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Enterprise Social Network Adds Analytics

Socialcast is taking the wraps off a new suite of analytics for its enterprise microblogging service, designed to give executives and analysts greater insight into how the system is being used and who the most frequent users are.

The Social Business Intelligence (SBI) suite is a proprietary suite of analytics that Socialcast said can provide insight into real-time microblogging activity as well as informal social activity.

"As more information is exchanged along the social graph in the enterprise, it's becoming more important to learn how to leverage that and figure out who are the brokers and connectors inside a company," Socialcast founder and CEO Tim Young told InternetNews.com. "Having these tools enables executives to derive a better sense of the business value the platform provides."

While microblogging services like Twitter and other social networks like Facebook and YouTube have attracted hundreds of millions of users, services specific to the enterprise have grown more slowly. Still, Young claimed some analysts estimate as many as 100,000 organizations use such tools from companies like Socialcast, Socialtext and others. "These services are gaining a fair amount of traction in the enterprise," he said.

The value of lurkers

The Socialcast service already includes a basic analytics dashboard, but SBI goes into much greater depth, even aiming to measure the value of "lurkers" who don't often actively participate in the social network activities like commenting, questioning or exchanging ideas.

"On the external Web, we don't pay a lot to lurkers, but they are actually a valuable type of user," said Young.

SBI measures things like how many times users access the Socialcast system, join a group and how often they access it from a mobile device as well as any comments they may make.

"The metrics may show only ten people participating in a group, but there could be 80 others watching what goes on and getting value out of it. You might have a lot of salespeople who don't have time to comment, but these lurkers are actively engaged in tracking the conversations," said Young.

He also noted that analytics can help the active participants better understand that contributions are valued. "If they don't understand that, they're participation is more likely to drop off," he said.

Who is most active?

SBI also measures interactivity patterns between users and moments of transition from passive to active usage. The value here is that companies will be able to better identify people and topics that invite conversation.

The system lets you break out things like all the messages per user in the last 90 days or a pie chart showing who the most active participants are.

Various graphs also display the most active messages based on such criteria as user interaction, popular posting times and dates. One graph represents topics as bubbles that grow or shrink depending on how active user activity in those groups is.

At $1,500 per seat, SBI isn't cheap. Young said he expects companies to buy one to a few licenses that would be useful to executives, administrators and HR departments. "It's very valuable for companies with 100 to 200 employees or more, particularly with multiple geographies," he said.

"What we're launching is pretty unique. It's the tip of the spear and I think there will be others in the next 18 months."