Social business intelligence comes to forefront

Everywhere I turn I am hearing about growing interest in social business intelligence. This is the result of companies starting to move forward in social maturity. They’ve gone through social media listening and community development, they’ve made the obvious transition to social customer support, and now they are trying to extract actionable business intelligence from that torrent of social exhaust.

This week Unmetric, a player in the burgeoning social business intelligence market niche, has closed a $5.5 million round of investment from JAFCO Asia, a Singapore-based VC firm. In related new, Gigya, a social data analysis company, raised $25 million, with participation of Benchmark Capital, Mayfield Fund, DAG Ventures and Advance Publications.

What’s the status in the enterprise, though? The other day I attended the Dachis Social Business Summit in NYC, and I saw a great presentation (recap here) by┬áRob Silas, who is a senior director at Magnet 360.

One of the points he made in his presentation regards the move toward social business intelligence. He ran a survey in 2012 and again in 2013, asking the respondents how far their social intelligence initiatives had reached.

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What he learned is that 90% of companies were only pulling data — likes, pages clicked, number of tweets — in 2012, with 19% actually connecting to the people behind those social gestures, and a tiny 1% starting to make predictions about what the data and people’s intentions say. But in 2013, 24% had connected to people. But in both years, the potential power of social business intelligence has still only been reached in 1% of the companies.

That’s why we are seeing a surge of investment: the investment is actually a trailing indicator, since the 1% are the innovative companies, and those that get there early are likely to get the gains ahead of their competition. I expect that number to jump up to 3% as the early adopters pile on.