Clint Boulton, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, published a post to the CIO Journal® blog on Friday, July 26, 2013: CIOs Look for Ways to Marry Social Data with Big Data.
We had a hard time understanding the premise of this post. In our opinion “Social Data” is absolutely consistent with “Big Data”, so there is no need to “marry” the two. Unstructured data is at the core of “Big Data”. Today, browsers are the universal client of a very rich and lengthy list of applications. Any content published on web pages (including facebook, Twitter, etc.) falls into the “unstructured data” category and becomes, instantaneously, food for “Big Data” analysis.
What could be more social than facebook or Twitter?
The point we think Clint Boulton is making is really about collecting data from public websites and pulling it into internal business intelligence (BI) tools and processes. Sure, it’s difficult for enterprise IT to help Line of Business (LoB) units collect information from public websites. The content is the property of the website operator and its subscriber.
But this problem would plague anyone trying to collect this information, even LoBs. The real issue comes down to privacy, not a lack of technology to address the problem.
The enterprise IT workaround is to implement a content management system (CMS). We have a lot of experience with Microsoft® SharePoint®, a leading player in the CMS market. Over 80% of large organizations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors support a running instance of SharePoint. Anything published to SharePoint amounts to web page content. So there is no problem collecting conversations over Yammer, or NewsGator and passing the information through highly effective BI tools built with managed metadata, the Term Store and taxonomies.
But SharePoint is not as compelling as Twitter and facebook, so social data collected from SharePoint may not fit the needs of LoBs. The trick is to implement an internal adoption program so internal users will warm up to SharePoint and opt to interact over its considerable social features.
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