Business analytics giant SAS Institute Inc. introduced its Social Media Analytics (SMA) solution this spring. SMA integrates with CRM and marketing systems, understands and classifies conversations across 13 languages and archives four years of online conversation history. This hosted solution offers advanced data mining and prediction, sentiment analysis at granular levels and identifies top influencers and trends. A robust system for large enterprises, SMA also creates custom taxonomies and topics, correlates online public data with private internal data and includes a smart sentiment engine that improves over time.
“We have the framework in place, which allows us to bring an enterprise approach to the problem. We can collect and analyze large quantities of data, both structured and unstructured, from internal and external courses. And we can capture and analyze online conversations going back years,” said Mark Chaves, director of media intelligence solutions for SAS, in a Q&A with sascom Magazine. “Looking at trends over time, we help companies not just explain what happened, but to also predict what’s going to happen, or create ‘what-if’ scenarios,” he said.
There aren’t a lot of tools that can do large network analysis yet, he said, outside of the big analytics vendors like Cary, N. Car.-based SAS.
A management platform for medium and large enterprises, SocialTalk aggregates data; provides dashboards at global, regional and local levels; manages publishing, workflow and approvals; and provides metrics for measuring results. SocialTalk is the flagship product from Toronto-based Syncapse Corp., one of Facebook’s preferred developer consultants. The company’s second product, SocialSync, connects data behind social media destinations. Both solutions are SaaS-based.
Info-Tech Research Group lists SocialTalk in a recently released report, “Leveraging Social Media for Customer Interaction.” SocialTalk can play generically across the market and suitable for B-to-C or G-to-C organizations looking to manage across platforms, said Hickernell. One of SocialTalk’s strengths is its ability to incorporate specific campaign tags into the metrics, he said.
Syncapse CEO Michael Scissons said SocialTalk is “just the tip of the iceberg” and hinted towards an upcoming model that will change the way metrics are used to interpret measures of success. Syncapse has “a very aggressive roadmap over the next several years on how we are going to evolve the product,” he said. The company also offers professional services for enterprises.
Toronto-based Sysomos, recently acquired by Marketwire Inc., offers two products. Heartbeat is a monitoring tool and integrates with Salesforce.com. MAP provides monitoring, analytics and reports and targets advertising, marketing and PR agencies. Sysomos also offers multiple APIs for integrating monitoring and analytics into applications.
Sysomos’ differentiator in the market is a proprietary database of over three billion social media conversations, geo-demographics, automated sentiment and the ability to identify key influencers and opinion leaders, said director of communications Mark Evans.
IDC Canada senior analyst Krista Napier said Sysomos is an interesting example of social CRM – tools that integrate with CRM systems that a company is using to deliver greater value. “This is a very new and emerging space, but we will likely hear and see more moving forward,” she said.
This Web-based application from Ottawa-based dna13 Inc., a subsidiary of CNW Group Ltd., targets PR and marketing professionals with real-time media monitoring, communication management and reports. dna13 monitors TV, print, online and social media, consolidates data to generate clips and reports, supports publishing in PDF, Word or XML, and offers unlimited as well as private search. The feature list is extensive and includes monitoring phone calls and e-mail activity. dna13 is compatible with Microsoft Outlook and includes access to a media database and directory. This enterprise-class, scalable solution is another option Canadian enterprises may want to look into, according to Napier.
Based in Austin, Tex., Socialware Inc. bills itself as “the industry’s first social middleware platform.” Socialware Sync is a scalable, SaaS-based Web application that archives social networking activities – such as posts, comments and friends – across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Socialware Compass helps enterprises implement and manage corporate social media policies. This SaaS-based Web app manages employee access to social networking sites, scans and captures posts the violate company policy, analyzes social networking usage, archives employee activities and includes searching capabilities.
Info-Tech Research Group considers Socialware an exemplary vendor in the category. Social Ware “is focusing heavily on the management aspect to give administrators a central point to configure privacy settings,” said Hickernell. The focus on reporting and archiving, which provides an auditable trail of activities, is important in a compliance-oriented market, he said.
San Francisco, Calif.-based InsideView Inc. is one example of a third party social channel aggregator and/or manager that specializes, which may be more useful for the B2B market than generic tools, according to Hickernell. “They do the management and aggregation, but it’s all from a CRM or sales perspective,” he said. The company, listed in Info-Tech’s report, targets sales and accounts managers. Its flagship product, SalesView, is an on-demand Sales intelligence application.
Also listed in Info-Tech’s report, Visible Technologies Inc. offers three products that run on the company’s proprietary truCast platform: the truPulse on-demand Web monitoring application; truVoice for enterprise monitoring, analysis and participation; and truInsight, a set of professional services and reports for tracking and measuring. Based in Bellevue, Wash., Visible Technologies has received a “Gartner Cool Vendor” award.
Fredericton-based Radian6 Technologies Inc. integrates with Salesforce.com and offers two products: the Radian6 Dashboard and Radian6 Engagement Console. The company’s target market ranges from small startups to large enterprises. According to the company’s FAQs, some differentiators are its scope of coverage, ease of use, comprehensive analytics that offers multiple ways to drill down into data, workflow capabilities and good customer support.
The Radian6 Dashboard is a Web-based monitoring and engagement platform that aggregates and analyzes public data from over 100 million sources. It offers metrics, data filtering and workflow management. The Radian6 Engagement Console, which integrates with the Dashboard, is designed to help enterprises coordinate and scale their social media engagement activities internally across the organization.
Users can route, assign and tag posts, generate reports, schedule alerts and respond to posts within the console to keep track of who is posting what, where and to whom. The console also keeps a record of activities and conversations related to specific posts. Users can publish content from within the platform, which integrates with Twitter and Facebook.
Napier recommends Radian6 as an option for enterprises and pointed out the company’s interest in calculating ROI. “Actually putting a dollar figure (ROI) on social media engagement and investments is another area that these companies are trying to help their customers with since they want to understand the return of their investment in social media,” she said.
SWIX, an analytics application from Ottawa-based SWIX Inc., monitors multiple social media accounts from over 20 services, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Features include a customizable dashboard, campaign tracking and customized reports. Napier recommends SWIX as one Canadian company doing some “interesting things” in the space.
The HootSuite application can also be utilized by enterprises, as it allows multiple people to manage a central company presence across multiple channels, said Hickernell. This aggregator from Vancouver-based HootSuite Media Inc. supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and WordPress. Some features include pre-scheduling Tweets, uploading files into messages, customizing URLs for tracking, assigning tasks, creating reports, monitoring by keyword and gathering statistics.
A free e-mail based tool from Nutshell Mail Inc., NutshellMail gathers information on all the activities and messages taking place through your various social networking accounts and delivers it to you in a single e-mail. You can also engage in activities – such as posting a comment on Facebook or sending a DM on Twitter – through the e-mail itself. NutshellMail allows you to select what type of information you want included in the report, how many times a day you want to receive it and what time of day you want it delivered to your inbox. The service currently supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace.