By Alistair Rennie
Each day, Twitter users press the button on about 500 million Tweets. That tsunami of 140-character messages spans the range of human interests and activities—from raves about recent purchases to exhortations to rally behind social causes.
Personally, I use Twitter as a sort of market-intelligence radar. I follow very smart people to see what they’re reading and thinking.
Now, for the first time, business leaders will be able to tap into the Twitter stream in powerful new ways to harvest insights that help them understand customer sentiment more deeply, develop hit products and services, and anticipate sudden shifts in moods and markets.
Many people recognize the importance of data—the combination of information contained in structured databases with unstructured data gathered from Web sites, sensing devices, and social media feeds. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty calls this the new natural resource, comparable in impact to coal or oil or iron ore. Until now, however, there was a troublesome gap between social data and enterprise IT systems. We’re bridging that gap–and bringing all of those insights into the enterprise.
For starters, IBM will offer Twitter data as part of select cloud-based services, including IBM Watson Analytics, a new cognitive computing service that delivers predictive analytics and data visualization to the palm of your hand.
Twitter and IBM will collaborate to develop a set of enterprise applications designed to improve business decisions across industries and professions. The first target will be applications and services for sales, marketing and customer service.
In addition, the two companies will develop a portfolio of solutions for specific industries, including banking, consumer products, transportation and retail. These solutions will be taken to market by tens of thousands of IBM business consultants and analytics experts.
A few months ago, IBM announced a sweeping alliance with Apple to jointly develop a new generation of mobile enterprise apps for the iPhone. We’re combining Apple’s expertise for user-centric design and consumer experience with IBM’s deep knowledge of business and broad portfolio of technology solutions for the enterprise.
Now, once again, two giants of their industries are combining forces, Twitter for consumers and IBM for the enterprise, to bring business leaders amazing new capabilities they didn’t have before.
I mentioned earlier that I use Twitter to help spot market trends. Today, it’s a manual process. I scan through the latest Tweets of the people I follow. But, thanks to this alliance I look forward to being able to spot trends on a mass, global scale—and with a minimum of effort. The new natural resource of social data is at last coming to the enterprise in way that could help transform how business is done.