Social Data: Selling the Vision and the Value

Westpac saw a huge opportunity to use social data as a lens into both the business' future and the relationship between brand and customer. But, selling this kind of "out there" vision to stakeholders can be more difficult than executing on it.

In selling our point, we leveraged MicroStrategy's visual capabilities so stakeholders could visually go beyond the conversations happening on the social web and view the sentiments they portrayed.

Leveraging Westpac as a global brand, we captured conversations spanning various languages and regions of the world. We embedded geospatial capabilities via Google Maps enabling stakeholders to see where conversations were happening so they could isolate and measure positive and negative sentiments around the world. This introduced a new "wow factor" into our argument.

The executive team began talking seriously about how we could capitalize on social media and our Social Media Project was launched. The next challenge was to avoid creating yet another data silo, and find a way to engage in social media data governance.

The universal data integration platform we'd already put in place, based on Informatica and Expert Systems, was capable of integrating nearly all data types and formats, and again proved its value here. In leveraging existing data integration assets, we are able to fully integrate data captured from social media with other enterprise data for comprehensive analysis.

Now, our existing data integration environment could bridge our next potential venture: Hadoop for real-time analysis across huge social data sets.

Ongoing big data journey

Westpac's big data journey is just starting. The Insurance Project provided a single view of customers for the business, and it provided the foundation for the Social Media Project.

Now, sentiment analysis can evolve to real-time engagement as we continue striving to create an emotional connection with customers. What we've learned thus far is that we can never think too big or too creatively about big data when it comes to fortifying brand experience and fashioning an agile, customer-centric enterprise.

About the Author

Torrance Mayberry is senior systems manager with financial institution Westpac Life New Zealand Ltd., based in Wellington, New Zealand.

This article was originally published on 04-18-2012
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