There’s no doubt that social media networks have emerged as an important conduit between customers and the organizations that serve them. But the signal-to-noise ratio on those social networks is very high, which makes it difficult for companies to distinguish between comments they should ignore versus discussions requiring their immediate attention.
The reason this is difficult is because most companies aren't able correlate in real time what is being said on a social network with the information they have about their customers in business intelligence and customer relationship management (CRM) applications.
SAP this week moved to address this specific issue by rolling out an SAP rapid-deployment solution for sentiment intelligence based on the SAP High Performance Analytics Appliance (HANA) platform. According to Byron Banks, SAP vice president of product marketing, the basic idea is to combine sentiment analysis software with natural language processing technology that SAP gained with the acquisition of Inxight in 2007 with the in-memory processing capabilities of HANA to identify social networking issues before they spiral out of control or a potential opportunity is lost.
That capability is now incorporated within an SAP Data Services layer, says Banks, that should allow companies to generate reports and launch queries that not only identify issues involving real customers, but also identify them soon enough to actually prevent them from becoming a major public relations issue that eventually becomes a marketing disaster. That’s particularly important when it comes to false information that is being spread by people online that either have an ax to grind or a particular agenda to advance.
While many have doubts about how accurate sentiment analysis is as a science, the fact remains that perceptions quickly become reality. As Mark Twain once noted, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” In the age of social media, that lie can now travel all across the globe before the truth even knows it has a pair of shoes to look for.