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SAP Makes Social Analysis Play with NetBase Agreement

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Posted December 12, 2011 By Ann All     Feedback

SAP is selling NetBase’s social media analytics software and examining opportunities to integrate it with SAP applications, including CRM, business intelligence and ERP solutions.

With both Oracle and Salesforce.com making moves into social media analytics with recent acquisitions, it’s not surprising to see SAP make a move of its own. The ERP and CRM giant today announced it will resell solutions from NetBase, a company that sells social media insight and analysis solutions developed in partnerships with top consumer goods companies including Coca-Cola and Kraft.

According to the NetBase website, its clients include J. D. Power & Associates, the Wall Street Journal, Honda and Tupperware.

The product, called SAP Social Media Analytics, will improve companies’ decision-making capabilities by helping them monitor and understand market reaction to new product launches; quantify market perceptions about products, services and companies; identify strengths and weaknesses in competing products; track the success of marketing campaigns; and find insights and trends in consumer preferences.

Denis Descause, SAP’s Global Business Development lead, Ecosystem and Channels, touched upon some of the key strengths of SAP Social Media Analytics in a blog post. In particular, he mentioned a NetBase social intelligence warehouse called ConsumerBase that contains more than a year’s worth of normalized data. Thanks to ConsumerBase, SAP Social Media Analytics customers won’t need to spend months gathering their data and building their own data warehouses, Descause said.

The cloud-based solution can process more than 95 million social media posts per day and uses an advanced natural language processing (NLP) engine to read and categorize posts according to consumer opinions, emotions and behaviors. Unlike some social media analysis tools that require users to specify their subject and create linguistic rules before they can begin collecting and analyzing data, Social Media Analytics users can search ConsumerBase directly and conduct on-the-fly analysis on any subject, applying multiple filters based on time, demographics or insight types.

SAP is selling SAP Social Media Analytics as a solution extension product, which means it has vetted the software to determine it meets SAP quality and security standards and can be integrated with enterprise applications from SAP and other companies, Descause said.

Writing in a blog post, NetBase CMO Lisa Joy Rosner said social media analytics makes companies more responsive to customer needs by providing a more accurate picture of consumer desires. “Companies getting ahead now are ones where information and insight often flow from the outside in. Instead of the traditional business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) models, consumers are now in charge, and smart businesses have already started to run on a customer- to-business model, or C2B,” she wrote.

Like Descause, Rosner stressed the importance of integrating social data with data residing in existing enterprise systems. The goal is for companies to combine historical data in their internal business intelligence systems with real-time social media data.

In her post, she mentioned the example of a NetBase customer that makes Greek yogurt and wanted to determine its top-selling flavor. Data in its business intelligence system pointed to vanilla. In analyzing social media data on its brand, however, the NetBase customer found consumers buzzing more about pineapple.

After conducting further research on social media content, the company discovered consumers were buying pineapple yogurt at stores and going back for more but finding shelves empty because the flavor was in limited production. Consumers would buy vanilla instead, which was reflected in the sales figures.

As Rosner wrote: “If the company had looked only at its historical data, it would have concluded that vanilla was the favorite flavor and would have missed the opportunity to charge a premium price and/or sell much greater quantities of the pineapple.”

SAP is examining its product roadmaps to identify opportunities for integrating social media analytics with its applications, including CRM, business intelligence, governance/risk/compliance and ERP solutions, said Blair Wheadon, SAP’s director, Business Analytics Solution Management.

“SAP is evaluating opportunities to augment all of our on-premise and on-demand solutions with social media analytics where it makes sense,” he said, noting SAP has already identified more than a dozen use cases and 17 separate solutions in which products could benefit from integration with social media analytics.

Salesforce.com this month launched the Radian6 Marketing Cloud, which leverages social monitoring, engagement and workflow tools it gained with its purchase of Radian6 earlier this year.

Oracle in October announced it would purchase purchase RightNow Technologies and add its social engagement tools to its new Public Cloud offering.

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