Posts Tagged ‘social enterprise apps’

Event Report: The Evolution And Maturation of @Tibbr at #Tucon2013, the Tibco User Conference

tibbr Continues To Show Momentum In Customer Adoption And Addition Of Key Enterprise Social Features

On October 14th to 17th 2013, the Tibbr enterprise social crowd mingled with the core Tibco faithful at this year’s TUCON 2013 user conference in Las Vegas.  (An analysis of the broader Tibco announcements can be found from my colleague Holger Mueller).  While the Tibbr team continues to build synergies with the core Tibco offering in Big Data, Events, Integration, and BPM, the Tibbr team also made key announcements that include:

  • tibbr crosses the 6.5M users adoption mark. The team announced paid user growth from 1.2M to 6.5M in over a year.  Distribution partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), KPN, and T-Systems highlight future opportunities for growth.

    POV:
    The team’s partnerships and geographic expansion in Latin America and EMEA have paid off. With an entry point of $12 per user per month, 6.5M users represents a sizable growth in subscriber base, even after enterprise wide discounting.  Given the virality of successful enterprise social networks (ESN), tibbr could prove to be a key cross-sell lead gen for the rest of Tibco’s products.
  • tibbr Files and partnership with Huddle. tibbr Files allows customers to integrate with existing content and file systems such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Huddle, and SharePoint.  Users can access tibbr to view conversations, work on files, and collaborate through the tibbr interface.  the tibbr team announced its partnership with Huddle at Tucon 2013.

    Point of View (POV):
    Customers have been clamoring for more out of the box integration options to unify content repositories.  The partnership with Huddle is crucial for organizations that rely on Huddle’s security mechanisms.  In tibbr, users retain their security, permissions, and versions when accessing Huddle’s files.
  • tibbr Tasks. tibbr Tasks provides social task management capabilities.  Users can create tasks in process, track and update tasks via social channels, and manage a visual portfolio of tasks across all project management tools.

    POV:
    Tasks are a key requirement for supporting Purposeful Collaboration as described by colleague Alan Lepofsky. Many customers have deployed tibbr to unify disparate business processes.  The addition of tasks embedded in enterprise social will improve collaboration at the business process level.
  • tibbr Pages. The new pages product allows users to publish content within and outside the organization.  Pages also retains tibbr security rules.

    POV:
    The tibbr team takes a stab at the proliferation of Microsoft SharePoint kudzu with its own application.  By enabling users to find, publish, and share, the tibbr team adds another key tool to enabling content creation and collaboration for users.

Figure 1. The Tucon 2013 Scene and New Tibbr App Screen Shots



<iframe align=center src=http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?user_id=35408001@N04&set_id=72157636735160435&detail=yes frameBorder=”0″ scrolling=no width=”600″ height=”500″></iframe>

Source: 2013 R Wang and Insider Associates. All rights reserved.

The Bottom Line: tibbr Emerge As A Key Player For Enterprise Social

More…

Research Summary: Demystifying Social Business – Optimizing the Lead to Deal Process (Sales)

Forward And Commentary

Constellation Research pioneered the complete set of front office and back office use cases for social business in 2010. This report provides insight into a key mega-area — lead to deal use cases. This best practices research report offers insight into two of Constellation’s primary research themes, the Next-Generation Customer Experience and the Consumerization of Information Technology/The New C-Suite.

A. Introduction

Social business initiatives have gained acceptance as a key driver in business innovation. Since 2010, organizations have experimented and successfully deployed social business initiatives across a variety of business processes. In Constellation’s recent 2013 survey of 237 social business adopters, more than a majority (57.8 percent) of the market leaders and fast follower respondents had moved from experimentation to scaling social business initiatives to match demand. This trend signifies the successful growth of social business across a number of use cases.

With over 50 use cases identified in the survey, organizations now have defined entry points to begin social business initiatives. Consequently, many businesses can learn from the experience of market leaders and fast followers. Constellation has curated eight mega-use cases for social business that cover key business processes such as:

  • Campaign to lead
  • Lead to deal
  • Incident to resolution
  • Kick off to delivery
  • Concept to production
  • Sourcing to acceptance
  • Hire to retire
  • Invoice to payment

This report focuses on the lead to deal mega-use case, which includes both traditional business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) situations such as territory management, collaborative selling, partner selling, crowdsourced intelligence, matrix commerce, save the deal and steal the deal. These use cases should provide a starting point for mapping out the sales journey.

B. Research Findings – As Adoption Progresses, Seven Major Use Cases Emerge for Sales Processes
The recent 2013 survey of 237 global social business adopters shows 57.8 percent of the market leaders and fast follower respondents scaling social business initiatives to match demand (see Figure 1). This shift from choosing the right go-forward platform in 2012 highlights a move from Level 3 (Evangelization) to Level 4 (Pervasiveness).  This first wave of people has started to see the benefits of social business initiatives and intends to scale them out throughout their organizations and value networks.  They have succeeded by finding executive sponsors, measuring metrics that matter and aligning with business processes.

Figure 1. Social Business Adoption Moves From Platform Consolidation to Scale

(right click to view image)

Seven Key Use Cases Emerge in Lead to Deal

More…

News Analysis: Spigit Buys CrowdCast To Corner Innovation Life Cycle Market

On September 18, 2012, Pleasanton, CA based Spigit, a social innovation vendor acquired Crowdcast, a San Francisco based social business intelligence pioneer for an undisclosed sum.  Crowdcast Founder/CEO Mat Fogarty and Chief Scientist Leslie Fine will join Spigit’s executive team as part of the acquisition. Crowdcast is backed by Menlo Ventures and Alsop Louie Partners.

Spigit, which has raised over $26M to date, brings 1200+ worldwide customers that can benefit from the Crowdcast offering.  Key customers include MetLife, American Express, Walmart, GE, Pepsico, Nike, Merck, Sprint, Farmers Insurance, CapGemini, and Warner Brothers.  Crowdcast customers include SAP, Boeing, Hershey’s, iARPA, and Electronic Arts.

This acquisition signifies larger trends for customers in the crowdsourcing and innovation market who:

  • Seek the ability to move from crowd sourced data to actionable decisions. Founded in 2007, Crowdcast allows companies to crowd source organizational knowledge and intelligence from employees and partners to improve decision making.  Crowdcast tracks and rewards employees for their accuracy in predictions.  Meanwhile, Spigit Engage provides the key tools  to match social collaboration with traditional work flow. Spigit ICON supports ideation via a question and answer format. As part of the agreement, Spigit will add four Crowdcast patents to its patent portfolio.

    Point of View (POV):
    Spigit’s core customers expect to move beyond social collaboration and ideation in isolation.  Spigit’s integration with Sharepoint, Yammer, Jive, and Facebook will expand the reach of these solutions through partnerships.  In addition, Spigit’s core offerings, Engage and ICON, support the innovation process from concept to execution while Crowdcast delivers innovation from post execution to prediction.  Pairing these two powerful capabilities closes the loop from data to decisions.  With informed people and processes, organizations can seek follow-through to decisions and actions from crowd sourced data.  Should the combined entity achieve integration, customers will achieve this end to end capability.
  • Expect to transform innovation from art to discipline.  As part of the agreement, Spigit will add all of Crowdcast’s patents to its portfolio.  The combination allows customers to take traditionally qualitative approaches and craft repeatable and quantifiable results.

    More…

Event Report: Dreamforce X (#DF12) Emerges As The South By Southwest (#SXSW) For The Enterprise

Dreamforce Represents The Mecca For The “Art Of The Possible” In The Enterprise

Whether Salesforce.com’s flagship conference at Moscone Center was the most attended conference (~48,000) or the most registered for event (~90,000), matters not.  When examined in context of the magnitude of what was accomplished, the impact of this 10th annual event transcends attendance numbers.  Business folks and the converted IT brethren converged on the week of  September 18th, 2012, to see what the future could be inside the enterprise.  They left with inspiration and the gospel of what was possible, as told by those before them.  The event represented the intersection of where aspiration meets innovation for the enterprise.

Key takeaways from interviews with over 100 attendees reflect the following trends:

  • Attendee sentiment signals the return of the front office.  Prior to the coining of the CRM term, front office was the term which defined marketing, service, eCommerce, and sales force automation.  The move back to integrated customer experiences reflects a renewed interest in all the front office touch points and all the support in the back office required to support the customer experience.  Attendees walked in with questions about how to integrate their legacy ERP and expose their transactional systems into the front office.
  • Customers seek knowledge and case studies on business transformation. Delegations arrived to see how they could change their business.  Most came with both business and IT to learn from the best practices of others.  Almost every customer case study session was packed and common questions revolved around, “How did you do that?”
  • Product announcements and pre-announcements bring the enterprise closer to the consumer experience. Pre-announcement of Salesforce Identity for Winter 2013 will provide users with Facebook-like single sign on and identity management services.  The availability of the Touch Platform services will provide a write once, deploy anywhere touch based mobile UI Experience.  The pre-announcement of the Force.com Canvas provides a UI layer to run any other application within the Salesforce.com environment.  The App Exchange Checkout delivers out of the box billing for developers and improves the users app store experience.  Geolocation capabilities in the pilot of database.com in the Winter 2013 release will improve mobile experiences.  Chatter communities pilot in Fall of 2012 and pre-announcement addresses the issue of multiple group management.
  • More…

Tuesday’s Tip: Why Context Matters – Forget Real-Time, Achieve Right-Time

The Real-Time Hype Is Filled With Flaws

The hype around big data, social media, and mobility has many folks imagining the real-time enterprise in the future of work, next generation customer experiences, matrix commerce, or the data to decisions journey.  While real-time theoretically leads to quicker information and faster response times, the reality requires closer examination for three reasons:

  1. Customers and employees only want engagement aligned with self interest.  Relevancy of information is required for customers and employees to respond.  Real-time interactions quickly evolve into noise.  Signal to noise ratios must be improved as garbage in will lead to massive garbage out.  In some cases, customers don’t want engagement. They just want the experience.
  2. No human can truly handle the volume and flow of real-time interactions. The proliferation of channels and data sources creates a data deluge.  Filtering is required in order to handle real-time.  Workers already inundated with email, sms, and chats, really just want to get work done, they don’t want to be bogged down with more interactions.
  3. Real time is not fast enough. Real-time is reactive not proactive.  Anticipation and prediction emerge as key requirements.  Reaction does not lead to a better customer experience or employee interaction.  Some customers want options to make the right decision.  The same customers may expect a system to remember a preference based on many factors including repetitive behavior.

Delivering Context Is The Secret To Right Time Success

Context provides the key ingredient in improving outcomes. Why? Context provides the relevancy required for not only anticipation, but also prediction.  For example, offering a premium channel upsell to an upset cable customer when their cable is down, may not be the wisest idea.  Unfortunately, this happens too often.  The customer is already upset that the issues have not been resolved and yet the company is still trying to sell instead of resolve an issue.  However, offering a free appetizer triggered by a location based service during the morning commute, may lead to higher sales as this is a right time anticipation of a dinner time offer .

The Bottom Line: Start With Seven Dimensions of Context Drivers.

More…

Tuesday’s Tip: Dealing With The Real Problem In Social Business Adoption – The People!

Social Business Adoption Dependent On Employee Adoption

Social business is more than a technology decision.  Many eager early adopters face challenges in adoption past the initial core team.  As we move from eager early adopters to ubiquitous usage, an examination of some organizations who have failed at internal social business reveals five common barriers to adoption:

  1. Poorly defined incentives. In the rush to convince everyone to work with each other, most organizations fail to design meaningful incentives for adoption.  The reality – most folks collaborate only when they need to, not when they are told to.
  2. Increase in actual effort. For many in the workforce, collaboration often means more work, not less work.  Connectedness results in more interactions, some less meaningful than others.  Increase in effort often shifts the status quo resulting in internal resistance.
  3. Lack of choice in user experience. Time and time, people want to use the tool they are most comfortable with.  For example, activity streams make sense for some folks who are used to high frequency, always on, information flows.  However, those accustomed to using email as a task list and structured approach to filing information will find discomfort with activity streams.
  4. Indifference to change. Inertia to do nothing often outweighs the calls for change.  The workforce often prefers to do things the way they always have been.  The workforce has seen many changes and at this point face change fatigue.
  5. Failure to communicate the urgency.  Business model shifts are not easy to communicate to the workforce.  Veteran employees often develop coping mechanisms that define the new change as a reincarnation of the old change without understanding the nuance or urgency.

Overcoming Barriers Of Adoption Require A Mix of New and Classical Change Management Techniques

Despite compelling benefits to achieve better collaboration among teams, improved engagement among the workforce, and faster speed of internal communication, adoption efforts require careful design.  As with any organizational change, it’s the people, stupid!  The five barriers can be countered with the following five strategies (see Figure 1.): More…

Monday’s Musing: Avoiding Social Media Fatigue Through Engagement

Social Media Moves From Ubiquitous Usage To Relevant Rationalization

Have we hit a social media plateau?  In recent client conversations on usage of social media, the trendsetters appear to be “socialed out”.   Most early adopters seem to be overwhelmed with their personal (Facebook, Google+), corporate (Yammer, Jive, Chatter, SharePoint), and professional (LinkedIn) social networks.  In fact, respondents feel that adding any additional network for anything social is quite overwhelming.  While early adopters are moving from ubiquitous usage to relevant rationalization, the majority remains in ubiquitous usage (see Figure 1).  Recent data on number of users at the Big 4 of social media show that we are in the middle of ubiquitous usage:

  • Facebook (901M users as of Feb 2012)
  • Twitter (500M users as of March 2012)
  • LinkedIn (161M users as of March 2012)
  • Google+ (100M users as of Feb 2012)

Early Adopters Facing Social Media Fatigue

As early adopters start rationalizing their networks, some are even pulling out.  From loss of interest in Google+, Empire Avenue, to even FaceBook, people have started to selectively choose networks to combat overload and social media fatigue.  The common theme – relevant rationalization by self-interest.   These trends parallel those for mail, phone, email, web and other disruptive technologies.  Going forward, users will move towards desensitization when the advertisers and companies abuse the channel by spamming users with an unwanted deluge of irrelevant offers.

The Bottom Line: Engage Users To Combat Fatal Fatigue In The Disruptive Tech Adoption Life Cycle

More…

Quark Summary: What CFOs Need to Know About SaaS and Cloud Integration

Forward And Commentary

This document addresses many questions asked by CFO’s about cloud deployments and the top integration questions often asked by CFO’s responsible for key business initiatives that involve technology.

A. Executive Summary

Organizations have escalated their adoption of cloud computing and SaaS applications in the past 3 years. As part of the broader trend in consumerization of IT (CoIT), business leaders have slowly tipped the balance of power in determining technology acquisition. However, the proliferation of adoption has led to organizational chaos in data, process and meta data integration as users adopt and deploy the cloud in silos without considering the implications of organizational silos and services oriented architecture (SOA).  As cloud integration emerges as an enterprise-wide issue, CFOs must get acquainted with the cost-value equation of cloud and SaaS applications. Why? Cloud integration emerges as a key competency for successful organizations seeking to innovate while maximizing returns on investment. Consequently, CFOs should understand ten key points on why they must master cloud integration.

B. Research Findings

The rapid adoption of cloud computing by business leaders unfortunately creates a bespoke environment technically known as “best of breed cloud hell.” With so many disparate systems in a loosely federated model, data rapidly becomes siloed, business processes easily become fragmented, and coordination across functional fiefdoms quickly becomes difficult.  Consequently, cloud integration emerges as a key enabler in reducing the costs and improving the benefits of cloud computing. Recent conversations with 22 CFOs addressed these ten key questions:

  1. What is cloud integration?
  2. Why is cloud integration a growing competency for the CFO?
  3. Is cloud integration more or less expensive?
  4. Which integration approach is best in the long run?
  5. How does cloud integration mitigate project risk?
  6. What’s the business value for cloud integration?
  7. Will bring your own device (BYOD) policies require cloud integration?
  8. How can I support social media?
  9. Do big data and cloud integration go hand in hand?
  10. What kind of projects make sense for cloud integration?

More…

Research Summary: Best Practices – Three Simple Software Maintenance Strategies That Can Save You Millions

Forward And Commentary

Software ownership costs continue to escalate as vendors accelerate their efforts to capture support and maintenance revenues. Some vendors have gone to the extreme to eliminate third-party options for their customers. This best practices report examines three strategies to free up unnecessary costs to fund innovation and new projects.

A. Introduction

On average, IT budgets are down from 1-5 percent year-over-year, yet software support and maintenance costs continue to escalate ahead of inflation. Hence, continued pressure on IT budgets and a growing need for innovation projects have top business and technology leaders reexamining their software support and maintenance contracts for cost efficiencies.

Based on experience from over 1500 software contract negotiations, Constellation suggests three approaches to reduce the cost of software support and maintenance. Key strategies include third-party maintenance, shelfware reductions and unbundling maintenance contracts as part of every organization’s tech optimization strategy. Successful implementation can lead to savings from 10-25 percent of the IT budget, freeing up cash to fund innovation initiatives.

B. Research FindingsWhy Every Organization Should Consider Third-Party Maintenance, Shelfware Reductions and Unbundling Maintenance Contracts

Most organizations suffocate from the high and hidden cost of support and maintenance. On average, Constellation’s surveys reveal global IT budgets trending down from 1-5 percent year-over-year since 2008. Consumerization of IT, rapidly changing business models, and aging infrastructure have exposed the high cost of software support and maintenance. Because most organizations allocate from 60-85 percent of their budget to keeping the lights on, very little of the budget is left to spend on new projects (see Figure 1).

Organizations can unlock millions by considering third-party maintenance (3PM), reducing shelfware, and keeping support and maintenance contracts unbundled. Each strategy on its own creates opportunities to drive cost savings. All three strategies combined, provide a roadmap for funding innovation.

  1. Third-party maintenance (3PM) delivers the most immediate cost savings and opportunity for innovation. Third-party maintenance describes support and maintenance offerings delivered by non-OEM providers. These vendors can provide a range of options from basic break/fix to bug fixes, performance optimization, tax and regulatory updates, and customization support. Keep in mind, 3PM does not provide access to upgrades and future versions of the OEM’s product. One big driver is the lower cost of delivery, as much as half the cost of the original vendor’s pricing.  The report shows a survey of 268 respondents and why organizations choose 3PM and who the key vendors are.
  2. Reduction of shelfware remains a key pillar in legacy optimization strategies.  Shelfware (i.e. purchased software, not deployed, but incurring annual maintenance fees) is one of the biggest drains on operational expenses for enterprises. The simple definition of shelfware is software you buy and don’t use. For example, an organization that buys 1000 licenses of Vendor X’s latest ERP software and uses 905 licenses, becomes the proud owner of 95 licenses not being utilized. That’s 95 licenses of shelfware because the user will pay support and maintenance on the license whether or not they use the software or not.  The report details 4 successful and proven approaches.
  3. Unbundling maintenance contracts prevents future vendor mischief. About a decade back, vendors would offer support and maintenance as two separate line items on their contracts. Support would run about 5-10 percent of the license fee and so would maintenance. Keep in mind, average support and maintenance fees were under 15 percent back then. Unfortunately, many users have expressed a growing and concerning trend with support and maintenance contracts. Vendors concerns about support and maintenance contract retentions have led to new initiatives to consolidate contracts. At first glance, this may appear to be proactive and beneficial to customers, but the report details three rationales vendors provide and three strategies how to avoid bundling.

Figure 1. Visualizing the High Costs of Support And Maintenance

(Right-click to see full image)

More…

Quark Summary: What Every CMO Needs To Know About The Six C’s Of Customer Engagement

Forward And Commentary

CMO’s seeking to avoid the desensitization that comes with the adoption of new media will want to quickly deploy the Six C’s of Customer Engagement.

A. Introduction

Social media effectiveness for brands and enterprises will rapidly mirror the trends that email and web sites experienced during the late 1990′s to early 2000′s.  In fact, social media adoption has passed ubiquitous usage and has mostly begun the process of relevant deployment.  Avoidance of  Phase 4 Desensitization can be avoided by applying the Six C’s of Engagement (Figure 1.)

B. Research Findings

Recent early adopter surveys identify five key phases of social media adoption:

  • Phase 1: Eager early adopters. Users eagerly experimented in the newness of the medium.   Early adopters attempt to apply the medium to everything.
  • Phase 2: Ubiquitous usage. Rapid adoption put the medium in the hands of the masses.  Adoption exceeds 50 million users.
  • Phase 3: Relevant deployment. Brands and enterprises apply the medium to the right business use cases and processes.
  • Phase 4: Desensitization and fatigue. Inundated with marketing, bombarded with irrelevant content, and tired of the newness of the medium, customers begin tuning out.
  • Phase 5: Rejuvenation. Maturation of the medium ushers an improved era of engagement apply the Six C’s of Engagement.

The Six C’s Of Customer Engagement provide strategies to overcome desensitization and fatigue

  1. Community. Location for engagement.
  2. Content. Topics that drive engagement.
  3. Context. Relevance that create engagement.
  4. Catalysts. Events or actions that facilitate engagement.
  5. Currencies. Monetary and non-monetary exchange of value behind engagement.
  6. Cadence. The frequency of interaction

Figure 1. The Six C’s of Customer Engagement Overcomes Desensitization And Fatigue

More…

Product Review: SAP’s Recalls Plus App – The Crossover From Enterprise To Consumer Begins

SAP’s First Consumer App Addresses A Key Consumer Concern

At midnight pacific time, February 15th, SAP launched its first ever consumer app – Recalls Plus. This consumer app, downloadable for free on Apple’s app store, was developed from one of the world’s leading enterprise software companies (see Figure 1.)  SAP’s first foray into the consumer world will surprise many customers, influencers, and observers.  In fact, in an exclusive conversation with Rishi Diwan, who’s the product owner for the new consumer apps team, he reinforced SAP’s seriousness to enter the market, apply lessons learned, and reiterate.

The basic concept of Recalls Plus is elegant and brings the age old, manual and cumbersome process of tracking consumer recalls to today’s world of engagement systems (see Figure 2.)  With a rich and elegant user experience, consumers can quickly see the latest recalls and share details within social networks (see Figures 3).

In addition, the solution allows consumers to track recalls on individual products, categories of products, and food allergens on their iPhone (today) and other mobile devices (tomorrow) (see Figures 4, 5, and 6.)  More importantly, this consumer app touches the customers of SAP’s customers and provides a missing piece in the customer loyalty angle by providing real-time alerts (see Figure 7.).  By proactively outreaching with end consumers, SAP can help its direct customers build long term loyalty and improve customer engagement.

Figure 1. Sign In Screen Easily Works Like Any Other Consumer Mobile App

 

Figure 2.  Tracked Recalls Show Up On The Initial Home Screen

 

More…

Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Social Business – Randy Guard, SAS Institute

Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Social Business.  The interviews  provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective.  A full list of interviewees can be found here.

Randy Guard – Vice President of Sales Development and Product Management, SAS Institute

Biography

As Vice President of Sales Development and Product Management, Randy Guard leads the product strategy and business development efforts across SAS. Randy and his Product Management teams work closely with SAS’ Research and Development organization to define and manage product road maps based on market needs and customer input. Randy’s Global Practice teams drive revenue growth by delivering market-driven offerings and supporting strategic customer engagements. These teams of product and industry domain experts help customers and partners apply SAS software to solve their critical business problems.

Before joining SAS in 2000, Randy served as Manager of e-Business Solutions for BuildNet, a provider of builder management solutions to the residential and commercial building industry. He also served as Regional Director for Spectrum Technology Group, specializing in building e-business and data warehousing solutions. Randy began his career with Andersen Consulting (Accenture), where he led systems development and implementation efforts for clients across financial services, retail and consumer packaged goods, utilities and public sector industries.

Randy holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Duke University.

The Interview

1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Social Computing is changing the world for your customers.

Randy Guard (RG): From our standpoint, social computing and social media present a completely new set of interactions. These interactions range from direct to indirect and include customers, prospects, and even competitors. Social computing is more than just a set of new data or just another channel. Our early customers and prospects are truly dealing with an exposure dilemma and figuring out how to best engage in this new social world, and integrate social computing in many aspects of their business.

Valued customers/prospects are talking online about the companies and products they like or dislike. In many cases, the company is not present in the dialog and definitely not leading the conversation. Consequently, a brand’s reputation is out there in the open and vulnerable. Everything that they have spent years and years building now has a different level of exposure. More importantly, a company has less control over the brand reputation now. They have to develop a good listening habit and build an environment where they can influence and support. Companies need to be able to answer new questions like … How do they understand what’s going on in the social world? Whats’ the volume of activity? And who are the influencers? At SAS there is heavy emphasis on the analytics component to understanding social media – more than just volume, we like to understand influence and the dynamics of the social network itself.

So, organizations now have to figure out how to more effectively engage their customers immediately given the accelerated maturity cycle that exists in a social computing world. Engagement must account for a diverse set of sources such as social media blogs, forums , and company hosted environments … and all of this across the broad spectrum of computing devices.

The social view is not 2 to 3 or 4 years out. These fundamental shifts are underway now. Organizations can expect very rapid change amidst a new set of interactions and increased level of exposure. As we talk to customers about social computing and social media analysis they can all rapidly comprehend the impact, and the value of being present and engaged in this new set of interactions.

2. What makes social computing disruptive?

(RG): Ray, as you know, the content in social is all about you or your product or service, and it is not owned by the company. It truly comes from the marketplace. Everyone wants feedback, and in some cases companies can’t deal with the deluge. Two things drive the disruptive nature. One is the speed in which you get feedback. This is achieved when people talk about your product or service, and quickly build momentum (both positive and negative). The other dimension is the pervasiveness of the information and how it travels through the network. Pre-social computing, you might have a bad experience at a retail store. You might have told your friends and family. Now that same feedback and negative experience not only can be commented on to thousands, but it can also be shared in audio and video. Suddenly, a whole new form of influence emerges and propagates very quickly. Now, an individual store issue with a single customer can quickly evolve into a corporate or a brand issue. Again, it works on the positive side too. The potential customer can see how an average person is passionate about a company’s product, and that can make a huge impact in sales. Customer testimonials are often more genuine and impactful than those from a corporate spokesperson or ad.

3. What is the next big thing in Social Business software?

(RG): Integrating social content with enterprise data is critical to go to the next level. Right now many of the initial gains are isolated successes to “listening” and some are focused 2-way engagement. We’ll continue to evolve with integrated social content and analysis that ties back to even more enterprise systems. Our first level of this integration has already driven value to our customers plus added new features to coming releases. Listening in the social world is obviously important, but then you need the right engagement plan to address the situation. For example, we have seen issues in a company’s supply chain (e.g. an increase in backorders) drive a rapid spike in negative sentiment in the social world. The product was positive in the eyes of the customer, but the availability issue was getting massive negative attention. They quickly needed to put out a message to the customers plus added some promotions on shipping, and alternative products, etc. They also needed to fix the backorder issue asap.

4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Social Computing?

More…