June 15, 2011

THE GREAT DISRUPTION : Test your company's social data intelligence

By Andreas Weigend

http://ideas.economist.com/blog/great-disruption\

Posted: 8 June 2011 - 2:15am

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Tags: Inspiring Enlightening big data business information social data revoultion

Comments: 1

In today’s increasingly digitised world, we are creating data in unprecedented ways. Ubiquitous and conspicuous social and mobile connections have empowered social consumers to broadcast their locations, opinions, thoughts and emotions to the world in real-time with nothing more than a few clicks, many times a day, on multiple platforms.

The omnipresence of this data is changing the relationships between individuals, as well as between businesses and their customers. However, most companies are not well positioned to take advantage of this Social Data Revolution. While new market research tools allow us to observe differently how consumers make their decisions, the fundamental shift is that consumers now make their decisions differently. Today’s social consumers are weaved together in the social fabric of social data more than ever for their purchasing and lifestyle choice. How prepared is your company to participate and take advantage of this shift?

Traditional enterprises face numerous challenges: views on privacy focused on the legal department rather than on the customer, traditional approaches to decision making, legacy operations and metrics and anachronistic data strategies, if at all.

They are threatened by companies that understand the power of social data, building a measurement-focused culture and customer-centric data strategy. Amazon started this approach in the 90's-product reviews have helped customers with billions of decisions. Netflix forecasts demand and optimises operations based on the data its customers create.

For incumbents open to change, the data their existing customers socialise are both a threat and an opportunity. But what do large firms need to do to navigate this rapidly evolving field of social data?

In the heart of Silicon Valley, next to the Facebook, the world’s largest social data factory, the Social Data Lab aims to address this question. Directed by Dr. Andreas Weigend, former Chief Scientist of Amazon.com, it helps companies understand the irreversible impact the Social Data Revolution has on individuals, business, and society.

The Lab’s Aldo Briano and Tim Holley, graduate students in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, developed the Social Data Intelligence Test. The test assesses how an organisation tracks, analyses, and acts on social data, information that consumers knowingly and willingly share and takes about 20 minutes. It is designed to encourage executives to think critically about their current practices and to reevaluate existing assumptions.

Scores are represented across four dimensions: product, organisation, customer-centricity and company reputation. They benchmark a company’s competencies and highlight opportunities for improvement, creating a starting point for a strategic realignment in this new era of social consumers.

The Social Data Intelligence Test is available online.

Aldo Briano, Tim Holley, Asha Gupta, and Léo Grimaldi are graduate students in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford. Gabriela Maford and Hin Leung and contributed to this article.

Dr Andreas Weigend (@aweigend) teaches the course The Social Data Revolution: Data mining and e-commerce at Stanford, directs theSocial Data Lab, and was Amazon’s Chief Scientist.

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