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Question marks hang over the value of social media data

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13th Jan 2010
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Although the number of people using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook continues to grow, business intelligence experts are still not convinced as to whether customer data generated in this way has any value.

According to a poll among 125 BI practitioners undertaken by BI software supplier Kognitio and data consultancy Baseline Consulting, nearly two-thirds of respondents were ‘undecided’ as to whether information collected from such sites would help them to either understand their customer base or the perception of their brand more effectively.

A further 23% described social media sites as ‘over-rated’, indicating that there were not as many customer conversations taking place as the media would have people believe. As a result, a mere 14% were keen to incorporate data from these channels into their ongoing data analysis efforts.

In relation to more traditional BI, however, nearly one third of those questioned said that they were now under pressure to justify the money that has previously been spent on such projects and that they were looking for quick wins or new opportunities to do so.

A further 36% also believed that being able to deliver BI initiatives speedily would be an imperative in the year ahead as it was no longer acceptable for implementation to take months or for the ability to generate usable information to take a year or more.

John Thompson, chief executive of Kognito’s North American operations, said: "In this economy, companies want to be able to quantify their efforts and see tangible results from everything they do. That clearly extends to the use of BI, which has been a money pit for far too long."

Interestingly, however, not all respondents were convinced that Software-as-a-Service was the answer. While about two-thirds believed that such a delivery model would continue to grow in 2010, half felt uptake would increase more slowly and half more quickly.

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