A Fertile Field For Semantic Tech: Social CRM

Image Courtesy; Flickr/Sean MacEntee


When it comes to social CRM, it’s a world of semantics, and text and sentiment analytics.

Recently Gartner released its Magic Quadrant report on the space, and a reading of it makes it pretty clear that the category, which the research group defines as “a business strategy that generates opportunities for sales, marketing and customer service, while also benefiting online communities,” demands such intelligence.

Among the Leaders quadrant, for example, is Jive, which last year bought Proximal Labs, adding to its all-around social business platform one that uses semantic analytics, machine learning, and web-scale data mining to create social engagement. Though Jive is aiming broader than CRM alone, Gartner notes the vendor is already getting value from its Proximal buy with Jive Find (social-graph-filtered search results) and through Jive Anywhere, for pulling relevant people, conversations and content from Web-based applications or Web pages that are filtered via social graph analysis so that it is contextual to what the user is doing. “For example,” the report notes, “if you are viewing a customer opportunity in salesforce.com, then it will pull information relevant to that opportunity if it exists in Jive.”  More advanced uses for its adaptive intelligence, the research firm says, are on the roadmap.

Lithium, with its text and sentiment analytics capabilities, also tracks in the Leaders space. And, perhaps almost inevitably, given that it is a CRM-related Magic Quadrant, salesforce.com is in the Leaders sector, too. Salesforce’s acquisition of Radian6 delivers the platform social analytics to help with things like funnel the Twitter firehose; Radian6 Insights also relies on partnerships with vendors such as Klout, Clarabridge, OpenAmplify, PeekAnalytics, and OpenCalais to hone in on conversations about a user’s brand, competitors and industry. That said, Gartner seems to be looking for more from Salesforce.com itself, to “add more-advanced forms of social analytics that Radian6 is missing. At the moment, the vendor relies on an array of partners to fill this gap.”

The Magic Quadrant also shows two players in its visionaries section, Attensity and Telligent. Attensity, the report notes, is outpacing competitors in the area of analytics, being “one of the strongest social analytics players in the social CRM Magic Quadrant with proven abilities in text analytics, NLP, semantic understanding, pattern recognition, and data filtering and cleansing. Attensity's semantic understanding spans 32 languages.” The software, which Gartner says is competing with solutions like Radianc6, can integrate with CRM systems, among them salesforce, SAP, Microsoft CRM, and so on.

Of the two parties in the Challengers group, one of them being Oracle, product reviews social CRM vendor Bazaarvoice also is credited with gaining “more advanced social analytics capability through text mining and NLP, and is showing the ability to make some ‘guided procedures’ around what to do with the data it is monitoring.”

Within the niche players category, other solutions are also highlighted for their takes on semantic technology – or lack of it. Artesian Solutions, for instance, is called out for strengths that include “building industry-specific taxonomies for social monitoring and analytics that are then tailored to a customer's specific industry requirements, and then tailored further by providing text mining, natural language processing (NLP) and ranking heuristics to individual salespeople for better relevance and higher adoption.” QuestBack, on the other hand, is credited with many strengths around its personalized social engagement strategy, but cautioned about because “the current solution lacks its own advanced social analytics capabilities, such as sentiment analysis (beyond keywords), predictive/trending analysis and text mining.”