Social, Real Time, Content Intelligence

November 29, 2009

I had a long talk this morning about finding useful nuggets from the social content streams. The person with whom I spoke was making a case for tools designed for the intelligence community. My phone pal mentioned JackBe.com, Kapow, and Kroll. None of these outfits is a household word. I pointed to services and software available from NetBase, Radian6, and InsideView.

What came out of this conversation were several broad points of agreement:

First, most search and content processing procurement teams have little or no information about these firms. The horizons of most people working information technology and content processing are neither wide nor far.

Second, none of these companies has a chance of generating significant traction with their current marketing programs. Sure, the companies make sales, but these are hard won and usually anchored in some type of relationship or a serendipitous event.

Third, users need the type of information these firms can deliver. Those same users cannot explain what they need, so the procurement teams fall back into a comfortable and safe bed like a “brand name” search vendor or some fuzzy wuzzy one-size-fits-all solution like the wondrous SharePoint.

We also disagreed on four points:

First, I don’t think these specialist tools will find broad audiences. The person with whom I was discussing these social content software vendors believed that one would be a break out company.

Second, I think Google will add social content “findability” a baby step at a time. One day, I will arise from my goose nest and the Google will simply be “there”. The person at the other end of my phone call sees Google’s days as being numbered. Well, maybe.

Third, I think that social content is a more far reaching change than most publishers and analysts realize. My adversary things that social content is going to become just another type of content. It’s not revolutionary; it’s mundane. Well maybe.

Finally, I think that these systems—despite their fancy Dan marketing lingo—offer functions not included in most search and content processing systems. The person disagreeing with me thinks that companies like Autonomy offer substantially similar services.

In short, how many of these vendors’ products do you know? Not many I wager. So what’s wrong with the coverage of search and content processing by the mavens, pundits, and azure chip consultants? Quite a bit because these folks may know less about these vendors’ systems than how to spoof Google or seem quite informed because of their ability to repeat marketing lingo.

Have a knowledge gap? Better fill it.

Stephen Arnold, November 29, 2009

I want to disclose to the National Intelligence Center that no one paid me to comment on these companies. These outfits are not secret but don’t set the barn on fire with their marketing acumen.

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