At this week’s SAP Sapphire conference. NetBase will be taking its relationship with the enterprise vendor to the next level. Last December the two paired up to bring NetBase’s social intelligence (SI) to SAP BusinessObjects’ business intelligence (BI).
Coming up now is a complete integration of the NetBase technology into SAP’s Social On Demand customer relationship management (CRM) console. “Having access to social data is becoming critical to every part of the organization,” says NetBase chief marketing officer Lisa Joy Rosner. So, “social media [becomes] just one more data point” for which the enterprise must account.
With the new integration, a retailer could discover not only negative consumer sentiment about a lack of apparel in a certain size at a certain location, for example, but also tie that finding into other enterprise actions, such as pulling up past customer history in CRM records to help determine how to address the issue. Perhaps the retailer might offer to overnight the item to a particularly loyal customer, for instance.
And that’s just for starters. Additional opportunity awaits to use such discoveries of customer sentiments, expressed in social media, to take broader actions. There could, for instance, be an opening to send insights about consistently unmet buyer needs to supply chain systems with an eye to potentially readjusting what inventory is allocated to a certain store or for a certain regional cluster of retail sites.
“SAP’s social enterprise is really about connecting insight,” says Rosner. And as enterprises move to creating more interconnections across their core systems, another interesting event is taking place, too. IT shops, many of which have been left out of the social media intelligence game as marketing and public relations teams have taken ownership, may find they’re again relevant to the discussion.
Social intelligence has been “divorced from IT, but when it is starting to touch the CRM system, IT is going to care,” Rosner believes. “When it starts to touch things like legal and regulatory affairs, IT cares about that. And when it turns into a data point in your decision support, IT cares about that.” Now, what she terms the “single source of social media truth” becomes a necessity to avoid having regulatory affairs and call center and product people making decisions off of different data sets and accuracy measures. “When you make a single source of social media truth decision, that has to be wrapped into what other systems are running your business,” she adds.
Plus, CMOs increasingly want IT’s help, she believes. “They want help in scoping this out, so I think this is a turning point year.” IT’s inherent skepticism about trying to bring structure to unstructured content, she says, is a plus for Netbase. “They will be much more demanding, so I’m really excited we built the platform we built,” she says, noting that SAP had a 17-step tech approval process as part of entering into a relationship with it. That took into account the NetBase API to support integration, its high-precision natural language processing, and a lot of other geekier stuff around things such as its disambiguation capabilities.
As its open APIs and the SAP deals – and others – show, part of NetBase’s strategy has been positioning its technology as more of a platform than a standalone system. It’s also now focusing on use-case based scenarios, with its Insight Composer for creating any kind of dashboard users want, as well as best practice templates for those who would prefer easier, pre-configured set-ups for things like issues tracking or competitive analysis.