Making Sense of Social Data: Digital Exhaust and the Next Frontier in Social Data Analytics

In the digital world, data are everywhere. We create them constantly, often without our knowledge or permission, and with the bytes we leave behind, we leak information about our actions, whereabouts and characteristics.

This revolution in sensemaking—in deriving value from data—is having a profound and disruptive effect on everything from supply chains to corporate strategy. In particular, it is generally forcing executives to rethink how they understand, reach and even influence their customers. Simply put, with so much data available, especially on social networks, the ability to know the people you sell to and to monetize that knowledge has never been greater.

That said, most companies are only beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible with social data. Many are still operating in the pre-social media age, simply trying to make sense of the data they have—rather than the variety of sources that exist. But even those that are best-of-breed have only started to tap into the true potential of this information: developing an intimate and real-time knowledge of customers’ relationships and behavior.

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