Social data analytics platform DataSift is making a bid to convince companies that internal social networks are a valuable source of insight.
The three-year-old firm, founded by Twitter "Retweet" button inventor Nick Halstead, secured $42m in venture capitalist funding last week. This followed Apple's buyout of Topsy earlier in December and confirmed the tech world's enthusiasm for big data platforms focusing on social media.
With the money in the bank, the company has launched its latest platform expansion. Called Vedo, the new tool aims to automate the recognition of certain types of content posted on public and private social networks. Speaking to V3, Halstead, who is also the firm's CTO, explained that a year-long development period on the platform had allowed the firm to create a machine learning platform that can be customised by developers working on the DataSift platform.
Connected to the so-called "fire hoses" of content created by sites such as Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress, as well as working with enterprise social tool Yammer, DataSift handles around two billion objects per day, and lets clients tap into the data using their own custom terms to find out public sentiment and discussions on any topic.
The use case for the marketing and customer service arms of companies is clear – tapping into vast amounts of social data is a powerful tool for firms looking to understand how the public feel about a specific company, person or topic.
However, Halstead explained that companies looking to understand the way their staff interact will also find a justification for signing up.
"There's a number of very big companies who deploy private forums and private instant messaging networks throughout their enterprise," he said. "We're already working with a number of them to provide the same understanding to their private [social] data as well as their public data."
"The core use cases include understanding what the top products being discussed within the company are. You can find out if there's a particular trend around a particular subject, so you can spot any issues around the company.
"You can also import your CRM [customer relationship management] data within your sales discussion to try and understand which customers are getting the most discussion, and if there are subjects which could be a problem."
He added that the tool is intended for understanding a company on a macro level, rather than finding out what particular staff are saying. Halstead said the only enterprise network DataSift has announced compatibility for is Yammer, but left the door open for more in future.
Companies large and small are all facing a big data challenge; with so much valuable data to analyse, many have failed to embrace it fully, with costs and the technical and skills challenge proving to great for many. A report in November found that almost no UK SMEs were making use of big data analytics, showing the industry that there is a market ripe for the plucking if the price is right.
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