200909141009.jpg I was having a chat last Friday with my friend and fellow blogger Michael Krigsman about crowdsourcing and wisdom of crowds and our conversation turned to predictive capabilities and the idea that in the near future businesses will start to use social data to predict behavior. That conversation sparked some more thought about the whole concept of predictive software (versus reactive software).

Earlier this Summer I participated with a group of analysts and CRM experts in an exercise with CRM Magazine and DestinationCRM to look at the next 5 years of evolution of social CRM in the CRM Maturity Model. In looking at the future of sales and marketing for example, I can clearly see the promise of getting to a place where a business had created such a close relationship with its customers that it could "know" what the customer was going to want in the future and how they would want to be marketed to (the when, where and how concept that I've used in talking about social customer support works the same in this model too).

Forgetting for a minute the slightly uneasy feeling that might conjure up for you, think of the value and experience of having your needs and desires met seemingly as you think of them. OK, we're not quite to that point in our use of social software and social concepts, but we are moving in that direction.

I've talked about the progression of the development of application capabilities before, that is, the progression from transaction (data creation) to analytics (information creation) to automation of events based on the information created. The automation is based on a software concept called event driven architecture. I suggest that with social software we have another level of progression beyond event-driven architecture to prediction-driven architecture (and yes, I just made that up; I doubt we need another meaning for PDA at this point, but you get the idea). Predictive capabilities could be implemented for sales, marketing, customer support/service, product marketing / strategy, even internally for HR (how about predicting an employees true motivators and build rewards and perks to meet those desires).

We're just now seeing the movement of social concepts into enterprise software with the merging of social platforms with enterprise platforms (like the RightNow HiveLive acquisition I wrote about recently). In discussion with the RightNow / HiveLive team last Friday I asked about their take on social analytics and where they are looking next. The response, tie social data to RightNow's already robust artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. That's just a whiteboard discussion today but probably not that far off as they move to quickly integrate the two platforms. We're not there yet by any means but for me, predictive is definitely the new black...