Monday, January 16, 2012

Value is in the intersection of social and enterprise data

Continuing on from the previous post, where a phased approach to social media was talked about, I wanted to share my thoughts on the business use cases that enterprises can realize through this journey.

Before jumping into that, I do want to set the context for these posts. I believe every participant in any market needs to have their own perspective on it. So with social media integration - customers, industry analysts, business consultants, systems integrators, enterprises and solution providers all have a point of view on it. As you might have noticed, this is an attempt at a deliberate first principles based thought process which I believe is key for any enterprise software vendor to succeed in any segment especially one which is this dynamic.

That out of the way, let's take a look at the spread of cross-functional use cases across these stages. This list of use cases is mainly attributed to the March 2010 post by Jeremiah Owyang and Ray Wang and a follow-up from Ray in August 2011 (thanks to both!).

This is not exhaustive by any means but a good starting point for enterprises. These use cases span the continuum of two key data domains:
  1. Enterprise data (Transaction, Structured)
  2. Soicial data (Interaction, Less Structured)
The expectation is that the value of integrating these two domains increases as the overlap increases and is bolstered by collaboration (internal and external). The value of using social data is incremental to what is already achieved using Traditional BI.

There are additional synergies that can be gained by sharing the underlying analytics infrastructure across multiple functions.

Stretching this thought a bit further, in order for enterprises to prioritize their data integration efforts for these use cases, there are four categories that seem to emerge:
  1. Traditional BI - Only focuses on internal enterprise data
  2. "Inside-Out" - Starts with enterprise data and enriches it with social data
  3. "Outside-In" - Starts with an event/trend of interest on the social side and then prods action from the enterprise side
  4. "Outside-only" - Focuses on only social data to glean insights
As one would expect, the majority of high-value use cases are those that move from (1) to (2) and (3) - the social dimension gives new insights into enterprise trends. That said, it would be ideal for enterprises to leverage the same solution to cater to all four categories of use cases.

Interestingly, there is another (super)-dimension to this data domain discussion which is the structured to unstructured continuum that exists in both the social and enterprise data domains. Ideally any solution that you work with should be able to handle this whole spectrum of data - tall order indeed but a worthy objective.

This kind of framework does help us (vendors) to know our strengths and opportunities better. Hopefully this will add a few dimensions to the enterprises' thought process on what categories of use cases they want to go after.

It would be interesting to hear your insights and thoughts on this. Do leave your comments here or ping me on Twitter (@ramsgopa).

Now that we have given some thought to the business side of things, I will venture into the solution components (Informatica as a software vendor do need to build a solution finally!) in my next post.

Ram Subramanyam Gopalan - Product Management at Informatica
My LinkedIn profile | Follow me on Twitter
Views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily represent those of Informatica.

No comments:

Post a Comment