Post This On Your Wall: BI Tools Strongly Impacted by Social Media Intelligence

Let’s face it, no aspect of business has remained the same since the takeoff of social media. Business intelligence, too, is impacted by social media. How?

BI Tools Learn to “Crawl” So You Can Run

As you work to merge your business intelligence tools within a social media analysis framework, you may feel bombarded with one key fact:  data gathered from social media formats is largely unstructured. Yet, wading into this jungle of data can give you tremendous customer insights you wouldn’t have had before. Called “mining,” you can use BI tools to go after the information customers are dropping into places like Twitter or Facebook – or, discover that you’re not even on their minds or making information posted on their “walls.” BI tools should include access to information dug up by high-tech marketing processes that essentially crawl customer interactions for data about your products and services.

BI Tools Can Help Capture Your Social Media Data

For starters, BI tools must reflect a more collaborative nature, and must be strong in their ability to make users feel at ease and to promote sharing of information across divisions. Additionally, your organization may be the focus of several types of data-gathering opportunities as your social media presence grows, and BI tools should be designed to help you make the most of that data – along with gather information about your competition.

Grabbing up data that occurs in the social media arena may seem somewhat out of your comfort zone. This type of data is typically lacking in structure and can demonstrate erratic fluctuations in content levels. Still, it’s a very valuable portal into your customers. Let BI tools help you harness its power, in terms of serving your customers better, outshining your competition and getting an edge on your customer research.

Social Filtering? BI Tools Are Starting To Do That, Too

Have you heard phrases like “social filtering” and social media analytics? You will, at an ever-increasing pace. These phrases should fall into your efforts to analyze and understand the ways human interactions – be they related to your product, or subjects related to your product – impact your growth. As BI tools become more advanced to keep up, look for them to help you translate your social media-based information into your foundation’s for future expansions. This capacity should extend even beyond social media sites and into the data you can analyze from Internet communities themselves.

Who’s On Board So Far?

BI vendors such as IBM Cognos, Microsoft, and TIBCO Spotfire, for example, have already incorporated social media analysis tools into their BI tool sets. The big “c” that’s essential for merging BI tools with social media analysis is collaboration. If you’re using more old-school forms of BI tools, you may be focusing your decision-making on information from your data warehouse, your dashboards or your reports. Enter social media intelligence, and now you’ll be incorporating BI tools with information grabbed right from collaborative users.

BI Tools Evolving To Resemble Social Media Settings, Appearances

What’s in the works? The users you have for your BI tools will be able to ask focused, direct questions between teams and then connect these answers into focused reports, including the data you can glean from social media analytics. BI tools themselves will soon also have a closer family resemblance to common social media interfaces.

Forward-Thinking Impacts For Your Data Warehouse

Once you have that precious data from your customers, via social media intelligence, what do you do with it? Ideally you can use BI tools to plug that knowledge into your data warehouse and then make more-informed and insightful decisions. From there, you might decide to extend the capabilities of BI tools to also merge with product data from your past to see what the trends really mean.

While you’ll gain amazing customer insights by incorporating social media analysis into your BI tools, be aware that in this scenario, your decisions are based on multiple areas of knowledge and data – rather than just one overriding source, i.e. your data warehouse. You’ll have to combine future-based considerations with the historical data provided by your warehouse, and this can seem a bit daunting. Some BI tools already perform this function; some are getting there; and some do not.

Baby Steps Into Maximizing Social Media Knowledge

You don’t have to leap fully into integrating social media analysis into your BI tools and data warehouse. You can add this functionality gradually, and gradually you can learn to pull data from multiple sources, both past and present. As you consider how BI tools can help you capture social media insights, also realize you’ll need to know in what arena(s) your data will have the strongest impact – is it marketing? Is it how you set your prices? Or some other area? Also, make a decision about how much data warehouse real estate you can afford to set aside for the potential giant influx of social media-based knowledge.