Expert Analysis: A Case for Socialization of Data - InformationWeek
Software // Information Management
03:19 PM
Connect Directly

Expert Analysis: A Case for Socialization of Data

It's time to integrate social data, enterprise analytics and enterprise data for better social-media strategy.

Just about every organization with customers (and prospects, competitors, and stakeholders) who use social media realizes by now that online social sources can be mined for significant enterprise business value. People post facts (true or not), experiences and opinions -- to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, you name it -- related to brands, product and service quality, and competitive position. Yet the social-media analytics state-of-the-art is siloed and unsophisticated.

Industry needs a socialization of data that would bring social data into BI and enterprise-analytics platforms. This would drive social-media strategy in coordination with other enterprise channels, incorporating social-media insights into everyday operations. We're talking comprehensive analytics -- total enterprise awareness -- for fully informed business decision making. The goal is not unlike that of DARPA's abandoned Total Information Awareness program (living on at an archival site), albeit built for business.

As I've written in earlier articles and blogs, true 360-degree views must encompass enterprise feedback and social media and location intelligence. Turn the equation around: comprehensive social-media strategies will rely on the full set of enterprise data sources, including operational and transactional systems, to the greatest feasible extent.

Social Data

Let's define social data as data extracted from social media. I see three principal elements:

  1. People, organizations: connectors
  2. Connections
  3. Messages
These elements constitute a social graph, a network of nodes (connectors) linked by edges (connections), plus content. By message, I mean essentially the information transmitted when a connection is used: a blog posting or comment, an article, a Facebook status update or posted item or even a poke, and a phone-text or e-mail message; also, actually, phone conversations and in-person encounters. To use the metaphor of a letter, a message has an envelope with From and To addresses and, sometimes, markings that indicate Fragile or Special Delivery or Delivery Receipt Requested. This envelope information is distinct from the message content, which may even be encrypted and inaccessible to anyone but the recipient.

There's no good reason, in this set-up modeling exercise, to distinguish electronic from real-world social networks. For that matter, when someone concludes a transaction online or in a store -- makes an inquiry or a purchase or a service request -- how is that so different from sending a message over what's conventionally seen as a social network?

This non-difference is the basis for my advocacy of integrating social-media-sourced data with data from corporate transactional and operational systems. We (in the business world) have, for years, sought that illusive "360 degree customer view": a portrait of the customer that assimilates information drawn from every customer touchpoint. A coherent, coordinated, complete view lets us better serve and profit from customers, right? Think of social platforms as additional customer touchpoints.

1 of 3
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll