Friday, February 10, 2012

Critical path capabilities on your social integration journey

Combining the Social Integration Journey and the basic building blocks of your solution, let us look at what could be the capabilities that figure in the critical path of this journey.

The objective is to help you decide on where to invest your efforts if you are building out a solution on your own for your enterprise or if you are looking at buying a solution, what would be the critical capabilities depending on where you are, on your social journey.

Aggregating the functionality across the basic building blocks, the key capabilities are:

  • Wide Social Data Source Coverage: For Listening and Monitoring, it is essential to "cast the net wide". I would go as far as to say that you should in fact include search engine results as a key component of discovering the hot spots of relevant activity on social media! You should look for support for both API-based collection as well as Web content extraction (which has definitely become way more involved than what used to be brute-force scraping techniques). Remember that the APIs are still evolving fairly rapidly and the solution should be able to evolve at the same pace too. You might also need historical data for certain use cases.
  • High Data Volumes: As a corollary of the wide coverage, you will also need the ability to handle large raw data sets. You might also have to handle real-time streaming sources (which are being recommended by the social networks more) for large data sets. Aggregators like Gnip and DataSift also provide streaming for large result sets.
  • Data Quality/Cleansing: To improve the Signal-to-noise ratio in the raw data set, you should be able to apply tough data cleansing/filtering rules. These could be in the form of entity recognition and matching thresholds. This could also involve use case based relevance rules for e.g. if you are looking to build the network profile of a customer, you might not be interested in the details / sentiment of their activity stream. You should be able to leverage a library of DQ rules if possible.
  • Text Analytics: You will need powerful semantic and sentiment analysis capabilities to infer key signals from all the data flowing through the system. If you operate in multiple geographies, you will need the ability to do this analysis across multiple languages.
  • Enterprise Data Access: A lot of value lies untapped in the intersection of the social and enterprise data domains. You should be able to seamlessly work with CRM, ERP, PLM and MDM system data as you add the social dimension to the data. 
  • Collaboration: As you move further on your social journey, it is important to facilitate collaboration both among employees and between employees and customers. At the minimum, your solution should be able to interface with existing / established collaboration systems so that end-users do not need to switch between multiple screens to share/consume data.
  • Publishing: Content is king in social media. Community building is the queen probably! You need well-integrated Content Publishing capabilities or at least the ability to reference/identify content items in your overall solution for end-to-end analysis of results. You will also need community platforms where you can engage and innovate with highly influential customers and influencers. 
Here is my take on the critical path of capabilities:

What do you think are the capabilities on the critical path of your social enterprise journey?

Other Related Posts in this blog series you might be interested in ...

Ram Subramanyam Gopalan - Product Management at Informatica
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Views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily represent those of Informatica.


  1. Hi there! glad to drop by your page and found these very interesting and informative stuff. Thanks for sharing, keep it up!
    - data integration

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