by John Dodge

The Next Big Thing (Maybe): Social Analytics

Sep 23, 20132 mins
Big DataSocial Networking Apps

If nothing else, social analytics puts a little flesh on the bones of big data.

Social analytics is latest term getting some buzz. And it has some real meaning – at least in concept.

According to a story on the topic, social analytics examines things like e-mail and social media to determine where work time is being wasted.

It also goes by the name “social enterprise intelligence,” according to Seattle-based firm Volometrix whose home page paints this picture: 

“The good news: you’ve put your best people on your biggest project. The bad news: The other five things they are working on.”

In short, the best resources are stretched thin. It happens every day in every company.

The idea is to take unused data to unearth bigger picture patterns such as time wasted in unproductive meetings.

“We found that many CIOs and managers wanted to take this data and give it right back to their employees so they could see where their time and energy is going, and where the distractions, the obstacles to productivity were coming from,” says VoloMetrix Ryan Fuller says in the story.

One down side is that employees have to give the enterprise powers-that-be access to their communications channels such as e-mail and social media although much of the latter is already public. However, it’s been long established that the owner of corporate e-mail is the enterprise, not the individual worker.

I wonder if social analytics is just a new spin on the constant quest to make employees, groups and workforces more productive. There’s no replacement for a disciplined and smart manager who runs a highly-motivated and productive group. And certainly an overloaded employee on that new big project would know that the other five projects are a problem.

I also wonder if workers resent being confronted with reports saying how they said they wasted time? I guess I see social analytics working more on group and organizational levels than with indivduals.    

Would social analytics work in an enterprise like yours and how well do you understand where your time is