This year has been a really important one for social business, specifically at the intersection of social, bigdata, and analytics. We have seen the conversation change from the superficial (ala Facebook for the Enterprise) to the profound (ala cultural and business process transformation). However despite the conversation moving in the right direction, we are still seeing progress sluggish and measurable ROI is tricky at best. Therefore, this Christmas I would like you to bring me, and the entire social business community:
- Increased success in breaking down silos
When I think of silos on the Internet, its all about the plethora of social networks that are springing up all over the place. However in the enterprise its way more interesting as in addition we have a whole ecosystem of enterprise applications that are themselves silos; silos which we all believe could be bridged to some level through social integration. However thus far most of what I see is superficial at best, at least as seen through my analytics-tinted glasses. Since people are the single integration point across all business applications, this people/social layer (if it captures both actions & interactions) can break down business silos in a way that a purely data integration approach cannot. To leverage the value of this social layer (The Social Graph) we need more than integration on the glass (such as Activity Streams) or even integration at the content & meta-data level (such as file sharing, commenting, recommending, tagging, etc.). To realize the operational efficiencies and business insights we anticipate social will bring, we need to move analytics from the purely transactional (operations-centric) to the interactional (people-centric). Which brings me to my next request.
- Prioritization of The Social Graph as a persistent knowledge store
While the social graph has the potential to become the unifying layer bridging the gap between “systems of record” and “systems of engagement”, it will only do this if it becomes a persistent store that applications can read, write, analyze, and visualize. GraphDBs have become one the hottest new technology areas in 2012, but I would really like to see them become a more pervasive building block of the social business. I want to see the social graph become a key piece of infrastructure on which we can apply a whole range of analytics and build a new generation of people-centric applications that leverage the collective intelligence of the enterprise and beyond. Which brings me to my third and final request.
- An end to the obsession with sentiment and influence analysis
Coming from a text analytics background (I built my first Twitter sentiment and influence analysis application 3+ years ago) I am intimately familar with this challenge and appreciate its value. However I feel that its totally hijacked the social analytics topic over the last few years to the detriment of the enterprise. Sentiment & influence is important for Marketing departments (although I tend to think of sentiment as a bit of a sledgehammer, and influence as a bit of a fuzzy and unproven science), but less so to the rest of the business. I’d like to see increased focus on some of the other types of social analytics specifically to address challenges such as personal productivity and organizational analytics. There is a big bad world of analytics out there, and we should be maximizing all of it!
Thanks Santa for always bringing me great Christmas presents. I hope you have a safe journey from the North Pole and I promise to have a nice treat waiting you and Rudolf.