MIT Sloan Management Review editors
- Four Ways Social Data Can Generate Business Value
Full article: http://goo.gl/387coA
Big data has been described as the new oil, but perhaps a more apt metaphor is the new solar — it is a renewable source of energy, but must be cost-effectively captured and processed to be converted into new forms of value.
Companies both large and small have access to a growing stream of social data from an increasing number of sources. This stream is continually being enriched and renewed as our interactions unfold over time and as our ability to efficiently capture data about those interactions increases.
While many firms are investing time and resources into mining this data, the bulk of the attention thus far has been placed on how social data can help public relations, marketing and sales engage more relevantly with consumers. Indeed, the amount of data available for this purpose is staggering: according to a Forrester blog from 2010, American consumers were already posting more than a 1.6 billion reviews of products and services online in 2009. That number continues to climb as more sites enable user-generated reviews and ratings.
We believe, however, that firms are missing a significant opportunity to use social data to gain intimate and real-time knowledge about what is going on within, not just outside, the organization.
Today, many organizations take either a 30,000-foot view of social data or an intensely granular, technical approach. Few firms have tapped into social data in a way that allows them to connect it explicitly to operating performance data and execute on it effectively.
Social data science leaders and business thought-leaders must meet in the middle to collaborate on both how to analyze the data and why such analysis would be meaningful. We have only begun to understand social data’s potential value in the workplace, but much of this potential is dependent on having the mindsets and methods in place to make the most of our newest natural resource.
- Social Business = Social Bonding
Full article: http://goo.gl/UH0PAk
A study by FedEx and Ketchum found that 52% of respondents said social business was strengthening relationships with the general public; 51% said it was strengthening relationships with clients; and 40% said it was strengthening relationships with partners and suppliers.
Social business activities can pay off in various ways. Earlier this year, MIT Sloan Management Reviewand Deloitte highlighted benefits related to better market intelligence, faster customer service as well as improvements to internal operations, such as finding expertise, distributing knowledge and more effective project collaboration. (See our 2012 Special Report, Social Business: What Are Companies Really Doing?)
While building stronger relationships is naturally fuzzier and harder to pin down benefit than, say, “customer response time” or even something like “increased market intelligence,” improved relationships means a stronger business across and beyond the organization. (We’ve previously published on the importance of building trust with employees and customers and suppliers; see, for instance: “Unconventional Insights for Managing Stakeholder Trust,” by Michael Pirson, and Deepak Malhotra, from the July 1 2008 issue of MIT SMR.)
The FedEx/Ketchum study’s report of the connection between social business and improved stakeholder relationships is supported by other researchers in the field. In a recent interview withMIT SMR, strategy and management consultant Nilofer Merchant discussed how her research found that social enhances a firm’s relationships with employees and customers. Jacob Morgan, principal of Chess Media Group, a management consulting and strategic advisory firm on collaboration and the author of The Collaborative Organization (McGraw-Hill, 2012), told us that based on his observations, the benefits of collaboration even positively impacts the quality of life of employees at home, outside of the workplace. And Dion Hinchcliffe, in his four-stage Capability Ladder of Social Business, says that the highest level in the ladder is also relationship based, what he calls the ability to “partner with the world.”