Category Archives: business

The roots of social business (short animated presentation)

How do social networks effect the way in which we conduct business?

I’ve had the opportunity to discuss this question with industry experts, academics and (thankfully) students over the last year or so. I’ve boiled the results down into this short presentation on social business:

Key points:

Scaling the conversational nature of business
In the pre-industrial era, business was localized, customized and highly conversational. Think of the way commerce happened in a small village. Stories would be shared over the sale of a loaf of bread at the bakery. Village folk would talk and trade recommendations.

Then came the industrial era and the imperative to realize economies of scales and produce goods for large global markets. The transactional process was optimized for efficiency (think supermarket checkout lines).

Social networking has brought back the potential for business processes to become more conversational, albeit on a larger scale to what was previously possible.

More customer-focused business
In the field of marketing and communications, we’re seeing chinks in the traditional broadcast model that was ushered in by the rise of mass media. The idea that it is the role of the company to create messages and broadcast those out with the intent of creating demand is being challenged.

Social media are creating forums for discussion with open dialogue occurring between companies (theoretically any employee), prospects and customers.

Increased workforce productivity
Social networking within the enterprise allows for the freer flow of knowledge across teams and departments leading to less information silos and more efficient internal processes for instance by allowing expertise to be more effectively sourced.

The pivotal role of analytics
Social analytics is necessary to uncover the business value of using social networking. This applies at many different levels across the whole enterprise. For instance, monitoring customer feedback following a product launch, determining which employees are the most effective networkers or helping key influencers extend their reach.

Look for further videos in this series which will look more specifically at how social networking is transforming different areas of business.

More introductory information on the nature of social business:

Resources from the MIT Sloan School of Business

Forrester blog posts on social business

IBM on social business

Dachis Group on social business



Jeff Jonas interview with Forbes: IBM’s business analytics strategy

Jeff Jonas, chief scientist at IBM’s Entity Analytics group, recently sat down with Forbes’ Kym McNicholas to explain IBM’s strategy in the growing business analytics space.

Here are some of the key themes Jeff discussed:

Enhanced customer service
Business analytics allows businesses to make smarter decisions at the point of interaction, whether that is an application for a credit card, or an order coming in to a call center. Another facet is the growth of geolocation services like Foursquare and Gowalla giving us much richer information on people’s movements. Using this data, when people search for information on the web, we can incorporate analytics into the results, making them more local, more relevant.  

HR and the hiring process
Tying together an applicant’s information across disparate systems can help detect issues, such as whether that person has previously shoplifted from the store to which they are applying (it happens!).

Data security
As companies have more and more information on their customer base, keeping this data secure is a growing problem. Analytics can help: for instance companies can see who accesses data to help uncover data thefts and violations. Analytics tools can also be used to add a further level of encryption, so even if data is stolen, records cannot be matched back to individuals.

Forbes were kind enough to create a video of the interview too:


If you don’t know Jeff, among his many achievements, led the development of facial recognition software used to thwart aggressive card count teams (such as the MIT team covered in the book ‘Bringing Down the House’) for the casino industry.

Read Jeff’s full bio

Read Jeff’s blog.

IBM Business Analytics Software protecting children in care in Nevada

imageAs the Business Analytics Forum gets underway in Las Vegas, eWEEK feature an article on how IBM’s analytic software is helping Clark County Family Services Department in Nevada improve the delivery of social services. Prior to using IBM analytics, spreadsheets were used to monitor care workers and the level of service provided. Due to population increase and the need to conform to state legislation and policies, the department needed a solution that would make reporting easier, help the department comply with new regulations, and measure business performance.

According to Eboni Washington, a IT supervisor in the Family Services Department,
“Before this we had a lot of children not being seen each month. And now we have an automated system, rather than some workers keeping a hand count of who they have seen and what they have done each month.”

For more information, read the full article in eWEEK.


Business Analytics Forum at IOD

imageWelcome to this new IBM Business Analytics blog to coincide with the major IBM business analytics event about to kick off in Vegas.

Whether or not you are attending, here are some useful links where you can get more information on the event:

Keep posted for more updates as this event unfolds.