Social Data: Inside Out

Published on ClickZ on February 19, 2014.

There have been a number of pieces lately on social data and how predictive analytics can make certain different assumptions. Some of the recent examples in the press are around Facebook and the forecasting of dating couples becoming a couple or when someone will get married based on their friends' marriage dates (timely for Valentine's Day), or earlier in the season around Twitter and flu outbreaks. In my mind this is some interesting behavioral data that can help the average person wrap their heads around some of the big data processes that we in this space professionally understand can be mined in varied and vast ways. The other thing that these stories are conveying to the general public is that the data mined from their social activity is indeed public domain, but that's a story for another day...

Today, I'd like to talk about the power of harnessing social data inside an organization and the amazing competitive benefits from doing just that.

Image source:  Gigya's Blog

Image source: Gigya's Blog

I think it's safe to say that we all recognize that there is a major evolutionary shift happening today - in the way that is transforming how we do just about anything. Gartner calls this the "nexus of forces." These are universal game-changers - data explosion, social media, proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics - that the chief marketing officer (CMO) is worried about.

And how we work is certainly under these same transformative pressures. There are efficiencies to be gained by applying social communication technologies and collaboration styles inside the organization that can lead to:

  • Improved productivity
  • Enhanced employee engagement
  • Foster collaboration
  • Faster and broader knowledge sharing

...and that's just by facilitating easier and more efficient and transparent ways of communicating and reducing our dependence on traditional email.

But the truly exciting part of this from an evolutionary perspective is to be able to apply the data science that we are hearing in B2C use-cases and turn that inside the business and understand the breadth and wealth of information that we create that could facilitate breakthroughs in both process and output. As organizations roll out collaboration and social platforms inside the company, the amount of internal user generated content is exploding just as much as it is everywhere else. These "digital footprints" can be a treasure trove of information to help preserve the competitive edge of the organization - in an age where speed and innovation are the keys to success.

Applying analytics to internal data provide the ability to:

The world is becoming both larger and smaller because of the abundance of data at our fingertips. We are able to form human relationships across the globe because of common interests that are shared on social platforms, both inside and outside of the organization. We are able to think through global strategies more quickly because of the cross-cultural input at early stages of development. By applying data strategies to internally created user generated content, we will be able to accelerate business processes that enable organizations to compete. The data is already there (and growing rapidly) and tools to leverage it are available and growing quickly. It will be interesting to see how quickly businesses look inward to start mining this data as the true competitive differentiator; I believe that sometime very soon, we will see that those that do will leapfrog forward and those that do not will be left behind.

I wonder when we'll be looking at our own internal data to plan for the impact of flu outbreaks within a company and how we can shift process or production to unaffected areas to compensate...