Information Builders, a 38-year-old business intelligence and analytics provider that serves customers like Ford, Mastercard, Lockheed Martin, and Verizon, is setting its sights on the CMO. The New York City-based company yesterday launched its WebFocus Social Media Analytics platform, designed to provide insight into customer sentiment on social networks.
“We were originally very IT-driven but we’re going to hit the CMO as readily as we’ve hit the CIO in the past,” Information Builders president Michael Corcoran told AdExchanger. “We’re branching out because the customer is branching out and there’s a real demand for intelligence around customer interactions.”
Launched at the Gartner Business Intelligence and Analytics Summit in Texas, the Social Media Analytics solution allows users to conduct sentiment analysis on Twitter and Facebook messages and blog posts, track patterns across channels, geographies, customers and other categories, and build interactive reports and dashboards showing data correlations.
Approximately 40 clients are experimenting with the platform, according to Corcoran. Information Builders, which has approximately $300 million in annual revenue, directly serves 10,000 customers and is an original equipment manufacturer provider for about 50,000 companies.
A latecomer to the social media analytics space, Information Builders faces competition from pure-play solutions like social intelligence provider Netbase and social monitoring tools like Radian6 (bought by Salesforce.com and rolled into its Social Marketing Cloud).
Information Builders says what sets its solution apart from standalone social products and those that were bolted together through acquisitions is its ability to integrate social media data with its enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and other on-premise or cloud-based information resources.
“We’ll take a customer,” Corcoran said, “and show them what’s being said about them by their competitor and if the customer tells us I’ve got something like that already, we say, yes, but can you match that insight with the rest of your information to get the real view of the customer or the interaction, or the success of the product launch and other things that are based on internal data?”
Diverse data adds “complexity and opportunities across domains and industries,” and social analytics offers “the opportunity to uncover new patterns across customer preferences and channels that were previously inaccessible” noted Gartner analyst Rita Sallam at a conference session.
Information Builders plans to add data visualization options as well, making it “naturally intuitive,” Corcoran said.
From a marketing perspective, companies could use social data that is easily understood, “not just to make decisions, but as a customer-facing tool,” he added. “I think there’s a big opportunity there for marketers to use their social data to influence customers and prospective customers.”