Analytics make sense. After all, what’s the point of doing something if you don’t measure it? You can’t know if a business endeavour needs more effort to make it successful, or how it could be tweaked to be even better if you do not know how it is doing in the first place. Nor do you know if certain initiatives are achieving return on investment or not. Analytics are consequently fundamental to almost all aspects of business in order to continue growing, improving and performing at the highest level. This is equally true of social business analytics.
In 2013, Mark Cunningham took this to a new level, writing for CMS Wire, and explaining that being a social business is as much about what goes on externally as well as internally. He explains that:
“Being a ‘social business’ is more than just being active on external channels; it’s about introducing that same transparent, collaborative and social philosophy to every aspect of the enterprise.”
That is to say that, while according to Cunningham there has been focus on companies providing and using analytics tools to establish the usefulness of different social media strategies and tools to understand customers’ social networks and behaviour, but at the same time it is also equally important to understand what is going on in terms of social inside the organization itself.
Cunningham explains that up to 60% of conversations regarding any organization are often taking place within the company itself and between various teams. This occurs on platforms like Yammer, Jibe and Sales Force Chatter, but at the current time organizations barely track at all how effective their social enterprise vision is. There seems to be very little in the way of actual data and information that shows to what extent social business tools are taken up for use internally, or the types of conversations that are occurring, and also, all importantly, whether these discussions are having any impact in working towards the meeting of business targets.
Cunningham argues that this will start to happen much more in the short term, and that companies will start looking internally to better understand the impact of social activities on important business areas such revenues, innovation, productivity and customer satisfaction, among others.Four Things to be analyzed in your social business Intelligenthq
According to Cunningham there are certain drivers that will make this more likely to happen. The first is the fact that the social business movement is gaining traction and more companies are starting to incorporate it as a matter of course. The second is an increasing trend towards more sophisticated techniques to measure business value from all tools, and an economy that is still challenging, that leads businesses to continue to question the value of different tools to make sure that they are still delivering and achieving return on investment.
Indeed, Cunningham argues that social business analytics will be required so businesses can continue to refine what they are doing with these tools internally so that ways can be found to deliver as much value as possible from these tools.
Social pulse is a particular area of focus for monitoring, according to Cunningham. It is explained that while a great deal (maybe 50% or more) of a company’s transition to a social business is cultural, this does still need technology to make it happen. If no one uses the social business tools that are put in place then there is no point in having them. Consequently it is important to look at adoption rates, and understand power users and who are the influencers within the social business in order to extend the system further. Understanding innovation and business intelligence is another important area to measure. This is difficult right now, since as Cunningham explains, there are tools that assist with this for external social media, but not so much for internal conversations. However, great business intelligence can be gleaned from these conversations, so it is necessary to try.
Conversation analysis is another area that Cunningham recommends, and he argues for using this to understand the health of the business. Ideally this would be with tools, as looking at different feeds of different users to try and find patterns is a very laborious process, prone to error. The sorts of information being looked for are what people like, and analysis of employee sentiments. Equally difficult to achieve, understanding the ROI of internal social business helps to better comprehend its importance and how to change it for the better.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.