The Innovation Imperative


Web 2.0 capabilities align very closely with mounting enterprise issues; and it’s changing the way that knowledge workers interact with information and one another. Web 2.0 and advanced forms of analytics support the most compelling challenge facing the 21st century Enterprise; the need to create sustainable competitive advantage. New forms of innovation and the speed of that innovation are the keys to creating that competitive advantage. The perfect storm of technology innovation referenced on this Blog will enable: 1) the inclusion of consumers, partners, employees, and other stakeholders in the innovation process. 2) The ability to collaborate, access, and act on growing amounts of information in a shorter timeframe. 3) Small groups to come together quickly to problem solve. 4) Customers to receive personalized products and attention. 5) The enterprise to meet customer demand for more customization and flexibility and create products and services faster, at far lower cost, with far less risk. 6) Employees to improve communication, productivity, and knowledge capture. 7) The increase of loyalty and revenues, while reducing sales and support costs. 8) The retention of tacit knowledge as key staff retires or moves on to other opportunities (baby boomer). 9) The attraction and retention of younger talent (the Internet generation).

These business imperatives are essential for the enterprise to compete: innovation is the only answer. Web 2.0 enables employees, partners, customers, consumers, government, and other stakeholders to participate in the innovation process, while advanced analytics provide actionable intelligence to accelerate it. When a phenomenon this large aligns so closely with the compelling needs of business, it is a clear sign that the time is now.

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.

A Familiar User Interface


This Article by Michael Hugos titled “Social Media front ends plug into enterprise applications” touches on one of the evolutionary social business paths that I believe is inevitable. Mr. Hugos describes a scenario where social media such as FaceBook and Skype become the user interface and connect to appropriate in-house systems using SOA. He states: “People already know the user interface for these social media platforms so the learning curve is not hard. And the new system runs on all sorts of mobile devices like iPhone, Android and iPad, and it stays current as new devices come out because the social media vendors (FaceBook and Skype in this case) do that job for us”. 

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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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Disruption in the Retail Industry


In this report from The IBM Business Value Institute titled Meeting the Demands of the Smarter Consumer, it is easy to see the impact that the smarter consumer is having on the retail industry. This is a broader indicator of the challenges facing all businesses and governments and underscores the need for customer intimacy as a business imperative. This to me continues to highlight that our current social and data-rich state represents both tremendous opportunity and considerable challenge. I recommend this report for its insight into this growing phenomena.

The Value of Twitter


I highly recommend this article by Mark Suster titled The Power of Twitter in Information Discovery. This same author has written a piece on Twitter’s use cases, which is also a good read. For those that still think Twitter is about telling people what you had for breakfast, these are must reads. I agree completely with his perspective and use Twitter in a very similar manner.

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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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A look at Trends in Analytics


In his Industry Trend Blog for 2010, Nenshad Bardoliwalla identified the top ten trends in analytics, business intelligence, and performance management. The author sees a vibrant market and a resurgence of innovation.

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Gartner’s Strategic Technologies for 2011


Earlier this week at the Gartner Symposium / ITxpo, Gartner presented their list of strategic technologies for 2011.  Four of the ten technologies fit squarely in the social technologies and business analytics space covered by this Blog.

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Social Technologies and Innovation


I have long believed that social technologies would 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. Social technologies and new emerging forms of analytics allow us to create an environment for idea creation, and an ability to quickly capture the resulting insight. User generated content has long existed in the world of social media – and new ways to capture relevant insight are evolving. What’s exciting is the growing use of social technologies inside the enterprise. Once the environment for collaboration and idea generation is established, the next step us harnessing all of the insight available both inside the enterprise and out. This article on Social Technologies and Innovation does a good job of describing the growing role of social technology inside the enterprise.