SAS and Socialytics

May 17, 2010
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SAS, a leader in business analytics, recently launched a new offering targeted around gaining business insight into the social web. Socialytics (which I explain in more detail here), is gaining momentum with several new or enhanced offerings available recently. I’m also getting a lot of questions from clients on the topic as they start to realize that creating and collecting social data is only a part of the picture. In a recent conversation with John Bastone from SAS I had the chance to explore their offering in greater detail.

Before I dive into the SAS solution, let me lay out what I think the key components are in a world class socialytics offering:

  • Ability to aggregate (listen to) social data from user selectable sources, both public and private web, internal and external to the business
  • Capability to apply natural language processing (NLP) and text analytics across multiple languages
  • Capability to identify and monitor influencers
  • Capability to monitor brand sentiment across a broad set of channels
  • Backend integration (API’s) to enterprise systems
  • Ability to perform analysis on the intersection of existing corporate data and social data


201005161400.jpg SAS, a leader in business analytics, recently launched a new offering targeted around gaining business insight into the social web. Socialytics (which I explain in more detail here), is gaining momentum with several new or enhanced offerings available recently. I’m also getting a lot of questions from clients on the topic as they start to realize that creating and collecting social data is only a part of the picture. In a recent conversation with John Bastone from SAS I had the chance to explore their offering in greater detail.

Before I dive into the SAS solution, let me lay out what I think the key components are in a world class socialytics offering:

  • Ability to aggregate (listen to) social data from user selectable sources, both public and private web, internal and external to the business
  • Capability to apply natural language processing (NLP) and text analytics across multiple languages
  • Capability to identify and monitor influencers
  • Capability to monitor brand sentiment across a broad set of channels
  • Backend integration (API’s) to enterprise systems
  • Ability to perform analysis on the intersection of existing corporate data and social data
  • “Out of the box” standard dashboards and metrics
  • Support and service offerings to help vendor clients customize the offering / metrics to specific business needs

Now let’s look at SAS and its new offering, what they call social media analytics. The stated design goal for the SAS solution was to integrate, analyze and enable organizations to make business decisions on intelligence produced from online conversations (professional and consumer generated). The product is delivered in a SaaS model. SAS designed the system to serve as a continuous listening post to the social web, collecting and archiving all targeted (as defined by the customer) social media. The solution can predict future conversations based on analysis of historical data and provide user defined flexible sentiment analysis. From the social information defined by the solution users can take action on predefined routings and can automate certain actions based on defined workflows. Here’s a marchitecture slide that shows the new system:

201005161434.jpg

SAS identifies four basic use cases for the socialytics platform:

1. Brand and market tracking

2. Customer feedback management

3. PR and reputation tracking

4. Online media analysis

In addition to the product SAS is providing a wide range of consulting services to assist clients in setting up the system to their specific requirements. I think this is a critical piece of the socialytics offering for any vendor and I applaud SAS for the completeness of their solution. Every client will have specific requirements that cannot be easily packaged and will need this type of consulting. In addition the wide range of inputs, both social and enterprise data is very broad and that variability alone will require quite a bit of planning. Socialytics is an emerging market and has the potential to provide a great deal of value to businesses. These solutions will be of particular interest to companies with high profile brands, high consumer engagement brands, strong internet marketing programs, and industries in highly competitive, global verticals.