Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'What is" vs the "what was" revolution

I've been involved with a few companies who are riding (or fell off the horse) in the relatively new Discovery space. Over the past 15 years consumers and businesses have derived great utility from search, a function which enables people to find information about what has happened or what was posted, frequently days, months or years previously. Businesses also received great rewards by advertising against the keywords used for these searches. More recently, and certainly the combination of mobile geolocation with sites such as Pinterest. WeHeartIt. Twitter  a firehose of data around what IS, vs what WAS is now available for Enterprises.

All this data, which I call the Social Highway, has many on and off ramps. The on ramps include countless blogs, data streams, photo streams, commerce streams, etc.; all delivered in real-time. Compiling the data is relatively easy, turning it into actionable information is much more difficult and is the secret sauce behind companies which built solutions optimized for real-time big data sets to measure and analyze:

  • Buying intention
  • Customer support
  • Brand health
  • Influencers (positive and negative)
  • Psychographics

While this information is powerful, the real impact will only be felt as Enterprises adjust their business processes to direct the information to the right people, put in place processes for institutional learning and retention, and do this in a cross-silo manner. Unlike today's Enterprise, where each department has its own information silos, supported by people and processes, the Social Highway's on and off ramps do not respect traditional turfs. Customers may simultaneously require support, sales and marketing assistance. Influencers (and their minions) can be instantly pinpointed for special treatment, akin the TSA fast-lanes and be couponed, receive priority support and surveyed, all in one interaction. And all these interactions are no longer asynchronous.

Enterprise structure will have to be more elastic. It's a revolution in the making.

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