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Big Data Analytics – 5 ideas to consider

As someone who drives complex ideas through and around dozens of roadblocks, I am often reminded that one of the best ways to help people is simply to highlight the right resources that will eventually transform into knowledge and wisdom.

In one of the most complex areas of my endeavors is the current ‘seizure’ mentality that is stopping the right technology and trends at the appropriate levels. This is especially true of the Big Data conversation that is challenging all levels of business.

Ironically the small and mid-sized business teams are having an easy time gaining traction in understanding the issues that affect their business. The small and medium businesses bring another problem: not having enough Big Data to play with and the budget to bring the expertise to make the initial change.

So the key to think about:

Enterprise Player = focus on tactical and economy of scale.

Small and Mid-sized Business = focus on wisdom of larger data providers.

If you are in an organization that is currently considering a Big Data initiative, please  take a moment to reach this article by John Weathington over at TechRepublic = To get Big Data buy-in, IT should let go of proof of concept …

Once you have had a chance to read it, come back and explore some of these other Big Data articles with the mindset of initiating the process with the right team and executive support in place. The simple reality is that Big Data isn’t an IT issue; it is a game changing opportunity for executive leadership and owners who choose to be nimble.

— ADDITIONAL READING —

Dynamic data analysis the future of big data: Brainmates – ZDNet

Big data isn’t all about beefing up marketing strategies for organisations, according to founder of the product management …

“As a predictive tool, big data can deliver better products, but to effectively achieve this, product managers should use big data to test the questions that have previously been impossible to answer until after the product has gone to market,” he said. “Too often, we are led by what we think we can do and are trapped on those rails, whereas if we imagined the impossible, pretty soon we will find it has already been done elsewhere.”

Can Big Data make government cheaper? – ZDNet (blog)

The movie “Moneyball” celebrated a “Big Data” approach to maximizing returns from investments. Can Big Data do the same for government?…

“Today’s young people – hammered by the Great Recession, the loss of middle class jobs and gridlock in Washington – may take a more pragmatic approach. Stress – like the Great Depression and WWII – seems to focus Americans on solutions rather than ideology.”

Putting a Dollar Value on Big Data Insights – Wired

The Big Data phenomenon produces some mind-boggling statistics, such as the fact that the volume of global data produced doubles every two years. At the University of California at Berkeley, researchers …

” To cite just one example, retail giant Walmart was able to use Big Data analysis to drive a 10%-15% increase in completed online sales for $1 billion in incremental revenue, which is a well-planned ROI using data.”

5 Big Data Projects That Could Impact Your Life – Mashable

GCN argues that the first “big data” software was IBM’s DB2, a database management system it released back in 1983. What’s new is the ability to compile and process everything at such large scale …

“It’s a swanky term for a not-so-sexy concept: the idea that mass amounts of information can be analyzed to find hidden patterns, buried beneath terabytes of numbers, in Facebook posts,Google searches and Amazon purchases. These patterns can predict social trends and, in some cases, reengineer the way we live.”

 

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Corporate Social Media Training Tools

Here is a method of having an actionable conversation about corporate social media training within your organization and how you can develop a better understanding of cross-departmental benefits.

The Business Case

One of the biggest problems with corporate social media is that departmental teams fail to think outside the project box they are looking at.

This often means that they are trying to force a square cog (social media)  into a round hole (the immediate project requirements.)

The core issue with this is that we are not dealing with square cogs and round holes.

We are dealing with a conversation about the way dozens of different pieces plug into a limitless number of business scenarios.
The simple reality is that most people don’t have a deep understanding of available solutions and force the incorrect assumptions into place.

While we want to categorize social media into something we can either adopt or dismiss, we need to think about how the term ‘social media’ is has been used to improperly label innovation within the corporate structure. Most of us like to think of social media as a ‘digital marketing’ channel and as a ‘buzz’ phrase connecting to PR and word-of-mouth. In many cases  we compound the issue by grouping it with web design, graphic arts, and online advertising.

Social media is the  generalized term for ‘all things belonging to the web’ ….

We need to first agree on what social media is and is not.

We need a process for clarity…

What matters is that you can sit down with a project team and agree what is and is not in the scope of your project.

The Visual Solution

Imagine your team has fifty different components it needs to consider for you net project. These components can range from business process points including customer service and product design, to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Each one of these components is going to be placed into a circle on a basic diagram.

The sample below demonstrates 50+ items that could go into a conversation about launching a new product.

corporate social media training

 

The idea behind the process is fairly simple: while the sample has 50+ components we could be dealing with anywhere from two to a hundred items.

Identifying Categories

While we may have brainstormed 50+ items for our project team, we can easily group together like-minded items that belong to the same general niche within the project.

By taking the above items I’ve broken out some groupings for a conversation about my next social project.

  • Social Media Content Types
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Search Engines
  • Location Based Elements
  • Technology / IT issues
  • Business Unit Considerations
  • Business Validation 
  • Market Intelligence

 corporate social business training

What Social Media Is and Is Not

One of the most important steps of having this information on one sheet of paper is to identify what is and is not included in the current business conversation. It is critical to purposely remove an item from the conversation instead of assuming it is not included.

  • Removing it means everyone knows about it.
  • Assuming it means someone may not know it even exists.

Simply take your conversation map out and cross off any topics that are not involved in the current project scope. Before any item is removed from the conversation it should be confirmed that everyone in the decision making team actually knows what it is!

corporate social business training

Exercise #1 – Discovering Areas of Impact

Once you have 3-4 categories established, print out a few copies of the circles on paper and cut them apart.

During your group conversation you should practice moving through several areas of forced ideation:

  • randomly pull three to five circles and detail how the five elements interact.
  • take the same three to five circles and detail best case scenario and worse case scenario
  • take three to five circles and detail employee, management, and executive perspective
  • take three to five circles and detail internal (sales, marketing, HR) vs external (customer, prospect, market) perspective

Exercise #2 – Identifying Areas of Education

Pull out a pen and rate each circle from 1 to 5 based upon the expertise and understanding of the people within the decision making conversation.

  1. limited knowledge, no practical hands-on experience
  2. casual understanding, basic understanding
  3. recurring monthly experience, familiarity with daily usage
  4. can recite best practices to others, strong understanding of topic
  5. expert understanding, forward looking perspective, can relate topic to business impacts

During the rating process you should maintain a heavy bias towards any decision that is made using a sphere of expertise that uses a 1,2, or 3 rating.  A rating of 1 to 3 means that your group has a restricted view of the topics being affected and you are making a blind decision about the risks, benefits, and revenue impacts.

On-going Tests

While the two sample exercises above only introduce some of the basic areas of conversation you need to engage in, the basic framework above helps to identify your strengths and weaknesses concerning digital projects.

By understanding what topics overlap and what your core knowledge is surrounding those elements you can seek out and recruit subject matter experts to assist in making the right decisions.

When you develop you understanding of critical elements your understanding of social media and new technology being adopted into your business will quickly touch on hundreds of areas that have substantial business impacts. This will highlight where your corporate social media training initiatives can help reach tactical battles and strategic initiatives.