Anticipating Socialytic Disruption
Today’s businesses have access to exponentially more data from more streams than ever before. From customer-level data to social data to performance data, there is no shortage of what our firms can track, measure, and collect. And yet, with this massive influx of unstructured information, many firms have succumbed to “analysis paralysis;” they know there is more to be gleaned from the data, but don’t know which questions to ask of it or where to begin.
The nascent field of social analytics, or “socialytics,” seeks to integrate social software and big data analytics to address this concern and create more valuable insight from unstructured information. So far, socialytic applications have mostly remained within marketing and sales. Looking ahead, social analytics can have a much broader application across all functions of the firm as well as redefining relationships beyond the firm in three broad opportunities emerging from the integration of data analytics and social software:
- Making better use of data warehouses: Data from communication flows can be analyzed to create leading indicators, which can help firms anticipate operating performance trends and take more focused steps to improve outcomes.
- Turning data silos into data platforms: Opening up large databases to third party analytic services can uncover valuable insight from preexisting stores of data.
- Driving learning through creation spaces: Enriching the opportunity for collaboration and targeted performance feedback on data platforms can accelerate learning and performance improvement among participants both inside and outside individual firms.
While this paper focuses on how socialytics can be used by companies and individuals, these three opportunities apply to all institutions, from government organizations to Fortune 500s to NGOs. Socialytics is not just a passing interest; it has the potential to make the invisible visible, focus attention within the firm onto the most pressing performance issues, and generate real value both for institutions and individuals.
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