Monday, August 8, 2011

Business Intelligence for Social Media

If you are an enterprise and you have not yet have figured out what to analyze from Social media then here is something that you need to look at. Taking the Social Media route for an enterprise has to have its set of goals, any investment certainly has to have a prerequisite over how and what ROI they need. Here in the case of Social Media implementations; the industry at large is still coping with newer definitions and newer trends, hence the entire stack of Social Media is still evolving. When it comes to enterprises we have seen in the earlier article on how we go about structuring an scenario driven adoption to derive the highest ROI. The use cases or scenarios of adoption for maximum ROI is focussed on investing into Social Media as a platform to empower and pursue higher returns over traditional channels of engagement or business functions, i.e., Marketing, Sales, Services, Support, etc.,

Every adoption of the Social Media platform revolves around key goals, as in my illustration as below.

Social Media Goals & Measures - A Framework 

The key is to first identify the components or parameters that will help us 'Quantify and Qualify' the road to realizing the set goals for every scenario. The above framework briefly depicts the goals, measures, governance, practices over the platform.

Any Intelligence is arrived at only after the a process of Data ETL, Data Analytics based on rule engines. The typical process involves getting sourced data, categorizing and aligning them per the business rule and deriving analysis out of it. Here in a scenario driven and use case specific Social media we need to 'Define' the objects that we need to 'measure'.

What do you Measure?
You want to measure the impact of deploying social media over Sales & Marketing over Social channels, Customer Satisfaction for Community Support using Social channels, Plain vanilla support queries and response measurements driving higher CSAT, Marketing operational expenditure reduction while increasing funnel, Creating channels for revenues for other services / solutions, Brand value appreciation measurements, Networking and connectivity across target user base with measurements for influence - virality - funnel expansions, etc.,

Social Media Business Intelligence - Goals
The analytics that are framed and inferenced drawn are to enable and assit the organization in 1. Performing critical and key decision support, 2. Increase subscriptions, userbase, influence and brand awareness, 3. Generate content and collaterals by crowd sourcing, drive community collaboration, 4. Traditional business process channels 'Operational Expenditure' optimization, 5. Increasing revenue and conversion funnels.

The Process Drivers
The entire process of defining, measuring, analyzing, create intelligence in this particularly dynamic use case is to have a strong governance and adoption of industry best practices and processes. The core set of process are in the illustration.

Products that assist in framing a BI, please refer my earlier post.

Jesu Valiant - 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Social Media for the Enterprise - Strategies for Maximum ROI

Social Media has taken the globe by storm and there are now newer trends evolving almost all the time, almost all the people who connect to internet have a social media identity. From the advent of emails now social media has truly evolved and has given a better platform to the people. The primary reasons of success for Social media is that people can Share information, stay updated over people they know, interact at will, benefit in the varied collaborative workflows it can offer, create public groupings or private restricted groupings, and much more. This ability to act at free will, collaborate, ideate and stay connected has become what the populations have been missing. We even had regime changes in countries instigated by Social media activism.

Social Media dynamism, science and working is unique and can be adopted to Enterprises that have their own community, they can on-board existing traditional engagement channels into Social media and offer an unique customer experience. There are always huge benefits in closing out a successful Social Media channel for enterprises. Simply the Science of Social Media can allow a definitive and a sea of change for enterprises who will want to pursue new ways of global outreach and engagement of customer communities.

Adoption of Social Media in enterprises has to be done with utmost importance and involving best strategists who can do the job. There are many product platforms that gives a host of features that can be adopted, but enterprises are not here to purchase 'available' feature sets and implement. No single product in the market gives you the ability to do multiple Social Media tasks. Here below we will see the top strategic adoption scenarios for Social Media for enterprises based on the current market dynamism.

There are frameworks, methodologies, practices and process systems created to add tremendous value to enterprises seeking to deploy Social media strategies, With the application of Social Media strategies and by incorporating the best practices honed; enterprises can now pursue providing strong value to their engagement models by providing the need driven, value based solutions over Social media. Enterprises have a list of priorities that they should achieve by deploying Social Media platforms; these priorities are scenarios in which they get the maximum return over investment. These scenarios are the traditional engagement methods thats packaged and deployed over social media platforms; with a global community and outreach like never before. Have listed below few of the direct, maximum yield Social Media pursuits that I could research and list.

Social Media - Strategic Solutions Framework

Social Media Strategic Solutions for Enterprises

Enterprise Collaboration Enablement:
Enterprise Collaboration enablement helps leverage the right set of tools and services to help quickly build fast and efficient systems and processes for setting up collaborative knowledge sharing and collaboration applications within a secure, unified system.

Enterprise Support Enablement:
Support enablement helps leveraging the evolved and rich practices, process systems that can be deployed to customer service staff, external customers and partners. These groups are able to access vital knowledge quickly and easily. Customer service desks are increasingly under pressure to make efficiency gains, cost reductions while at the same time providing a faster, more accurate, more consistent service to customers.

Social Media Monitoring & Engagement:
Social media monitoring is all about searching for key words and phrases being used online to hear what’s being talked about. Its all about homing in on the data, conversations, dialogue, and other bits of information that are relevant to the organization's business. From communities that converse about business to people talking about your broader industry or even your competitors, monitoring is about harnessing the conversations that matter to your business.

Social Media Sales Enablement:
Organization's sales people ideally should be selling and not sift through legacy CRM systems, piles of emails and stagnant intranets. Solutions should provide channels to improve TAT for the teams and helps arm them with vital information, collaborate with experts, close deals and thus increase the win rate.

Web Collaboration & Intelligence:
Ability to perform analysis on social media metrics, segment data, and generate reports to connect the dots for social media measurement and ROI. Solution should offer full access to the social web in real time. The solution platform should capture hundreds of millions of posts each day, including Facebook, blogs, news sites, discussion boards, video and image sharing sites that are not unified by one platform. Ability to look into multiple web sources to gather and categorize information based on rule sets.

Deploying a social media solution for any one of the enterprise use cases has to be tied down to industry best practices that have evolved and keep evolving. With a strong metrics and governance process, the Social Media enterprise implementation can be realized and rich ROI reaped. My illustration above captures the major goals and the processes that help in achieving those goals.

Jesu Valiant - 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Social Analytics - Gaps & Top Applications

Every organization and corporate house is participating in the Social Media; its come to a point where PR’s focus now are into Social Media. Social media opens a direct channel with the customers with their respective direct identities and hence more ownership and interactions; suddenly a new transaction medium and channel with direct commercial implications. Value spewed by Social media channels now has made the most stiff-necked CEO’s bend down and deploy Social media strategists, this channel has truly emerged and maturing quite fast.

With the Social media becoming a business accelerator and Gartner identifying that Social Communications and Collaboration & Social Analytics as the Top 10 strategic technologies for 2011; the game in this space is heated and the market is lapping up every possible skill to make the most of this new front. With all the transactions and the buzz around the social web that is happening there is an immediate need to monitor, record, analyze, model, gather intel over these transactions. The market now has hundreds of Social Media analysis companies rendering services and providing products, of these products there are a host of features on offing, only few however provide solutions addressing the need.

At the first look every product looks similar and there is not much difference; when drilled down over product usage, product adoption, flexibility, rule sets, parameters, people & pages analysis, integrations, key social web performance indicators; there are only a few that surface to meet the demands. With not in any particular order the following are the ‘surfaced’ and recommended products. The hype over this market segment might fizz out and we will have audiences investing into products and solutions and discover that not all was good that meets the eye.

So what are the products that have some credibility, good rate of adoption, good support, mapped to best practices? At the outset I had dwelved deep trying to understand the feature sets vis a vis solutions that can be created and how good they address the emerging market needs.

Top Social Media Analytics Products:

Sysomos Heartbeat 2.0
Sysomos MAP
Radian6 Dashboard
Radian6 Engagement Console
Alterian SM2
Social Mention

Most Wanted Social Media Feature Lists:
Timeline Analysis
Funnel Analysis
Viral Optimizer & Analysis
Revenue Tracking
Traffic Source Optimizer & Analysis
Retention Workflows
Competitive Analysis
Geographic and Demographic Data
Key Influencer Identification
Key User / App / Page Engagement
Comprehensive and Spam-Free Database
Real-time feeds & captures of blogs, message boards and other types of unstructured data
Real-time analysis of blogs, message boards and other types of unstructured data
Comprehensive and constant web coverage
Social Media Metrics
Data Filtering and Segmentation
Workflow Management
Social CRM and Web Analytics Integration
Automated Sentiment Analysis
Historical Data
Listening Grid
Real-Time Coordination
Case Based Reporting
Complete Activity & Conversation History
Social Profiles
Integration and Interops Capability
Efficiency and Productivity

Jesu Valiant

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 - CRM Gaps and Top Applications

CRM applications have traditionally helped in issue tracking, tasks management, accounts management and have all their product feature appreciations over the decade. All such enhancements have addressed feature extensions and few rare cases of interops with other applications. In today’s scenario the CRM features are being looked at from multiple perspectives with the advent of newer engagement models and transaction channels. The market does have its share of feature packed systems but features have only looked at addressing the legacy use cases and have not looked at widening the visions over next generation market needs and emerging solution areas. With a late awakening we now see an activity spree in the market that does signal that product companies are trying to make the most, by way of new pursuits and with a load of investments.
Here we take a look at ‘What the market needs today?’, the product stacks prescribed by analysts and how they hold good against the needs.

Gartner in its MQ for 2010 lists the following set of product companies.

Leaders & Challengers per GMQ 2010
-Oracle Siebel
-Microsoft Dynamics
-Pega Systems

Lets see what are the overall Gaps that are abound in these products with regards to the realities and engagements of today and tomorrow.

1. Integrated E-Support:

With high levels of adoption over self service modules and real-time on-line support systems growing in demand, many CRM’s in the market have not the ability to provide an integrated E-Support Module. E-Support will be the set of functions or features that will help in rendering real time support that will be part of the CRM, i.e., an extension. The functionalities does not end with ‘Incident Tracking’, ‘Data Captures’ and ‘Account details’ but goes on to provide a real time engagement console with the transactions being recorded. Features like ‘Create my Case’, ‘Chat now’, ‘Click to Call’, etc are opportunities to be pursued by CRM companies. There however has been few market leaders who have built capabilities on these lines but much of the market needs here remains to be addressed.

2. Process Automations & Management:

Every Product TAC, Sales & Marketing Teams, Engineering & Design Teams, and almost all the functional arms of any product company plays host to a wide variety of processes and procedures around the tracked CRM entries. There are numerous processes that are covered manually with the reports that are extracted from the CRM databases. CRM here typically functions as a storehouse of data and performs case captures, beyond that all processes are manually managed by the varied functional units within and organization. They have Excel based macros that process data outside CRM, they have audit screens done over third party applications, they utilize web based tools to automate other process and work-flows complimenting the data capture done by the ‘expensive’ CRM.
Here is an opportunity to fill the Gap and make available process / work-flow management functionality as part of the CRM to position product as a market differentiator.

3. Social Web Interoperability:

The last couple of years have seen the emergence of Social media, with direct identification of the individual profiles and engagements globally, this new medium demanded immediate attention from all of the enterprises and corporations. In the wake of Facebook, Twitter, third party forums & wikis, Collaboration platforms, there was an immediate need to listen, manage, engage, analyze these data streams that are out there. The negative impact that can be caused due to mis-management of this medium with its virality over comments and posts posed a very high risk proposition. Many CRM’s today fall absolutely short of capabilities to address this widening gap, however there are a few market leaders who have in the past months frantically went on an Acquisition spree or a partnership spree to add this strength. Salesforce & Raidan over Service Cloud 3, Lithium acquisition of Scoutlabs are few of the attempts made to address this gap.

4. Social Analytics:

With much said and more done over Social media on providing tools capable of listening, capturing, monitoring, engaging of conversation over the Social Web and third party portals and forums, there emerges the strong need to analyze these in line with the few key business cases and identify, get insight,  pursue opportunities, [Social Media Analytics features]. This key feature set is not offered by many in the market. There are only a few product based solutions that currently have tried to build capability here, this area is yet to evolve and the critical aspect of providing Business Intelligence over Social Media is an open opportunity for all the CRM’s out there. With the complexities and lack of analytical cases to pursue and render value there is whole lot of ideation and product features that sprout here with no comprehensive solutions. Again a very strong opportunity for CRM product manufacturers to set their pursuit on.

5. Data Reporting & Analytics:

Much of the CRM’s data reporting revolves around volume driven reporting and rule engine based reporting. Across all the CRM’s that are being adopted there exists a huge gap over data analytics and advanced reporting. We have modules on CRM today that provide the advanced users the ability to query the backend data stacks to procure reports and a very low level slice and dice capability. This gap here to run Analytics and Engineer Insightful details is a Grey area. Although the reporting capabilities have matured, the gaps are huge and every CRM user community over all the product pursue a separate MIS and Data analyst functions outside the CRM process. The market will lap up opportunities here and this can be a huge market differentiator for CRM product companies if they address this glaring gap.

6. Integrated Knowledge Solutions:

Based on an analysis performed over enterprise technical support customers, I could see exponentially at least 15% of customers demanding DIY kits – Self help systems for them to drill down into the solutions. There is also the tremendous gap between the product and its relative documentation that can be ‘called upon’ even by agents who work on incidents and tickets. Both for the customer to assist in better adoption of service or product and for the engagement teams to arrive at a solution to help in better and quicker closure the backend process of Knowledge creation, management, references, knowledge pushing, archiving, etc., remains much to be desired even with the market leaders and the challengers. Solutions over this can be a tremendous value.

Jesu Valiant