Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘business intelligence

The Vindication Of Nate Silver

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I was all set to write a closer examination of statistician and blogger Nate Silver’s most recent election predictions, a ramp up to during which he was lambasted by a garden variety of mostly conservative voices for either being politically biased, or establishing his predictions on a loose set of statistical shingles.

Only to be informed that one of my esteemed colleagues, David Pittman, had already written such a compendium post.  So hey, why reinvent the Big Data prediction wheel?

Here’s a link to David’s fine post, which I encourage you to check out if you want to get a sense of how electoral predictions provide an excellent object lesson for the state of Big Data analysis. (David’s post also includes the on-camera interview that Scott Laningham and I conducted with Nate Silver just prior to his excellent keynote before the gathered IBM Information On Demand 2012 crowd.)

I’m also incorporating a handful of other stories I have run across that I think do a good job of helping people better understand the inflection point for data-driven forecasting that Silver’s recent endeavor represents, along with its broader impact in media and punditry.

They are as follows:

 “Nate Silver’s Big Data Lessons for the Enterprise”

 “What Nate Silver’s success says about the 4th and 5th estates”

“Election 2012: Has Nate Silver destroyed punditry?” 

Nate Silver After the Election: The Verdict

As Forbes reporter wrote in his own post about Silver’s predictions, “the modelers are here to stay.”

Moving forward, I expect we’ll inevitably see an increased capability for organizations everywhere to adopt Silver’s methodical, Bayesian analytical strategies…and well beyond the political realm.

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: Analyze This

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Jason Silva explains to the gathered IBM Information On Demand 2012 his utopic vision of a technology-rich future, one where everything is connected to everything else.

Techno DJ futurist Jason Silva (formerly of Al Gore’s Current TV) kicked off the Information On Demand 2012 event here at the Mandalay Bay Arena by telling us all to “Think Big.”

Though I’d known this was the conference theme, I didn’t realize how big big was until the small, but limber, Silva gave his big presentation.

As he kickstarted the event with a blend of hyper animations and visualizations reeling behind him on a huge video screen in post-MTV fashion, I wanted to stop him and explain that to talk about big things so rapidly would allow a lot of his big ideas to disappear into the ether and to just slow downnnnn.

Jason’s look at the big picture was an interesting one, wherein he described a world that was “hyperconnected,” where we extended sensors into everything…on planes, bridges…even our conference IDs for IOD!

But Silva’s utopian vision could easily merge into a dystopia, if proffered without regard to some of the more realistic and mundane issues presented in a Big Data universe.

Small, and petty human concerns like agendas, and greed, and lack of privacy, and bias, and the other nasty little buggers which make us human.

So, though I wanted to go along with Silva’s optimistic joy ride snowblind to those considerations, someone has to be the buzz kill at this emerging Big Data party and explain there are some very real and concerning issues that will need to be dealt with, none of which Silva seemed even to allude to.

Steve Mills explains to the Information On Demand 2012 press conference Monday morning how economics has made big data not only possible, but inevitable.

But, as techno joy rides go, his was fun even as it went by in the blink of an eye.

Once he blinked, it was IBM Software vice president Robert LeBlanc who really set the stage for the week’s tidings, explaining to the gathered audience of 12,000+ in the Mandalay Bay arena how smarter analytics would be required in the new era of computing.

As always, Leblanc started with some facts: Like how Big Analytics is what’s driving innovation and market growth in IBM’s recent CTO study.

How “technology factors” has risen to the top of the CEO agenda as the number one issue during the study’s last six years.

And how it’s no matter what part of the world you inhabit or what industry you’re in…all and everywhere will be impacted by the need for smarter analytics.  This kind of transformational change is a movie we’ve seen before, first with transaction processing in the 1960s, with Internet-enabled e-business in the mid-1990s, and now, the move towards analytics becoming foundational to computing.

Two IBM customers provided two very different, yet compelling, views into this future, one they’re each already living.

ConocoPhillips principal scientist Dr. Phil Anno explained how his organization is utilizing big data analysis to maximize the economic performance of petroleum extraction in the Arctic (and prevent damage to their drilling rigs by shifting ice flows!)

Keith Figlioli, senior VP with Premier, a U.S.-based healthcare IT provider, explained how they’re using IBM technologies to drive substantial costs out of the U.S. healthcare system (he explained that 30 cents on every dollar is wasted on unneeded care and fraud in the U.S.)

Also in the opening general session, we heard from Inhi Cho Suh, VP of Information Management at IBM, who gave an excellent, if quick, summary of the three PureData systems options.

Deepak Advani, who gave an excellent flyover of how big data analytics is bringing about the rapid integration of structured and unstructured data, also highlighted www.analyticszone.com, where you can download some free tools for conducting your own personal analytics.

As the general session concluded, I scooted on over to the day one press conference, where I heard some opening comments from IBM senior vice president Steve Mills.

Mills explained how IT economics laid the red carpet for big data, that it wouldn’t have been possible had the economics of hardware, in particular, been driven down to such an affordable level so as to enable these higher performing systems required for big data analytics.

Mills also highlighted the fact that smarter analytics is a delivery of the real promise of information technology, that now customers are “buying outcomes, and time to value,” as opposed to systems and processes, and that it made sense for them to invest in such projects.

More on the actual announcements as details emerge…

Analyze Your Analytics

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In the era of big data, organizational leaders will be distinguished by their ability to make decisions — big and small, strategic and tactical — based on a comprehensive view of the world around them.

Yet this is not a one-time or one-size-fits-all exercise. Each organization’s analytical journey is quite different.

The proper use of analytics will change how organizations are structured, how daily operations are managed and where new investments are made to create value.

A recent study from Nucleus Research found that companies realize a return of $10.66 for every dollar they invest in analytics.

To help organizations better understand how smart they are with analytics, IBM has released a free online self-assessment tool, “Analyze Your Analytics.”

The assessment is based on a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value surveying more than 4,500 executives, managers and analysts in multiple industries worldwide.

It only takes minutes to complete and provides respondents with insight into how well an organization aligns, anticipates and acts on information, compared to its industry peers.

After completing the assessment, respondents will receive a numeric score and customized recommendations based on the responses, job roles and their organization’s business objectives.

These recommendations will help organizations weave analytics into the fabric of their business and culture, with focused efforts on key business areas and objectives, including growing, retaining and satisfying customers, increasing operational efficiency, transforming financial processes or managing risk, fraud and regulatory compliance.

Get started here to analyze your analytics.

Written by turbotodd

September 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Day 1 Press Announcement — Social Analytics For Business

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Today at Lotusphere 2012 here in Orlando, Florida, IBM unveiled new software and services that delivers comprehensive networking capabilities to the increasingly social savvy workforce.

Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Collaboration and Social Software, IBM

Now, organizations can apply analytics to their social business initiatives, allowing them to gain actionable insight on social networking sentiment anytime, anywhere and put it to work in real-time.

Social Business Requires Social Analytics

As part of today’s news, IBM is announcing new cloud services and the next-generation of its social networking platform, IBM Connections. The new software incorporates sophisticated analytics capabilities, real-time data monitoring, and faster collaborative networks both inside and outside the organization through IBM’s SmartCloud services.

Now, organizations can integrate and analyze massive amounts of data generated from people, devices and sensors and more easily align these insights to business processes to make faster, more accurate business decisions.

By gaining deeper insights in customer and market trends and employees’ sentiment, businesses can uncover critical patterns to not only react swiftly to market shifts, but predict the effect of future actions.

Analytics In Action

For example, marketing professionals can now gain real-time access to data that highlights patterns and consumer sentiment related to marketing trends and services allowing them to adjust campaigns on the fly.

With one simple click, professionals can react to this insight by automatically creating a social network bringing together experts across geographical and market intelligence and swiftly respond to these insights.

Social Is Growing…Are You? 

The growing popularity of social networking is impacting the enterprise as the next-generation workforce expects more socially enabled applications at their fingertips. According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion, compared with $600 million.

At the same time, organizations are embracing social capabilities to transform virtually every part of their business operations, but lack the tools to gain insight into the enormous stream of information and use it in a meaningful way.

To address these challenges, IBM is delivering new software and cloud services that brings the power of analytics to the social business:

  • New social analytics software that integrates wikis, blogs, activity streams, email, calendaring and more, and flags relevant data for action. It allows for instant collaboration with one simple click and the ability to build social communities both inside and outside the organization to increase customer loyalty and speed business results.
  • New software that integrates social networking capabilities with enterprise content management to better connect people with information so they can make informed decisions and act quickly.
  • The new IBM SmartCloud for Social Business simplifies access to business-grade file sharing, social networking, communities, online meetings, instant messaging, email and calendar. In addition, IBM SmartCloud for Social Business will deliver a cloud-based productivity suite allowing users to co-edit documents in real-time.
  • New messaging and collaboration software that brings the power of embedded experiences to the Web and mobile devices providing a single point of entry for all business processes.

In support of today’s news, IBM also announced new clients using its social software and cloud collaboration services making it one of the world’s leading providers of software-as-a-service (SaaS).

New clients, including employees of Kraft, Electrolux, MIT Lincoln Labs, Colgate-Palmolive, 3M, BlueCross Blue Shield of Florida, Dutch Tax Office, Premier Healthcare and Brunswick and are among the millions of users of IBM’s social software and collaboration services on premise, in the cloud and via mobile device.

To hear how the leadership and IT teams at IBM client TD Bank Group are working across the company to become a social business, participate in a Livestream broadcast on January 17, 2012, at 8:30 AM ET at livestream.com/ibmsoftware.

Getting Social In the Workplace

With today’s news, IBM is announcing the beta of the next release of its industry-leading enterprise social networking platform, IBM Connections. Powered by analytics, IBM Connections delivers the widest range of capabilities, including wikis, blogs, activities, to help organizations collaborate on the fly.

IBM Connections includes the ability to access enterprise email, calendar and business tasks from inside the Connections platform, further unifying the collaboration experience.

The IBM Connections Activity Stream brings together the best of enterprise software and public social networks to help employees become more productive by bringing the information they need to their fingertips.

The Connections landing page features a single location that allows users to view and interact with content from any third party solution through a social interface, right alongside their company’s content, including email and calendar.

The embedded experience of the news feed, also known as an activity stream, is expected to allow employees from any department inside an organization to explore structured and unstructured data such as Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, weather data, videos, log files, SAP applications, electronically sign documents, and quickly act on the data as part of their everyday work experience.

For example, an employee could share a document with colleagues, approve a transaction from an SAP system, act on a notification required in a business process like an insurance claim, and share content such as status updates and files, all from IBM Connections.

The embedded experience and single point of access allows users to have insight at their finger tips and share data from any place, whether on the road or in the office.

One of the key findings from the 2011 IBM Social Business Jam — an online, real time discussion with 4,000 participants — was that social business activities need to be integrated and aligned with business processes to be truly effective.

To help clients address this challenge, IBM is announcing IBM Connections Enterprise Content Edition, an integrated social content management solution that combines the scalability of social networking with enterprise content management and enhanced compliance and control features sought by users in regulated industries.

Designed to manage the entire life cycle of office documents, Web and social content, IBM Connections Enterprise Content Edition increases the ability to share knowledge, gain expertise and create high-value content quickly through advanced content, document management and workflow use cases.

A New, Secure Collaborations Cloud

According to Forrester Research Inc., cloud computing will grow from a $41 billion business in 2010 to $241 billion in 2020.

To address this growing opportunity, IBM is announcing IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.  IBM is aligning its LotusLive services under the SmartCloud brand where it joins the ever-growing portfolio of business solutions that IBM delivers in the market that includes offerings in Commerce, Analytics, and industry-specific solutions like Smarter Cities.

The new service gives users one-click access to social networking, file sharing, online meetings, enterprise-class email, calendaring and instant messaging allowing clients to collaborate inside and outside the organization while pairing business transformation with the economic benefits of flexible cloud delivery models.

Additionally, a new capability of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business is a cloud-based office productivity suite, IBM Docs. Now in beta and planned for availability in 2012, IBM Docs allows organizations, both inside and outside the firewall, to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents in the cloud to improve productivity.

IBM Docs authors will be able to store and share documents in IBM SmartCloud, co-edit documents in real time or assign users sections of the document so they can work privately easing the management of  multiple revisions from multiple authors in team-based documents.

GAD, one of the largest specialists for banking IT in Germany, is evaluating the use of IBM Docs in a private cloud in 2012 to facilitate browser based document creation and change management. Approximately 450 banks will be able to reduce costs and become more responsive to their customers through GAD’s bank21 solution.

Delivered in 22 languages, a 60-day trial of IBM SmartCloud for Social Business is available at no charge here.

Social Requires Mobility

In response to the burgeoning mobile workforce, expected to reach more than 1.19 billion people by 2013, IBM’s new social software supports the most popular mobile devices, including tablets.

IBM is announcing the beta release of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino, Social Edition, a social-enabled messaging and collaboration platform built on open standards that provides users with the ability to act on any work flow process directly within the email inbox.

Whether accessing email from a browser or desktop, or sharing videos and files, users no longer have to travel to a third-party site. In addition, with the embedded experience of social mail, users are more efficient when engaging in activity and more responsive to day to day tasks.

IBM intends to support mail, calendaring and contacts in a beta release of IBM Lotus Notes Traveler for Microsoft Windows Phone on Nokia and HTC devices; the beta is expected in the first half of 2012.

IBM is introducing a new, lower-cost program for BlackBerry users to access email in the cloud.

IBM is also introducing a new, lower-cost program for BlackBerry users to access email in the cloud. Built on the world-class expertise of IBM Mobile Enterprise Services and the sophisticated security of the Blackberry Enterprise Server, IBM helps bring the type of security and reliability expectations of on-premise email to cloud email environments, including built-in end-user and administrative controls for mobile device management.

Information On Demand 2011: New Predictive Analytics For Healthcare

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This morning at Information On Demand 2011, IBM introduced new software for the healthcare industry to help health care providers and payers improve patient care and reduce costs.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, one in five patients suffer from preventable readmissions, which represents $17.4 billion of the current $102.6 billion Medicare budget. Beginning in 2012, hospitals will be penalized for high readmission rates with reductions in Medicare discharge payments.

The new software offering uses content analytics similar to what is found in IBM’s Watson technology. IBM today introduced new software for the healthcare industry to help health care providers and payers improve patient care and reduce costs. The new software offering uses content analytics similar to what is found in IBM’s Watson technology.

Seton Healthcare Family is the first client to adopt and use the technology, called “IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare.”

The solution will allow healthcare organizations to extract relevant clinical information from vast amounts of patient data to better analyze the past, understand the present, and predict future outcomes.

Calling Dr. Watson

By combining IBM’s Watson technology with industry solutions offerings, Seton intends to focus the new content and predictive analytics solution on the root causes of hospital readmissions, and ways it can decrease preventable multiple hospital visits.

Most healthcare organizations are drowning in data but are challenged to gain reliable, actionable insights from this information. In fact, more than 80 percent of an institution’s data today is unstructured. In healthcare, this is in the form of physician notes, registration forms, discharge summaries, documents and more is doubling every five years.  Different from machine- ready data, this content lacks structure and is arduous for healthcare enterprises to include in business analysis and therefore is routinely left out. As a result, millions of patient notes and records often sit unavailable in separate clinical data silos. This content contains valuable information, but there’s historically been no easy way to analyze it.

IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare enables doctors and healthcare professionals to go far beyond traditional search and analysis of unstructured data. They can advance diagnosis and treatment by accurately extracting medical facts and understanding relationships buried in large volumes of clinical and operational data.

The IBM solution transforms raw information into healthcare insight quickly by revealing trends, patterns, deviations and predicting the probability of outcomes, allowing organizations to derive insight in minutes versus weeks or months, or not at all. As a result, healthcare professionals can find more effective ways to care for high-risk patients, provide safer patient care, and develop new models for reimbursement for quality care.

Powered By POWER

The new IBM solution gives clinical and other knowledge workers and executives several ways to interact with analyzed information including searching, exploring, mining, monitoring and reporting. It delivers a set of proven technologies that meet the rigorous standards and requirements of the healthcare community.

The software is also compatible with IBM’s Health Integration Framework, which means healthcare organizations can realize more value from existing information system investments such as data warehouse, business intelligence, master data management and advanced case management.

IBM is offering new content and predictive solution services through its Business Analytics and Optimization initiatives, which includes a new center of competence for UIMA-based text analysis solutions. This center of competence draws on resources from IBM Global Services, IBM Software Lab Services, and the IBM jStart emerging technology team.

IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare is optimized to run on IBM Power Systems, which are designed for high throughput and complex analysis of structured and unstructured data. Built on the foundation of IBM POWER7 processor technology, Power Systems are available at many different price points and can be tailor fit for purpose and rapidly deployed for a broad range of customer environments with leadership performance, ease of management and efficiency.

For more information go here. IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare.

Written by turbotodd

October 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm

IBM’s Retail Forecast: Back To School

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Well, today’s U.S. jobs report for the month of August was a drag.  The number of net new jobs added?

Big zero.

But, there’s some goods news on the horizon, in particular the retail industry.

That is, of course, if you buy an analytics-based forecast recently produced by IBM.

Its retail forecast indicates that apparel sales are expected to post year-over-year gains during the fall shopping season, with especially big increases in sales of children’s apparel.

These findings, of course, have substantial ramifications for retailers preparing for one of their most important seasons of the year.

So how did IBM arrive at this forecast?  First, it relies on historical data and sophisticated analytics software developed by IBM to analyze both long-term trends and seasonal peaks.

IBM consultants use such predictive techniques to help retailers, manufacturers, and other IBM clients improve performance by addressing complex issues of supply and demand.

These techniques also aid in planning product mix and new store locations.

In producing the forecast, IBM applies analytics technology to economic data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The children’s apparel category stands out during this three-month period.  It is expected to total $2.659 billion, representing a 11.1% increase over the prior-year period. Women’s apparel, men’s apparel and footwear are all expected to post increases over the same period last year as well.

The sales projections for August, September and October 2011 are in the following chart (numbers in millions of dollars):

Click to expand image.

The following chart contains actual sales figures for August, September and October 2010 (numbers in millions of dollars):

Click to expand image.

The projected year-over-year change in sales for the three-month period is summarized below:

Click to expand image.

The forecast indicates that for Men’s Apparel, September sales will be up 10.5% over the 20-year average. For Women’s Apparel, September sales will be up 2.15% over the 20-year average.

“This indicates that consumers are rotating between categories,” said IBM retail analytics leader Michael Haydock. “Adults are holding back on purchasing for themselves during their back-to-school shopping for the kids. But once the kids are in school, moms and dads will be looking to treat themselves. This category rotation, which became prominent after the economic downturn began in 2008, seems to be persisting.”

Haydock noted that it is important for retailers to understand these trends and adjust advertising, staffing and inventory accordingly to meet fast-changing demand.

He also highlighted the fact that disposable income, as reported by the U.S. Commerce Department, continues to be healthy this year, perhaps indicating pent-up consumer demand.

You can learn more about IBM’s Business Analytics and Optimization here.

Written by turbotodd

September 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Full ACM Interview On Social Intelligence

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I was asked by a reporter for the Association For Computing Machinery (better known as the “ACM”) Web site to do an interview recently on the subject of social intelligence.

You can see the fruits of our interview here.  Paul Hyland, the reporter, did a nice job of synthesizing the essence of what we communicated in our email interview.

However, there were a few things left out that I felt would have been helpful to the audience, so I’m attaching the full email interview exchange below.

Social intelligence as a social media analysis discipline is still in its infancy, but at IBM we’ve been working in this arena for several years. Though I see much analysis and focus in the marketplace around the social analysis tools, there seems to be a deficit on some of the organizational and methodological approaches necessary for effective social intelligence gathering and actionability.

Hopefully the full interview below provides some insights into how many of us are thinking about this space inside IBM, and certainly I welcome comments and others’ observations on the subject!

  • For those ACM News readers who aren’t familiar with the emerging concept of “social intelligence” (SI), can you give me a quick explanation of what it is all about and why it has become so important today? What are a few of the most obvious applications of SI?

I’m not going to try and speak for the entire industry, but will share an explanation of the concept as we’ve started to recognize it inside IBM.

Simply put, social intelligence is the gathering, management, and analysis of business intelligence via the social media.

Business intelligence, of course, can encompass a wide gamut of actionable data and insight that can assist organizations in their decision-making.

To answer the question of why it has become so important, it’s probably best to answer the last part of the question, as to what the most obvious applications of social intelligence are.

The importance is driven by the changing business realities that the advent of the social media represents.  There are now billions of people online around the globe, and those people represent a huge diversity of opinions, preferences, sentiments, and related expressions of interest across an even more diverse set of topics and issues.  That includes expressions that impact brands and organizations around the globe.

Those companies wishing to adapt, learn, and benefit from those expressions are well advised to “listen”to those conversations, and to work to glean useful information and insights from those expressions.

To do that effectively and efficiently requires organizations to establish new ways of gathering market insight and intelligence, this time via the social media, and to structure their social intelligence gathering efforts in a way that maximizes the benefit they get from the data and insight collected there.

Actual examples run the gamut of business functions.  PR and communications may be listening in order to understand the impact of a recent PR initiative…Marketing may be interested in understanding the awareness of a new product or service, or perhaps to understand how the competition is faring…support or CRM in a service business may be wanting to understand how happy customers are, or aren’t, with a new service initiative.  There are a garden variety of social intelligence mining opportunities.

  • Talk to me a bit about the analysis of SI data, which is more import to our readers than is the gathering and management of SI data.  What are the key aspects involved in that analysis?

Great question.  Whenever I talk to people about social intelligence, I like to put it in some kind of a construct to help people get their heads around the opportunity it presents.

I refer to the four “O’s” – organization, opportunity, outcomes, and operations.

With respect to organization, you need to determine where in your company the social intelligence gathering and analysis function should reside, as that will help determine the type of insight and analysis you’re to gather.

Opportunity helps determine what you’ll eventually come to analyze.  If you’re an organization that largely markets products, your social intelligence analysis could well center around gathering product feature insights, or competitive insights.

The outcomes help put the analysis to practical use.  Too often, companies don’t listen with any sort of end in mind.  Establish a hypothesis and outline what it is that you’re looking to ultimately do with the intelligence you gather. That will help focus and bring clarity to how your organization will use its social intelligence.

Finally, operations.  Build an operational framework for taking action on your social intelligence.  Establish an organizational workflow and identify the constituents whom you will share and ask to act on the social intelligence you distribute.

Then, hold them accountable for the actions emerging from those insights.  Otherwise, you may soon find you’re just gathering intelligence for its own sake instead of actively leveraging the insights you gather from it to the betterment of your business.

I find that this is where too many organizations typically start their social intelligence journey, with the tools and vendors as opposed to what is it they wish to elicit from their efforts.

Go back and start with the four O’s above, THEN, as part of your conscious evaluation of what you’re trying to accomplish, you can start to outline what partner vendors or tools will be your best fit.

If you’ve read any of Forrester’s work in this area, you know they break this market into three key areas: Social dashboards, Multichannel Analytics Providers, and Listening Service Partners.

Full disclosure: IBM is in this business, with products like Cognos Consumer Insight (which would fall into the Multichannel Analytics category), but as a practicing marketer as well, we’ve examined and experimented with tools and vendors across this spectrum.

If you’re simply looking for a dashboard that allows you to monitor the landscape, and you’re going to establish a certain self-sufficiency, then the social dashboard approach may fit best for you.

If you need more handholding or professional services, or want a partner that can help you gather, analyze and even summarize your social intelligence, then an LSP would be warranted.

If you’re looking to gather data both in and outside the social media realm, structured and unstructured, then you’ll need a Multi-Channel Analytics Providers’ solution that can accommodate those unique requirements.

There are scores of vendors in each of these areas, and I’d be doing a disservice trying to mention certain tools without identifying specific use cases.  That said, here is a link to a wiki that was put together of some of the more notable social media monitoring solutions.

  • I know that “social intelligence” is also a psychological term. Are you familiar with that term? In order to avoid confusing our readers, is there any connection between the two? I need to draw a distinction.

I was not aware of the psychological orientation of the term until you mentioned it, but upon looking it up on Wikipedia, I would certainly distinguish that original definition with what I’m referring to here.

That definition describes social intelligence as the exclusively human capacity to use very large brains to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments.

Earlier, I set this discussion up with the definition centering around social intelligence being the gathering, management, and analysis of business intelligence via the social media.

The distinction is pretty clear, although I would argue the former definition could be applicable with the social media definition if you were attempting to do a social network analysis of a group of people online, and trying to understand and negotiate the social relationships and environment (read: the social graph).  Otherwise, I think they’re pretty well distinct from one another.

  • Can you provide a “further reading list” of sources of information on social intelligence for those readers who want to learn more.

I have my own personal preferences.  Since this is an emerging area, a lot of the useful insight you’ll find is on blogs and from people in the analyst’s community.

For the latter, I really like the work Forrester’s Zach Hofer Shall puts out around influence and what he refers to as “customer intelligence.”  Note, however, that though his blog is public, much of Forrester’s research is by subscription only.

I also like to keep up with work from the Altimeter Group, notably Jeremiah Owyang and Susan Etlinger.

And of course, it’s also helpful to follow blogs from some of the key vendors in this space.  A few names I’d suggest would include Converseon, Radian6, Cymfony, and Nielsen Online, among others.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be relevant to our readers concerning SI that we haven’t covered here?

The easiest way to get up to speed on social intelligence is to practice.  Practice definitely makes more perfect in this emerging space.

You can easily practice your own form of simple, DIY social intelligence by establishing a few Google News/Blog alerts.  Perhaps you want to monitor a few keywords relevant to your competition.  Or scan the social media for mentions of your brand.

You don’t have to have a multi-million or –thousand dollar investment to get started, that’s the beauty and economics of social media.  So, do some basic monitoring to get going and build from there.

Also, work to educate your colleagues about the opportunity social intelligence presents by offering them up some insight that nobody has been able to collect.  That will help get and keep their attention, and give you the opportunity to make the case for getting investment to take your social intelligence to the next level.

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