Posts Tagged ‘social marketing insights’

News Analysis: HootSuite Acquires uberVU For Analytics And Enterprise Growth

HootSuite Prepares For Enterprise Growth

On January 22nd, 2014, Hootsuite announced its acquisition of analytics provider uberVU for an undisclosed sum. The Bucharest, Romania and Cambridge, MA based software company brings 42 employees and over 200 customers to HootSuite. Key insights for customers and prospects include:

  • uberVu provides Hootsuite with enterprise class analytics. uberVU’s technology aggregates, analyzes, and distributes real time social data. The solutions supports data sources such as blogs, forums, and social networks. HootsSuite intends to keep uberVU as a separate offering and integrate the products over time.

    Point of View (POV):
    Most big data and analytics solutions in the social and cloud space are misnomers. In fact, these solutions often provide simple, retroactive reporting and dashboards. The addition of uberVU will allow HootSuite users to gain real-time analysis and future industry specific benchmarking capabilities. Moreover, Hootsuite has invested in an increasing set of enterprise features over the past three years (see Figure 1). This analytics acquisition marks a commitment to enterprise class features.
  • HootSuite gains key clients. uberVU brings big brands and enterprise logos to HootSuite. Marquee names span across a variety of industries including Ariad, Dassault Systems, DDB, Fujitsu, Getty Images, Giant Eagle, Indiegogo, JDRF, L’Occitane, Method, NBC, Phillips, SC Johnson, Method, NBC, Phillips, and Wolverine Worldwide.

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Press Release: Gavin Heaton Joins Constellation Research to Provide Digital Marketing Research and Advisory Services

Digital Media Luminary to Launch Constellation’s Newest Research Theme, Digital Marketing Transformation

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Constellation Research, Inc., the award-winning research and advisory firm focused on helping clients navigate emerging and disruptive technologies announced today the addition of esteemed digital media pioneer, Gavin Heaton to the research team as Vice President and Principal Analyst. Heaton will lead Constellation’s latest business-focused research theme, Digital Marketing Transformation. Heaton’s research, which focuses on the changing role and expectations of CMOs, the fusion of marketing channels and change-driven marketing innovation, expands Constellation’s ability to provide digital marketing research and advisory services to its early adopter clients worldwide.

Heaton’sresearch and advisory will enable clients to take advantage of the convergence of media, technology, brands, and business. Specifically:

  • Understanding where social media fits within the business landscape
  • Aligning business and online engagement strategies
  • Channeling the passion of employees toward the achievement of business goals

Heaton commented: “We are seeing a dramatic shift in the role of marketing. Advertising is under pressure, social is changing our customer relationships and the Consumerization of IT is changing the way we do our work. There has never been so much change or opportunity. I’m excited to help chart the course between marketing, technology, customers and vendors.”

 

Heaton has been at the forefront of technology driven marketing innovation for the past 20 years. Recently Heaton served as Social Media Director for SAP’s Premier Customer Network. He is also the co-instigator of the ground-breaking crowdsourced marketing book series The Age of Conversation.

“The move to digital changes how quickly, effectively, and relevantly we listen, test, engage, and anticipate,” says Constellation CEO, R “Ray” Wang. “Gavin is among a handful of people who not only understands this shift to digital marketing, but also brings a converged experience from agency, enterprise, and client side. Our clients expect an experienced and trusted advisor who can speak their language and translate to the IT folks. In fact, our clients seek outcomes, not technologies. Consequently, Gavin’s experiences take them one step further towards this objective. As Constellation builds out our business themed research, expect us to serving more and more of the C-Suite.”

DIGITAL MARKETING TRANSFORMATION

Digital Marketing Transformation is the newest business-focused research theme at Constellation Research, Inc. The C-suite is realizing the futility of remaining analog in a digital world. CMOs can no longer live in the campaign to lead process – CMOs must also involve themselves in big data and analytics, social and community building, reputation, and loyalty. The future is real time convergence and its name is digital.

COORDINATES

Twitter: @servantofchaos

Website: www.servantofchaos.com

Linkedin: au.linkedin.com/in/servantofchaos

Geo: Sydney, Australia

ABOUT CONSTELLATION RESEARCH

Constellation Research is a research and advisory firm focused on disruptive and emerging technologies. This renowned group of experienced analysts, led by R “Ray” Wang, focuses on business themed research including the Future of Work; Next Generation Customer Experience; From Data to Decisions; Matrix Commerce; Technology Optimization and Innovation; and Consumerization of IT and the New C-Suite.

Constellation’s collection of prestigious analysts bring real world experience, independence, and objectivity to client solutions that span cross-role, cross-functional, and cross-industry points of view. Clients join Constellation Research for a fresh and business focused perspective.

Unlike the legacy analyst firms, Constellation Research is disrupting how research is accessed, what topics are covered, and how clients can partner with a research firm to achieve success. Over 100 clients have joined from an ecosystem of buyers, partners, solution providers, c-suite, board of directors and vendor clients.

For more information about Constellation Research, visit www.ConstellationRG.com

***

Constellation Research, Constellation SuperNova Awards and the Constellation Research logo are trademarks of Constellation Research, Org. All other products and services listed herein are trademarks of their respective companies.

Trends: The Battle For CMO Mind Share

Marketing and Advertising Budgets Are The New Land Grab

Constellation Research, Inc. predicts that the global advertising market (paid search, display, and classified) will hit $125B by 2015.   While IT budgets continue to stay flat, marketing budgets are up.  Warc’s recent Global Marketing Index (GMI) entered positive territory in March 2012.  Consequently, the heat up in marketing and advertising market attracts not only start-ups, but also tech vendors looking to enter this lucrative market.

Solution Providers Rediscover The CMO Budget

In just less than 28 months, enterprise software vendors have bolstered their presence with Chief Marketing Officers mostly through acquisitions and partnerships.  The goal – capture budgets allocated for digital creation, marketing automation and revenue optimization, advertising, CRM and customer experience, analytics, and information brokering (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.  The Battle For The CMO Budget Comes From Six Fronts

Why the change? Marketing sits at the cross roads between the old analog world and the new shift to digital transformation.  With each big shift, organizations will change what technologies they invest in, who they decide to partner with, and how quickly they will make the shift.  This new battle for CMO mind share started when IBM purchased Unica for $480M in August 13, 2010 (Figure 2).  The frenzied activity by Adobe, Dell, Eloqua, Google, Hubspot, Kana, Marketo, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and SAS Institute reflect the desire to be top of mind among CMO budgets.

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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

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Friday’s Features: Using Attensity Analyze 6.0 To Compare Customer Sentiment For @united @southwestair @virginamerica

A Travelers’ Tale of Two Airlines (@united vs @southwestair)

A hurried shower, followed by a hastily packed bag.  Then, the race to the taxi stand (Figure 1).  Should be easy to get a cab at 5:45 am in Las Vegas, right? Only the late night crew roll into a casino this late or early in the morning on a Tuesday.  Who’d be flying out so early?  So much for that theory.  A line forms 50 deep outside. Eveyone is half asleep, and headed to McCarran – Las Vegas airport from Caesar’s Palace at 5:30 am.  I figure Southwest 2286 takes off at 6:25 am, should be plenty of time.  I keep consoling myself.  At 5:50, I get into my cab. I instruct the driver not to take the freeway and to go local.

Figure 1. Just Another Day At The Las Vegas Taxi Stand

I get to the self-service kiosk to check in. I get the dreaded <DING!>.  I’m told my bag will be checked late and it could risk being sent on a later flight.  At 6:00, I’ve missed all normal cut-off windows.  Most airlines cut you off at 30 minutes prior and I am really late.  I’m ready to accept my fate.  I’m ready to be told to get on the next flight.  Strangely enough, the gate agent notices that I’m late and does everything to hurry me on-board.  She tells me that there is a chance my bag won’t make it but they’ll do their best.  She kindly reminds me check-in is 30 minutes prior and suggests I take another security entrance to improve my odds of passing through TSA in time.  She also lets me know that she’s told the gate agent I may be late.  I finally get through TSA and get to the gate with 2 minutes to spare.  The aircraft door isn’t closed. In fact, it’s open and waiting for me to board. I hop on, pass out, and arrive in San Jose.  In some modern day miracle, the bag also has arrived with me.  I thank the travel gods.

Flash back one week earlier, the same morning sequence occurs in Las Vegas.  This time with rental car in tow, I head to the rental car return center at 4:00am for a 5:30 am flight.  A staffing issue occurs with the “consolidated rental center transportation” and no buses arrive until 4:30 am.  I think to myself, I still have time.  I rush to catch United Airlines 479 to San Francisco.  The bus arrives at 4:45 am.  I rush to the kiosk and arrive for check-in at 4:47 am.  The kiosk tells me to see an agent. I wait another 3 minutes in the uber premium line (a.k.a. Global Services).   The agent looks at my ticket and tells me in a stern and disapproving voice, I have to wait for the next flight which is at 11:49 am.

I flash my Global Services card in a last ditch attempt for empathy.  The agent tells me that policy is policy.  United can’t check me in as I miss the cut-off.  She tells me that I should know better and come to the airport earlier.  The Las Vegas airport is so big, the bag would never get to the plane on time.  They won’t let me take off without my bag.   There’s no point in arguing at this point. I have a speech at 11:00 am to get to.  I rush over to the Southwest counter to find the next flight.  The agent asks me what’s wrong. I tell her I need to get on the 6:30 am.  She says, no problem.  I give her all the details and she issues me a ticket in 5 minutes.  I make it to the keynote but I’m very bitter about United and how they have treated me.  I was a happy Continental flyer before the merger, you can read all about it here.

Social Data Quantifies Qualitative Experiences – United Ranks Last Among The Three Carriers

By now, most folks have seen what happened when “United Breaks Guitars“, the tale of an awful customer experience for Dave Carroll who had his guitar broken.  When the airline failed to take responsibility, he took to the web.   With over 11.9M views as of this blog post, this social media epic fail epitomizes what happens when companies ignore their customers and shirk responsibility for resolving legitimate complaints.  But what happens when an airline completely chooses to ignore social media as a channel? Do customers go away? Do they just jump to another channel?  Are these social analytics tools reflective of the general customer base?

Using Attensity Analyze 6.0, a comparison was made among the three airlines.  We selected two best in class low cost carriers (i.e. Southwest Airlines and Virgin America) and United Airlines to answer this question (Figure 1).  Analyze 6.0 took 12,863 public comments from Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums (user forums, discussion forums, LinkedIn Answers, etc) YouTube videos, mainstream news and more to gather this data (see Figure 2).

Figure 1. Twitter Accounts For The Three Airlines

Figure 2.  Attensity’s Analyze 6.0 In Action With Feedback Analysis On Three Select Airlines More…

Event Report: Lithium Network Conference 2012 #LiNC

Lithium Technologies Shows Continued Customer Momentum And Success In Social Marketing And Support
To the tune of over 500 customers and prospects, Lithium kicked off LiNC on May 2nd, 2012, at the always stunning Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco.  Compared to previous years, the audience was not only bigger, but also more experienced and energized.  Rob Tarkoff (CEO) and Lyle Fong (Founder & Chief Strategist) kicked off the event with company updates, product road map highlights, and customer progress made over the past year.
Adding to the energy, four compelling case studies graced the morning and highlighted Lithium’s strengths in two distinct and advanced externally focused social CRM (SCRM) use cases: social customer support and marketing.  The wide range of proud customers and brands included Chris Blandy, SVP of Digital Media, Fox; Mark Nichols, Director of Customer Support, Skype; Andrew Leary, EVP & GM, Ipsos; and Steve Young, Sr. Director of Technical Services, Cisco.  During the event, several key announcements were made including:
  • Launch of a new product, Lithium Response. In a top secret OEM partnership, the team unveiled Lithium Response™ a product that enables brands to increase customer satisfaction while reducing costs and improving efficiency in the call center.  Key features include easier processes to turn community conversations from unstructured information to entries into the Lithium Tribal Knowledge Base (TKB), peer-to-peer support and gamification incentives to drive self-service customer resolution, cost effective social-web support, blended contact center capabilities, and mobile enablement.  The product is generally available (GA) in Q3.

    Point of View (POV):
    The OEM’d product comes from a little-known but powerful solution from a privately held, purpose-built social customer care platform.  The product maximizes agent efficiency via categorization, prioritization and queuing, and routing.  The system is smart enough to guide customers to self service by replying with relevant links to community content.  This platform has been battled test with complicated communication service provider (CSP) environments.  Adapted for the Lithium platform, customer can expect a rigorous enterprise class solution that lives up to Lithium’s standards.  Lithium Response™ also takes advantage of Lithium’s access to the Twitter fire hose.  The movement to address multi-channel customer support puts Lithium in unique league with vendors such as Genesys Labs, Kana, and Moxie Software, who can blend contact center and social support.
  • Delivers new release of social marketing. Building on customer feedback, the new Lithium Social Marketing Solution™ focuses on improving engagement.   New features include support for rich media interactions, ad hoc groups, streaming conversations, and a new ratings and reviews module.  A partnership with Shoutlet provides Facebook and Twitter campaign management.  Social engagement is updated to include photo sharing, inline-conversations, groups spaces, and adoption of commons social logins.  The new ratings and reviews module allows community driven content to be included via widgets.  New development tools on iOS improve customer experience in the mobile interface of choice.  The product is now generally available (GA).

    Point of View (POV):
    Customers showed significant interest in the new social marketing solution features.  The ability to improve ratings and reviews is much needed as this has become table steaks in communities and product catalogs.  What’s impressive is the new line of partnerships that align with Lithium’s core strategy.  Instead of building their own content publishing platform for campaigns, Lithium takes advantage of Shoutlet ability to place various types of content easily into the conversation. Partnerships with VMWare’s Socialcast unit allows Lithium’s Social Marketing Solution™ to integrate with internally focused collaboration tools to expedite the concept to product introduction process.
  • Begins concerted global expansion. Lithium announced new APAC headquarters in Singapore which add to its Sydney APAC presence.  Lithium also has a strong presence in EMEA with operations in Paris, Zurich, and London.

    Point of View (POV):
    As the market consolidates through attrition and acquisition, Lithium’s push to get more feet on the ground around the globe is much welcomed by customers.  Lithium needs to expand fast and put its $53M in funding to work to acquire long-term customers in expansion markets.
  • Ups the ante in partnerships and alliances. New partnerships with Ipsos and Geoffrey Moore provide access to market research.  Agency relationships include Sapient Nitro and Acquity group.  Lithium adds software partners such as Shoutlet and VM Ware.  Lithium’s approach is to find a small number but committed set of alliances and partnerships.

    Point of View (POV):
    Lithium’s partnership and alliance program traditionally was the weakest among the major SCRM players.  The addition of Ed Van Siclen, SVP of Global Alliances and BD, brings enterprise class partnerships to the Lithium’s arsenal.  As SCRM matures, key partnerships with major system integrators must be prioritized as well as carefully crafted agency relationships.  Software partnerships back to transactional systems such as ERP, CRM, and master data management will be key to long term success and enterprise adoption.  More importantly, continued alliances with other engagement applications will keep the innovation engine alive for existing customers as they focus on improving engagement.

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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?

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Event Report: Clarabridge Customer Connections 2012 #cbc312

Clarabridge “Turns Up The Heat” On Delivering Context For Customer Experience

CEO, Sid Banderjee, opened up Clarabridge‘s 4th annual user conference to 350 customers at the Doral Golf & Spa in Miami, FL on March 5th, 2012.  Clarabridge, a sentiment and text analytics software provider helps companies discern insight from their text based customer feedback and the growing plethora of social and mobile data points.  The goal – aggregation of insights from qualitative analytics that transform key organizational processes in customer experience, new product development, and employee satisfaction.

Clarabridge has shown success with a Global 1000 customer list that spans key verticals in technology/telco, retail/CPG, manufacturing, travel/hospitality, financial services/insurance.  Major clients include Bank of America, Best Buy, Cisco, Dell, Disney, Fidelity, General Mills, Hilton, IHG Hotels, Kaiser Permanente, Marriott, Siemens Sony, T-Mobile, United Airlines, Verizon, Visa, Walgreen’s, Walmart, and Zynga.

Some highlights from the event include:

  • Keynote from customer experience transformist Bruce Temkin. Bruce’s keynote discussed how organizations apply Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs to augment customer experience.  Temkin highlighted his VoC Maturity assessment methodology that drills in on six key areas – detection, dissemination, diagnosis, discussion, designing, and deploying.  The key quote from Bruce was “Customer feedback is cheap, actionable insight may be valuable, but taking action on insight is precious. VoC programs are useless unless you act on what you find”
  • Best practices discussions from Global 1000 companies.Leading brands such as Acer, Best Buy, B/E Aerospace, Charming Shoppes, Choice Hotels International, Inc., Dell Inc, Expedia, Estée Lauder, Fidelity Investments, GE Appliances, United Airlines, Sage, Verizon, Vodaphone, Wendy’s, Walmart, and Zynga shared best practices.   Experiences from Wynn Parrish, VP Product Support of B/E Aerospace showd how customer management and warranty liability could be minimized.  Michael Silverman at Silverman research highlighted how Unilver uses VOC for internal employee programs.  One of the highlights was Jared Anderson (Best Buy) and Jonathan Sunberg’s (Confirmit) panel on voice of the customer at the leading edge/
  • Official details on the Clarabridge 5.0 launch. The launch of Clarabridge 5.0 provides the foundation for a customer insight data analytics hub (See Figure 1).  As part of the launch, Clarabridge Collaborate adds integrated notifications and alerts.  A new satisfaction scoring and sentiment transparency capability brings customer satisfaction scores into the equation to determine customer loyalty and retention programs.  Many attendees expressed interest in the new theme and event detection capabilities which provide custom categorization models to quickly surface new trends.  Last but not least, the natural language processing engine now supports Italian, Dutch, and Japanese.

Figure 1. Transforming Feedback Into Insight


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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

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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?

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Monday’s Musings: Seven Basic Privacy Rights Users Should Demand For Social Business

Public Outrage Grows Over Lax Privacy Polices At Popular Social Networking Sites

Recent actions by social networking leaders in the market place have brought new attention to a user’s privacy rights.  Despite the fact that these sites provide a freemium service to users, abuse and arrogance of a user’s privacy rights combined with user ignorance has led to not only a public outrage, but also increasing action from privacy advocacy groups to petition government agencies.  Three public examples include:

Figure 1. US Social Networking Sites Market Share By Page Views

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News Analysis: Lithium Technologies Adds $53M in Financing

New Funding Shows Strength In Social Business Market And Lithium’s Business Model

Emeryville, California based Lithum Technologies announced today that it raised $53.4M in financing.  The lead round is from New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Other investors include SAP Ventures.

  • NEA leads the round with Peter Sonsini joining the board. Peter‘s been active with ecommerce play BeachMint, community platform BuzzMedia, ruby development player Engine Yard, and cloud player Eucalyptus.  Of note all “existing Lithium investors, including Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Emergence Capital, Greenspring Associates, Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital” participated in this D round.

    Point of View (POV):
    NEA’s traditionally gone in early and invested with visionary entrepreneurs.  However, this play fits along its second investment thesis for venture growth equity opportunities.  NEA’s track record bodes well for Lithium should they decide to go the IPO route.  More importantly, NEA provides Lithium with a vast network of resources for both sales, business development, and expansion.
  • Lithium’s executed well amidst an increasingly competitive landscape. Lithium has shown growth into key verticals including auto, consumer products, financial services, retail, technology, telecommunications, and travel and leisure.  Key wins and expansions include BskyB, McDonalds, Nestle, Nissan, SuccessFactors and Telstra.

    Point of View (POV):
    Expansion into key verticals, improvement in SaaS upgrade technology, and the addition of enterprise class executives such as Rob Tarkoff, Ed Van Siclen, and Jim Drill show a seriousness to take the company to the next level.  The social business sale is starting to expand beyond the CMO role and across other line of business executives.  As the sale touches across the enterprise, the new management team is better positioned  to address the needs of CIOs, CFO’s, and other line of business execs as well as agency and system integrator partners.  More importantly, Lithium can expect consolidation in the market and increased competition from Jive, Salesforce.com, IBM, and others to heat up.

The Bottom Line For Customers: New Financing Validates Your Investment With Lithium Technologies

The strength and size of the additional financing validates Lithium’s position in the market place and bodes well for both existing customers and prospects.  Lithium intends to expand its role in defining the social customer experience.  This round of additional financing enables Lithium to:

  • Support new social business use cases
  • Expand into new markets such as digital agency ecosystem and growing geographies
  • Invest in more research and development
  • Fund future acquisitions
  • Improve service delivery for existing customers

The market place is about to consolidate and the additional funding ensures stability at Lithium as well as reaffirms its position among the leaders in social customer experience and the broader category of social business.

The Bottom Line For Technology Vendors: Expect Consolidation Across The Vendor Landscape In 2012

Activity around social business deals have accelerated in the last three months. Jive’s IPO has provided this market category with a catalyst for continued investment.  More importantly, key fundamentals such as increasing customer adoption, continued market share gains by start-ups and pure-play vendors, and interest by established software vendors indicate the beginning of a mergers and acquisition cycle in 2012.  Technology vendors can expect deals and partnerships as each of the Social Business software categories: Customer engagement, SCRM/ External Communities, Enterprise 2.0/Internal Collaboration, and Social Middleware combine to address the 43 use cases of social business.  The market can expect the following combinations:

  • Established CRM vendors to add social offerings
  • Social middleware vendors to move up the stack
  • Consolidation of SCRM players with Enterprise 2.0 communities
  • Expansion of SCRM vendors into other CRM areas

 

Figure 1. Expect Consolidation Across The Vendor Landscape In Social Business For 2012

 

Your POV.

Are you ready for Social Business? If you are a Lithium customer, what do you think?  Got a question?  Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) com.

Please let us know if you need help with your Social CRM/ Social Business efforts.  Here’s how we can assist:

  • Assessing social business/social CRM readiness
  • Developing your social business/ social CRM  strategy
  • Vendor selection
  • Implementation partner selection
  • Connecting with other pioneers
  • Sharing best practices
  • Designing a next gen apps strategy
  • Providing contract negotiations and software licensing support
  • Demystifying software licensing

Related Research:

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Copyright © 2012 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.