social data is broad and representative and that the pre-computed scores such as sentiment and influence are as accurate as possible and consistent over time. Without this trust, the enterprise cannot take action on what it learns and the value of social media remains suspect. For experimental uses within a single departmental outpost, sometimes being interesting is more important than being right; at the enterprise level, with broad ROI concerns, trust is a must.
Finally, the enterprise requires that relevant data, enrichments, and insights be integrated or at least integrate-able. Taking its place alongside other forms of customer data, social media must eventually be integrated to complete the customer view. A Social Intelligence technology must enable direct access to social media by other systems, such as CRM systems or enterprise marketing platforms, that will use it. The Social Intelligence platform that services the enterprise must be powerful enough and open enough to support the integration demands of its other enterprise class systems and processes or the utility of social media will be severely limited.
Only Social Intelligence platforms that satisfy the significant demands in these four areas can be legitimately labeled enterprise ready.
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