Perspectives

Power play: The social spark

​In this Power Play, Deloitte provides a Digital Enterprise perspective on "Reengineering business intelligence" from Deloitte’s Business Trends 2013.

What's at stake?

As the volume of social data being generated expands exponentially with each passing week, companies seeking fresh insights into their businesses sense opportunity. The combination of massive amounts of data and new tools for making sense of it all has the potential to fuel new growth, new products, new markets, and more.

So it’s no surprise that leading companies are redesigning their business processes to harness the full power of social data. Using new business intelligence engines that blend data from social media with other external and internal data sets, these forward-thinking organizations are moving from decision making aligned with traditional budget cycles to decision making that occurs almost in real time. This allows them to anticipate and manage strategic risks more effectively and quickly capitalize on emerging market opportunities.
 
With so much social data at hand, companies that ignore the insights hidden within social information may be giving up their competitive advantage to those with the tools and wherewithal to pounce on this opportunity.
 
Transforming how business operates

Business intelligence that combines social media data with other external and internal data sources can boost business performance and lead to breakthrough innovation. But in order to create a significant impact, companies should consider integrating the analytics and insights into their standard business processes and work flows. Treating the new business intelligence capabilities as a simple bolt-on to existing systems and processes can be a valuable first step; however, it is unlikely to provide the full benefits of an integrated approach.
 
Why act now?

These days, business leaders are hungry for new insight, regardless of the source. In the past, they may have turned to internally-focused historical data–sales trends, past profitability, and more. But now it’s possible to harness the power of the crowd to generate more timely insights to inform decisions that need to be made right now. Ten years ago, that ability was little more than a pipe dream. But now that it’s a reality, the pressure is on for business leaders to be the first to put it to work.

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Lessons from leaders

Social data not only presents many classic big-data challenges, it also introduces specific issues in highly sensitive areas such as privacy. But the insights that come from social data can be well worth the challenge. 

What to do:

What not to do:

    Strive for mass intimacy
    Don't raise the data quality bar too high
    Prepare to innovate
    Don't start without defined goals
    Put things in context
    Don't create frameworks without context

Our take

With all the hype about analytics these days, it’s natural–and healthy–to ask whether social data-driven analytics is just a passing fad, or if it’s the real deal. You’ve probably already guessed our view: We believe social data is well worth the hype. Why? Because it can provide business insights that are difficult or impossible to obtain from traditional data sources.

If you're wondering where social data could have an immediate impact on your organization, consider these three areas:

  • Consumers: What consumers are talking about today on social media can help companies predict the market needs of tomorrow, including future demand levels and product requirements. It can also uncover emerging problems or customer complaints before they become headline news.
  • Employees: Social media can help a company understand how its employees are really feeling so it can fine tune talent management programs and address problems early. It also provides a mechanism that enables employees to collaborate on solving interesting and important business challenges.
  • Ecosystem: Social media can help a company understand how its employees are really feeling so it can fine tune talent management programs and address problems early. It also provides a mechanism that enables employees to collaborate on solving interesting and important business challenges.

If insights like these are worth pursuing in your organization, keep in mind that this isn’t just a matter of buying new technology. Taking advantage of these types of insights requires more than just bolting some fancy analytical capabilities onto existing systems and business processes; it requires changing how the business operates by integrating social data analysis and business intelligence into the company’s day-to-day work flows.

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