Thanks to all you lovely social Web analytics people who've emailed me about your excitement and concerns regarding the Influence Scorecard. I'm also delighted that Katie Delahaye Paine and Charlene Li have expressed their desire to be part of this (although to be fair I haven't checked back with Charlene since February... are you around next week Charlene?)
I do appreciate your enthusiasm, but of course I wanted to post here about your concerns too. Once we have these concerns out of the way, it would be great to get these conversations into the public domain so I don't have to write long blog posts keeping everyone up to date!
Given that I've been asked, let me start by saying why I love this space. Quite simply, it combines several passions of mine: organisational efficiency and effectiveness; the Internet and information technology; social media, democracy, consumer empowerment and community invigoration; mathematics and data visualisation.
But that's me. What about the analytics industry? Why should competitors get in a room and tease this out collaboratively? That's the concern some of you have raised, and there are two responses to this question.
The market value
I see it quite simply that the sooner this relatively nascent capability of SWA starts to make a real contribution to board level decision making, the better for industry, the better for customers, the better for you the suppliers. We will make it easier to integrate SWA into Business Performance Management, making the established BPM processes more powerful in turn. We will improve organisations' sensitivity and responsiveness to the marketplace, and make marketing more dynamic, effective and accountable.
How does this compare to the current situation? Well, today, we have a proportion of the PR and Marketing consultancies dabbling. An unfair verb? Perhaps. But no matter how seriously a tiny minority of these consultants may regard their use of SWA to date, it is absolutely 'dabbling' imho given the difference between today's typical application and the real potential here.
We have a proportion of the more enlightened CMOs / Marketing Directors trying to get their heads round what these pretty charts mean and, importantly, how this information should then inform their adaptation of strategy and tactical execution. And by the very emphasis of analysis (SWA) over synthesis, the SWA industry isn't typically leading clients through the whole of this loop.
The sooner we can ease this integration and close the loop, the sooner the ROI-type metrics begin to really stack up, and the sooner serious investment in SWA makes sense. At that juncture, the wider market, the early majority, mid-market and laggards, wake up and smell the coffee and approve or increase their investment too.
The SWA industry is then a considerably bigger pie from which to take your slice. Or to use another metaphor, all boats float on a rising tide.
Many of the 70 companies I listed in my last post, "The increasingly crowded market of Social Web Analytics", rarely compete. Sure, their services fall under the heading of SWA, but the services offered are not like for like.
As I pointed out this time last year in the Social Web Analytics eBook 2008, each organisation will have particular needs and expectations of SWA, just as they do of BPM. For example, some organisations with widely discussed brands may want to pay for some automated sentiment analysis capability given the sheer volume of conversation out there. Others, with more niche product lines, may not. Some will require Turkish language capability, others will not. Some will want an ongoing consultant helping them fine tune the monitoring and analysis, others just want to enter basic terms into a webpage themselves. In my work helping clients procure SWA, any one vendor will make some short-lists and not others.
So getting together for all the good reasons listed above also means you may find and forge future partnerships with one another. I've heard some people call this kind of gathering and joint focus co-opetition... not sure that's a real word though. And pragmatically, I will be making a post in the next 18-24 months along the lines of "The increasing consolidation of the Social Web Analytics market", so participation in this venture is one of the things you can do to help position your organisation to acquire or be acquired, whatever your intent.
Ultimately, and with no attempt at claiming anything but total bias in this regard, companies involved in defining, marketing and executing the Influence Scorecard approach, will be perceived as towards the top of the game compared to the also-rans.
Where and when
This will be finalised next week following your ongoing feedback, but with the objective of narrowing this down and allowing you to get back to me if this really doesn't work for you, it's looking like New York, 8-9th October 2009 or 12-13th October 2009 (I know the latter encompasses Columbus Day.) Shout now or forever hold your peace!
Potential sponsors, do get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lastly, here's a link to my presentation outlining the Influence Scorecard as currently envisaged.
Thanks again, Philip.