Usually big trends in business follow on the footsteps of new research or data staking the claim of transformational ROI. Whether it’s a system (HRM, CRM, ERP/M), a process (six sigma) or a style (management rotations, profit sharing) just about all of these major business trends came about after extensive trial and error, piloting, testing, and researching. We live in a fundamentally changed world if you didn’t notice.
Everything that is now “social” went just about backwards – all of a sudden “social” was producing disruptive amounts of data that cut across organizational units and so a new business trend emerged… big data.
As we’re just beginning to see the way big data plays out across different functions and industries, it got its start in some way as a way to find ROI for everything “social”. In fact, as Dion Hinchcliffe pointed out last month, just about everyone is trying to buy their way into “social” (but more on that another time). Whether it’s because staff expect it (they use it in their personal lives) or it’s how their customers are spending their time (mobile, social, both), for- and not-for profit organizations have dramatically amped up their digital analytics teams to make the most of the change.
But there’s a bigger question that comes first: is Big Data for you?
One of the reasons I started this blog was to gain a better understanding of how web analytics meshed with social media and varying marketing channels. I’m constantly amazed by two extremes: those who use the growing world of big data to drive strategic decisions and improve their businesses and organizations, and those that spend more money on shiny real-time measuring tools and dashboards and only have a few cute stories to show for it and no real strategy.
The Malcolm Gladwell approach
Anyone who has read the “Tipping Point” or even has seen snippets of it has likely heard of his now famous categorization of the Connectors – the Seth Godins of marketing and new media. These are the people who have a “special gift of bringing the world together.”
A social business is about linking people and prioritizing people first. This month Google introduced Google+ to enterprise users. The challenge of course, is how to convert organizations that, in the absence of a social option, have likely turned to other alternatives. Think 37 Signals, Moxie, SocialText, Jive, and the list goes on. If there’s one reason not to use Google Apps – it’s the lack of a ‘people’ strategy. And that’s a big lack.
You can’t search across Google Apps
Unless you have a very expensive Google Search Appliance, you can’t really search across your email, docs, and sites. There’s something Google developed in labs so that folks can do this from google mail, but this should be a feature available across the Google Apps toolkit – maybe even from the little black bar.
Ditto with apps from the marketplace. You can’t search across third party apps like Insightly, Box.net, or others that you’ve added on. That’s a shame.
This isn’t about how to set up the code (it’s really easy and many have covered it), but rather how to set yourself up to measure the things that matter, create filters, segments, and goals to move toward data-driven decision making and iterative optimization. You’ll need a basic understanding of web analytics, and some familiarity with Google Analytics (GA) will help too.