Image from IBM, Twitter
Image from IBM, Twitter

For many organizations Twitter is a two-edged sword: Some staffers spend too much time on the social network, while others see it as a valuable source of information about how customers view the company’s products and services.

It’s a bit of both, which is why IBM has formed a partnership with Twitter to help enterprises analyze feeds from the network in hopes it will get them closer to customers, markets and trends.

Their teams will focus in three areas:

–Integration of Twitter data with IBM analytics services on the cloud: IBM plans to offer Twitter data as part of select cloud-based services, including its Watson Analytics, which brings predictive capabilities to business users, and a cloud-based data refinery service so application developers can embed data services in applications. Developers will also be able to integrate Twitter data into new cloud services they are building with IBM’s Watson Developer Cloud or IBM Bluemix platform-as-a-service;

–New data-intensive capabilities for the enterprise: IBM and Twitter will deliver a set of enterprise applications to help improve business decisions. The first will integrate Twitter data with IBM’s ExperienceOne customer engagement solutions, allowing sales, marketing, and customer service staff to map sentiment and behavior to better engage and support their customers;

–Specialized enterprise consulting: IBM Global Business Services professionals will have access to Twitter data to enrich consulting services for clients across business. Additionally, IBM [NYSE: IBM] and Twitter will collaborate to develop unique solutions for specific industries such as banking, consumer products, retail, and travel and transportation.

The announcement comes after Twitter released a modular mobile platform for developers called Fabric, which it says will help integrate Twitter feeds into enterprise applications. It consists of a number of kits including Crashlytics, to help figure out why apps crash, and the Twitter kit, for embedding Tweets in an app, including easier authentication.

“Twitter provides a powerful new lens through which to look at the world – as both a platform for hundreds of millions of consumers and business professionals, and as a synthesizer of trends,” IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty said in a release. “This partnership, drawing on IBM’s leading cloud-based analytics platform, will help clients enrich business decisions with an entirely new class of data. This is the latest example of how IBM is reimagining work.”

“This important partnership with IBM will change the way business decisions are made,” said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, “from identifying emerging market opportunities to better engaging clients, partners and employees.”

In an email analyst Nik Rouda of the Enterprise Strategy Group noted that many companies who are interested in analysis of social media have already had big data technologies and access to data available to them. Where IBM’s partnership comes in is to simplify and standardize the integration points with their analytics products.

“The announcement helps build credibility for Twitter as a “business-class” resource and service,” he said.  “It also helps IBM show relevance beyond traditional BI reporting on internal data, and now also leverage broader social context more responsively. Many will want to link up their customer records with Twitter accounts, and handle variously marketing, services, support and other customer engagements more effectively. Seems like a solid move, if not world-changing, for both companies.”



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