Back in July, when we published Social Data Intelligence, we were curious to discover how organizations would rank themselves using the criteria in our maturity map. How many companies are in the “ad-hoc” stage? How many consider themselves to be “formalized”? Who’s integrating social data with enterprise data? And has anyone reached the nirvana of the “holistic” category?
Several of my colleagues just completed Altimeter Group’s Digital Strategy Survey for Q313, and there are some interesting findings. The one I’d like to speak to today is in reference to social data maturity, because even as a self-reported finding it gives us some insight into organizations’ progress and aspirations when it comes to social data.
As a refresher, here’s the maturity map from Social Data Intelligence:
I do want to emphasize that this is a “no judgment” maturity model: as I’ve said many times, the path to social data maturity is complex and rife with organizational and technical challenges. Each of these stages has value, from organizational learning in the first, to rigor about business outcomes in the second, to a more organization-wide view in the third, to scale in the fourth. They all have value and they all contribute–even if that contribution is hard-won–to organizational transformation around data.
So, now that that’s out of the way, how did our survey respondents stack up?
No big surprises here: the majority of companies we surveyed fall into the “ad-hoc” category, 29 percent into “formalized,” 11 percent into “integrated,” and five percent into “holistic.” To be honest, I want to drill into the self-reporting at the holistic stage, simply because the tools to facilitate scale (the key criterion) are still quite nascent. But that’s less important than the fact that, yes, we’re mostly learning how to do this and operationalize it–from a business, process and technical standpoint.
When I look at the chart above, I see two things coming up fast:
- A wall of blue water. Call it what you will: blue water, green field, but I’m speaking to companies daily–Ekho and Informatica most recently–who are tackling this integration challenge in different ways, seeking to facilitate the integration of social and other enterprise data and, most salient to business people, take a lot of the manual labor and interpretive squish out of the process. From a market perspective, expect more middleware players to articulate how they can become force multipliers in the social and big data universe.
- Social data makes strange bedfellows. I’ve worked in marketing organizations and I’ve worked in IT organizations, and I can tell you this: these communication challenges are nothing new. But now more than ever, IT and marketing need to find a common language to instill technical rigor into business planning, and business context into technology planning. IMO, there is no other option as social data, and other big data types, take up residence in enterprise organizations. We’ve heard a lot about the “consumerization of IT.” It works both ways: technology is driving business strategy too, and it has to be this way because of the complexity of the problems that need to be solved. There is no magic dashboard.
So this is why big data is so–that word again–disruptive. It really is changing organizational processes and decision-making and culture. The challenge, with apologies to Jimmie Dale Gilmore, is to decide whether you’re just the wave, or you’re the water.
Thanks to Jess Groopman, Christine Tran and the Altimeter team for fielding the research for the Digital Buyer Survey.