2012 Prediction: Likewise
Social Media: The Next Evolution of Unstructured Data
Social media, as one of the largest contributing sources of unstructured data, is grabbing everyone’s attention. Capturing data from social media, making sense of it, and understanding its business implications is evolutionary. If companies want to gain competitive advantage, it is imperative that they empower themselves with social data. The big question that has the data industry stumped is, “How can you capture the data you need, and then store, manage, and exploit all that information?" Gartner recently made the prediction that "through 2015, more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations will fail to effectively exploit big data for competitive advantage." This prediction is certainly true for social media -- to date few companies have successfully integrated social data into their business applications. According to a recent Symantec survey, the result is weakened relationships and lost dollars.
So why are companies slow to adopt social data integration? It's not surprising that the unstructured nature of social data, as well as the quality, quantity and velocity of the data pose the most significant challenges. Another barrier is the lack of knowledge of social media APIs, and web standards like REST and HTTPS. While there are significant roadblocks to successful social data integration, the untapped potential value of this data is too costly to ignore, and the challenges aren't insurmountable. Organizations need to qualify the most important data sources, the enterprise applications that will reap the greatest benefit, and the connection approach that will work best.
Innovative technology, such as archiving software that automates the capture and retention of social media content can be effective in this area. The recent success of the Jive Software IPO reaffirms that there is substantial demand for technology that helps companies capture, monitor and exploit social data. Jive offers social media monitoring and analytics tools for improved social business collaboration.
Before organizations even begin to look at how to exploit their social media data, the primary concerns of locating, classifying, structuring and securing unstructured social data must be addressed with scalable storage technology. Software designed with these requirements in mind will help make it possible for organizations to gain control of their social media data for new business applications, tighter customer relationships and new revenue streams.