From Social Listening to the Prescriptive Enterprise


I find myself talking a lot lately about the slow evolution from basic social listening to a more robust use of analytics to truly gain actionable business insight. I have long felt the evolution was inevitable – of course I often think these things and they take years to materialize – a story for a different day. This Recent Forrester Blog Post touches on the notion of moving from social listening, to integrating social and customer data. It also presents a roadmap for how to move through the crawl-walk-run-fly stages.

I am sure the authors realize that although this is a piece of the evolution, there are other steps along the path to actionable business insight. I’m already seeing the movement from basic social media monitoring to the broader use of text analytic platforms. Companies that started their journey focused on brand mentions are evolving to new use cases that deliver considerable business value. One of the signs that we are reaching an inflection point can be found in a growing move towards evaluating text analytics software for a broader set of use cases.

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Social CRM in the Insurance Industry


I recently participated in the writing of an article on Social CRM for the Insurance industry. The piece is now available online via the Insurance Networking News. The Insurance industry is showing a great deal of interest in social business – and I hear it in most discussions with industry executives. It is clear that the industry is beginning to understand that insight from social channels can drive better decision making. Companies like Farmers Insurance are driving new growth, new product development, and customer retention by sharing information from Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn with their network of Agents.

A recent study indicates that 56% of companies are planning future Social CRM initiatives, while Gartner indicates that 30% of companies will extend their Social Networking efforts to Social CRM processes within the next two years. As I note in the article, social computing will enable a powerful sales, marketing and customer service platform that improves the customer experience and elevates brand identity. The full article is a worthwhile read, and provides some insight into the future use of Social CRM in the Insurance industry.

Now We’ve Got Social Vending Machines?


So here’s an interesting example of the world growing more instrumented: A Social Vending Machine. Text messages and videos are being sent by a vending machine. Just more fuel for the data explosion fire. Innovative companies like PepsiCo are generating ideas that we could not imagine even a year ago. Still doubt the staying power of this social phenomenon? Still think it’s a passing fad? Vending machines just went social. Think of all the other social business scenarios on the horizon. All the while, the volume of insight bearing unstructured data just continues to grow. It gets more interesting by the minute.

Evaluating Listening Platforms


In this report – The Forrester Wave Listening Platforms – Forrested evaluates several listening platform vendors. Using 76 evaluation crtieria, Forrester found that Converseon, Nielsen, and Radian6 are the leading vendors. As the need for social intelligence intensifies, companies will continue to invest in listening platforms, while expanding the number of use cases addressed. In evaluating nine vendors, Forrester focused on the strengths and weaknesses of each vendor. The key areas of focus were: user experience, dashboards, data quality, consulting, text analysis, data source coverage, and social media outreach tools.

Thoughts from the Collective Intellect CEO


In this Recent Article, Collective Intellect CEO Don Springer talks about social media and text analytics. Mr. Springer provides some industry research: 

  •  127 million people, or 57.5% of Internet users, visited a social networking site at least once a month in 2010.  Not only is the number of users growing quickly, but also the audience demographics continue to widen. 
  • The growth of unstructured data is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 62% through 2012.

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The Social Phenomena


This social phenomena that started with Web 2.0 and accelerated with the explosion of FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter, is at its core a platform for communication, interaction and relationships. It will usher in a new era of innovation. Terms like crowd sourcing, the wisdom of crowds and collective Intelligence, all speak to the notion that innovation is not an organizational function, but the ideas of an organization, community, or society.

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Are you Listening?


Are you listening? All of the communication occurring in social channels can challenge our listening skills. How are we sure that we are listening in the right places? What should we be listening for? How can listening translate to tangible benefits for my business or organization? Those are only some of the pressing questions that companies are attempting to answer. As companies move down the inevitable path of co-creating products and services with customers, social channels will become an increasing source of ideas and innovation. The business imperative for customer intimacy will drive many company strategies over the next decade.

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A look at 2011


As 2010 winds down, it is time to look ahead to 2011. I have high expectations as the calendar turns, and I believe 2011 will be the year of adoption. I believe we’ve reached a point where cash will come off the sidelines and I expect to see technology investments focused on revenue generation and value creation. With that as a backdrop, I’ll Label 2011 as the year of collaboration and intelligence – the two areas that I believe align very well with pressing business priorities. So here are my thoughts on 2011.

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Realizing the Benefits of CRM


This Press Release from Verint continues the Social Media and customer service drum beat. The recurring themes are:

  1. A growing challenge to identify, collect and act upon data delivered through an expanding number of customer communications channels
  2. The need for an aggregated and unified view of customer data across all channels
  3. Analysis that delivers insight drives rapid and informed action
  4. Companies are not equipped to analyze the interactions that occur via email, chat, social media, forums, etc.
  5. There is a heightened need for text analytics. Solutions that mine interactions and feedback across multichannel customer communications – including email, chat, blogs, review sites, social media and other text-based channels – continue to emerge
  6. Workflow delivers insight to the people that are best equipped to manage issues, address specific customer service concerns, or get ahead of negative sentiments in social media

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The Future Call Center


Customer support is evolving to handle an ever-growing number of channels. Social media interaction is playing an expanding role in how companies provide support to their customers. I believe this Press Release from Attensity gives us a view into the future call center. As the press release points out, social media is quickly becoming a key component of customer care strategies.  

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The Social Customer and the Call Center


Widely recognized CRM visionary Paul Greenberg just published a report titled Contact Center 2011 – Back to the Future. Mr. Greenberg has talked about Social CRM or CRM 2.0 for quite some time. In this report, he discusses the impact of the social customer on the contact center. Here is a summary along with my perspective. 

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Identify and Respond


This recent Attensity Announcement describes what I believe to be the next wave in the use of semantic technologies. We will see the rise of applications that leverage these technologies to deliver business outcomes. The discussion will shift from the semantic technologies themselves, to the application.

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