IBM Applies Analytics to Cope with Social Networking Overload

Michael Vizard

In the not-too-distant future, instead of looking for information, social analytics tools are going to bring all the information right to you. That’s not only a powerful idea that will transform the way information is discovered, correlated and consumed, but it ultimately punches holes in the various walled gardens that currently dot the social networking landscape.

IBM this week took a significant step in turning that vision into a reality with the formal release of IBM Connections, a set of analytics software and services that can be used to integrate social activity streams, calendaring, wikis, blogs and email in a way that flags the most relevant content based on parameters defined by each end user. IBM Connections can be deployed on premise or in the cloud, making it accessible from any mobile computing device, including the latest Apple iPhone 5.


The goal, says Jeff Schick, vice president of social software at IBM, is to provide business context to the massive amounts of data that is streamed across social networks on a daily basis. The IBM analytics software not only identifies patterns in relevant data, it also provides insights into both customer and employee sentiments about that data. Perhaps most useful of all, it makes it easier to identify related bits of information across multiple social networks.

Companies of all sizes are struggling to cope with the signal-to-noise ratio on social networks. There’s business value in the information, but identifying that information in a sea of seemingly unrelated “conversations” taking place across multiple social networks has become a challenge. Couple that with all the corporate information people are inundated with on a daily basis and it becomes clear that a new set of mechanisms are going to be required to cope with the rapidly expanding case of digital overload.

When it comes to information, more is not necessarily better. In fact, more information can serve to obfuscate more than it informs. Without some ability to proactively filter through that information, making any practical business use of that data becomes next to impossible.

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