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Salesforce Radian6 enhances Insights for Big Data

Salesforce Radian6, a provider of cloud-based CRM and social media measurement solutions, announced July 17  enhancements to its Insights solution stack designed to structure and analyze Big Data in the social media space, says Rob Begg, the company’s VP of marketing.

“In the six years social has been going on, it’s been an evolution,” Begg says.

Initially, brands simply needed to find and measure social media content. The second phase, as Begg describes it, required brands to add workflow and customer engagement practices so they could interact with customers through social media. The enhancements to the Insights suite were designed to accommodate the third phase of consumer-brand engagement in social media: the need for companies to find relevant content in large datasets.  

In identifying actionable content, enterprises can better distribute the data to departments where the information is most needed. This is becoming an increasing need, Begg says, as social media breaks out of PR department—which typically were the first social media adapters within an enterprise—and begins to influence the agendas and policies of a wider array of internal departments such as marketing, customer service, brand management, and research and development.

Insights retains core features such as sentiment analysis, natural language processing, influence assessment, and trends and issues identification. “We’ve always had sentiment analysis and scoring, but more in-depth things like demographics are new,” Begg says. Brands can now access “self-reported” features on social media sites, such as a user’s age, gender, education, and interests.

Additionally, the Insights enhancements optimize existing features by allowing information to be gathered and assessed in real-time.

Insights is purchased à la carte, with certain base features after which enterprise customers select which applications they want in their suite.

Despite the growing maturation of enterprise use of social media, Begg identifies some traditional painpoints that continue to exist. “The first is tying it back to metrics and outcome,” Begg says. “The concept of attribution and making sure [social media communications are] tied to results.” Data silos also remain a problem within enterprises, however Begg believes social media is not as susceptible to this problem “as there are no legacy systems where information is kept.”

Finally, despite the fact that enterprises are increasingly buying into social media as a viable communications channel, Begg still finds there are some industries where mindshare is lagging. “Marketers dig it,” he says, “but getting the rest of the enterprise aligned is important.”

Nonetheless, Salesforce has invested heavily in social media solutions. Besides the $256 million acquisition of Radian6 in early 2011, the CRM giant announced in June 2012 it would acquire social commerce startup Buddy Media for $689 million.

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