The Social Side of #IBSummit – Visualizing the Digital Conversation

Dan Grady's picture
 By | June 17, 2014
in WebFOCUS, Marketing, Advanced Visualization, Analytic Dashboards, Big Data, Sentiment Analysis, Summit
June 17, 2014

Social Analytics dashboard breaks down the buzz at Information Builders' annual Summit user conference.

Every year I look forward to Information Builders’ Summit. It’s a chance to see old friends, network and make new connections, find solutions to problems, and discuss new ideas. The energy and passion of this “post-industrial campfire”, as guest speaker Thornton May described it, bonded the 1,300+ Summit attendees together into a dynamic, creative community.

When I first started attending Summit ten years ago, this concentrated collection of people discussing business intelligence, integration, and data integrity was rare. But with the advent of social media you can simply stick a “hashtag” on a topic, throw out a tweet or a post on LinkedIn, and start a targeted conversation of your own year-round (minus the “campfire” of course). Like-minded people can easily connect and share a dialogue around any topic, from #bacon (my personal favorite) to #socialanalytics (a close second).

This year we took the Summit conversation digital by using the hashtag #IBSummit on Twitter.  Using the social media analytics functionality available in WebFOCUS, I decided to not only take part in the online discussion, but analyze it as well.

Here are some of the results of that analysis, based on the 5 days Summit – June 9 - 13:

  • 182 individuals took part in the conversation
  • Those 182 individuals created 1141 tweets
  • Those 1,141 tweets had the potential to reach 4,668,454 other individuals.  We calculate that number by adding up each of the tweeter’s followers. 
  • Using the word frequency capabilities of the platform, which counts how often terms are mentioned in those 1,141 tweets, we see that “Analytics”, “Sessions”, and “Gerry” were the most popular topics.  I don’t think there are too many surprises there.
  • If we focus in on the busiest day, we count 600 tweets to coincide with Tuesday’s keynote, and we find the conversation to be focused again on “Analytics” and “Gerry Cohen.” We also see a newcomer “InfoDiscovery”, largely driven by the announcement of WebFOCUS InfoDiscovery, a new web-based data discovery tool that delivers on the promise of “self-service BI for everyone”.
  • Outside of Information Builders’ staff, the biggest contributors to the conversation were our friends in the analyst community.  Here are their tweet stats and Twitter handles.  I highly recommend you follow them if you aren’t already.
    • Mark Smith, Ventana Research – 77 tweets – follow @marksmithvr
    • Cindi Howson, BIScorecard – 38 tweets – follow  @BIScorecard
    • Tony Cosentino, Ventana Research – 28 tweets – follow @TonyCosentinoVR
    • Boris Evelson, Forrester Research – 18 tweets – follow @bevelson
    • Lyndsay Wise, Wise Analytics – 13 tweets – follow @wiseanalytics

When I wasn’t following the analysts’ Twitter conversations, I was tweeting insights from their presentations. Boris Evelson delivered some thoughts on the importance of agility in the “Age of the Customer”.  Mark Smith and Tony Cosentino, tag-teamed a session entitled “The Truth on Discovery & Analytics”. Cindi Howson delivered a session on adoption rates and usage of Business Intelligence in the enterprise.

Outside of the analyst sessions, the majority of my time at Summit was spent having “real-life” conversations with customers about how to better analyze and understand the “digital conversations” that are taking place about their brands on social media, as well the other feedback they are receiving across multiple channels.

The demand to access and analyze unstructured data is becoming more and more important to organizations – the way we analyzed Twitter for this blog post is a perfect example).  There are a number of different ways to uncover insights in these conversations.  You can use Sentiment or Word Frequency analysis, and many organizations are now discovering the power of Enterprise Search. WebFOCUS Magnify allows you to create search-based applications that bring together the analytics power of BI with the simplicity of a “Google-like” search interface. This is an excellent way to drive more value out an organization’s unstructured or textual data.

Information Builders’ Summit User Conference is about many things, but the heart of it is people having conversations, solving problems, and generating ideas. Summit is just one example of the conversations happening in our digital and social world. The number of people and conversations keep expanding exponentially. It doesn’t matter if those conversations take place on social media, an email exchange with a client service representative, or a chat session with someone online.  You still need to figure out how to capture, analyze and understand them.