Social Analytics for the Enterprise

|   May 22, 2012

Want to be an industry leader? Look to social analytics

In 2007 Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris wrote the book “Competing on Analytics” proclaiming to the world  the power of numbers. The book showcased companies like Harrah’s Casino and Netflix and how they use data to become industry leaders while making billions of dollars. Come 2011, Hollywood caught on to the data fever and made Moneyball (based on the book) bringing the concept of analytics to pop culture. Of course analytics have been around long before 2011, but you know when Brad Pitt is involved it’s gone mainstream.

While Brad Pitt walked away with an Emmy nomination, the real take away is analyzing data and knowing how to make numbers actionable enables companies to become true competitors – no matter if they’re a major league team, an online movie store or a casino with decades of history.

Social Analytics

What we see from how people use social tools like Facebook and Twitter is we’re in the midst of a fundamental change in the way we communicate. As Facebook closes in on a billion users it’s clear this shift is maturing in the consumer space but we’re just starting to see social emerge in the enterprise. According to data from Forrester, 81 percent of companies have no investment or are just starting to invest in social business tools. That means only 19 percent of companies have the potential to capture the social data from knowledge workers – how they work in teams, who’s in their network and how they get work done – that we didn’t have access to before social communication emerged. These social data have the potential to create more value with your workforce and make your employees feel more rewarded and recognized for their contributions to the company.

To help these companies reap the high competitive rewards of going social, Forrester has called for the need of a new position, the Social Business Analyst. We completely agree, and here at Socialcast we have a professional services organization that helps companies make sense of their social data and get the most out of their enterprise social network.

Socialcast was acquired by VMware last year and we have the advantage of sharing our internal data and highlight how analyzing social data makes the company more competitive. We launched Socialcast internally at VMware in July 2011. With all professional service clients our goal of the first phase of our engagement is to help them grow membership and active use.

Thanks to a thoughtful internal rollout, membership growth was fairly easy for VMware.  By July 2011, 73 percent of 12,000 employees had a membership to Socialcast and by April 2012 that number hit 95 percent.  One area VMware had to be focussed on was converting members to active participants. To help clients in their efforts to grow participation, we used key performance indicators that measure the level of engagement for not only the entire company, but also for smaller departments and position types.

Measuring levels of engagement for smaller groups of employees allowed VMware to target their actions.  They customized efforts by level of engagement and were able to run programs that helped members with lower rates become more engaged, while ensuring that they continued to encourage and reward groups with higher levels of adoption to ensure they continued.  By targeting their efforts, VMware was able to increase their community engagement numbers faster and with less investment.

Finally, by continuing to measure these rates combined with additional analytics, VMware could further come to understand the impact their actions have had on increasing participation and thus have been able to continue to evolve their strategy as needed.

The results of their efforts have been significant.  In July 2011, 26 percent of their members were actively participating and by April of this year 39 percent of members were active participators – a 13 percent increase.

What we get from an actively engaged community is an environment for employees to share ideas, gain access to unknown experts, receive recognition for their input and collaborate with fellow employees anywhere in the world or throughout the company.

This is just one of many examples of how using data creates smarter social strategies. The results are showing that using a data driven approach helps clients reach full membership adoption faster, gets more members comfortable talking about their work in their network, and ultimately helps companies extract the business value from social sooner.

Stay tuned for updates from the VMware community managers and internal comms team to talk about the specific strategies they used to increase engagement, and examples of how to replicate this success in your own community. You can also find out more about our Social Business Intelligence service here:



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Author Spotlight

Cameran Evans
Cameran Evans Chief Data Scientist View full bio

What is Socialcast?

Socialcast by VMware (NYSE: VMW) is a social network for business uniting people, information, and applications with its real-time enterprise activity stream engine. Behind the firewall or in the cloud, Socialcast enables instant collaboration in a secure environment. Socialcast is headquartered in San Francisco, California.