Using Social Media for BI


Using social media for BISocial media is fast becoming a mechanism of choice for the dissemination of and collaboration around the information delivered by BI – to the extent that it is fast becoming a key input channel of behavioural data as well.

The use of social media is continuously expanding. In fact, it has become a mission critical business tool. CIO.com Australia recently reported that the use of social media for enterprise collaboration is set to double by 2013, with the education, financial and professional services sectors driving this uptake. On the other hand, one of the long-standing priorities of BI is to provide insight in real-time – to assist decision-makers to make better decisions faster.

Social media itself does not play a big role in the traditional BI-related fields of data collection, integration, storage, information presentation and the derivation of new insights. However, it plays a massive role in facilitating instant communication. Currently there is no better mechanism to broadcast a message carrying information, in a very naturally understood format, to a huge online user base.
With the various options available to them, the receivers of this information can also choose how disruptive and how instantly informative they want the receipt notice to be.

Another key complaint of BI users over the years has been the difficulty to collaborate over the information received. While some on-line dashboards and drill-down analysis tools have the facilities to initiate one-directional workflow, none have the built-in facilities to so easily engage in debate or discussion about the information presented. The style of interaction invited can also be determined by the mechanism used to publish the information. Blog-like facilities allow for moderated comment, while other channels like Facebook and
LinkedIn allow for relatively free and open debate.

This opens a whole new channel of communication. An organisation can now very quickly, and also very effortlessly for its customers, get feedback or impressions from information published to a very large and distributed base. Customer sentiment, which is a key element in advanced analytical forecasts and segmentation, has never been easier to collect on a huge scale. The same applies to BI-driven interactions with business partners, or even internally with large staff bases dispersed across the globe.

1 comment

  1. Martin

    In a recent survey of CIOs by InformationWeek’s vice president and editor-in-chief Rob Preston, CIO’s realised that they can do with more robust business intelligence solutions. Number 10 on their priority list was newcomer “social media”, as a collaboration tool for employees – to share insight and ideas pertaining to specific company data. Put 2 and 2 together!

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