John is a smart guy, and in this post, Social Computing In The Enterprise, he briefly mentions what is going to be a key market over the next few years. It just doesn’t have a name yet.
In describing IBM’s new enterprise social software (that last one’s a bonus link from Burton’s Mike Gotta) tooling John makes a comparison against the del.icio.us, MySpace and Flickrs of this world:
It is easy to download the social tools, but with easy usually comes limited functionality or single purpose. For example, while you can share your del.icio.us links as many do publicly, the trends across a selected group(s) such as an organization are not trendable. Analysis of trends or the combination of information gathering within a company can help in identifying information and interests.
Blammo. Nailed. AR guy establishes industry analyst research agenda without even trying. John is absolutely right on.
We leave a trail of breadcrumbs with every enterprise search query, request for information from a colleague, email, or other declaration. Who are we talking to, about what? Who are the smartest people in the company, and who are the most helpful? where are groups that agree with the strategy, and are acting accordingly by sharing relevant content?
In an information economy people are the real life-blood. Information is only as valuable as the network it supports. But how do follow the breadcrumbs we find in our system logs?
But we’re going to need new ways to parse what Search guru John Battelle would call a database of intentions, and I would call a tag garden. The wisdom of the crowds will need to be measured and analysed. We’re seeing some interesting advertising-led behaviour moniitoring and revenue optimisation plays emerge, according to Matt Marshall at VentureBeat (visa Battelle). The enterprise is going to need similar tools as we start to make use of the hitherto ignored but fantastically useful asset, the log file.
One of RedMonk’s clients LogLogic is doing some really interesting work using enterprise system log events as breadcrumbs to help with regulatory compliance through log management and analysis. What I like about LogLogic’s play is that the it understands, and helps its clients understand, that the major challenges around compliance are not workflow problems but documentation and reporting oriented. I am not saying LogLogic is a social analytics player, but it is taking the kind of aggregate, analyse and report approach we’ll see plenty of in Enterprise Social Analytics.
In the interests of completeness I should stress that Microsoft has also built some tools into Sharepoint 2007, “to get the most from their powerful unstructured business networks, both inside and outside their organizations, thereby connecting with people more quickly and efficiently.”
Not sure about a broader social analytics play though. Traditional analytics vendors such as Cognos and Business Objects will almost certainly play in the space as well. The datasets are going to be huge.
So there you go – I was going to blog about this subject but John beat me to it. Enterprise Social Analytics. What do you think we should call it?
disclaimers: IBM is a RedMonk patron. Microsoft is a limted service client. Neither Cognos nor Business Objects is a client, but I have done an event with Cognos where I spoke to Business Intelligence 2.0.