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My colleague Mike Gotta recently put up a blog post entitled, “Social Analytics: Another Front For Business Intelligence.” In it he talks about Socialcast’s announcement of its Social Business Intelligence platform, and the fact that “the need for comprehensive analytics when it comes to social activities is very real.” I agree.
However, I think it gets a lot more interesting when it’s seen as part of a larger capability that I call Information Intelligence. The idea is that tracking digital content—where it’s created, where it goes, who consumes it, what it’s about—supplies enterprises with insight into how they’re creating and consuming information. We’ve done this for years with physical goods--ERP systems monitor production plans, inventory levels, shop floor status, and distribution pipelines. By understanding how physical goods move through the factory, we’re able to optimize the process. It’s about time that we did the same thing for information. After all, we are inclined to call this the “information economy.”
We’ve created islands of analysis for digital content; now we need to start building the bridges between them. We need to integrate mechanisms such as:
- Web Analytics: monitoring user behavior on web sites
- Blog Analytics: tracking posts and linkbacks on blogs
- Search Analytics: watching what users search for and the results they get
- E-mail Monitoring: analyzing e-mail flow (e.g., Gist and Xobni)
- Social Network Analysis: documenting which users link to and correspond with other users
It’s only when we start connecting these dots that we’ll start to understand how ideas flow, where the bottlenecks are, and where the experts reside. Put another way, we’ll be able to watch how a specific enterprise makes its decisions—the first step to optimizing the process. We’re a long way from having an integrated system—but we should at least start thinking about how to create one.