Category Archives: Social media

Microsoft commits to $26bn LinkedIn purchase in social media play

social mediaMicrosoft has made a play to enter the social market after announcing it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.

The announcement will create one of the largest cloud acquisitions this year, with LinkedIn shares jumping 47% following the news. During the same period Microsoft shares dropped 3%, possibly indicating some scepticism in the market.

“This deal brings together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft in a note to employees. “I have been learning about LinkedIn for some time while also reflecting on how networks can truly differentiate cloud services.”

Microsoft does already play a role within the social media market, but more from the perspective of providing tools for online advertisers and media agencies. Although the LinkedIn purchase is almost 50% above market value, it could be seen as a much safer play than attempting to crack the social market organically. Google and Apple have seemingly learnt this lesson the harder way, launching Google+ and iTunes Ping respectively, neither of which seemed to have gathered much momentum.

Advertising revenues may be attractive to executives at Microsoft, the move could fall into the wider strategy of being the all-encompassing enterprise IT vendor. Research from JPMorgan highlighted Microsoft is valued as the most important vendor in the IT space due to the broad range of offerings. While others specialize in individual areas, Microsoft has created its position as the ‘one-stop-shop’ enterprise IT vendor. The acquisition of the ‘enterprise social media network’ could fill a whole in the portfolio, building on the theme of collaboration.

“We are in pursuit of a common mission centred on empowering people and organizations,” said Nadella in a note to employees. “Along with the new growth in our Office 365 commercial and Dynamics businesses this deal is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes.

“Think about it: How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world. It requires a vibrant network that brings together a professional’s information in LinkedIn’s public network with the information in Office 365 and Dynamics. This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete.”

While the two companies could be seen as complimentary, it would appear a combination of the two would create a total addressable market (TAM) of $315 billion. According to a joint slide-deck shared by the team, LinkedIn has a TAM of $115 billion where as Microsoft can account for $200 billion. The team believe by joining forces and further diversifying the offering, this number can be further increased through differentiated experiences.

LinkedIn is billed as the largest professional social network globally, and has been growing steadily to 433 million members in recent years. The team have introduced a number of new features in recent months which it credits for increased engagement levels as well as membership numbers. Over the last 12 months the team at LinkedIn launched a new version of its mobile app, acquired online learning platform and launched a Recruiter product for its enterprise customers.

The number of social media users worldwide is estimated at 2.22 billion, with Facebook controlling the largest share at 1.59 billion. Judging the market value of social on the whole gives widely varied results, though Facebook did announce revenues for Q1 of $5.4 billion, a 52% year-on-year growth. The company now claims to have 3 million active advertisers on Facebook and over 200,000 on Instagram.

While the news will dominate technology headlines, there will still be some questions surrounding the integration of LinkedIn into the wider Microsoft portfolio. Office was a prominent character in Nadella’s email to employees, though whether this means LinkedIn will be incorporated into Office proposition has not been stated. For some, the role of social in the workplace is still unclear.

Following the completion of the deal which is expected by the close of the year, Jeff Weiner will remain LinkedIn CEO, reporting into Nadella.

Twitter nixes firehose partnership with DataSift

Twitter is consolidating its grip on data analytics and resellers using its data in real-time

Twitter is consolidating its grip on data analytics and resellers using its data in real-time

Twitter has suspended negotiations over the future use of the social media giant’s data with big data analytics provider DataSift, sparking concerns the firm plans to shut out others in the ecosystem of data analytics providers it enables.

In a recent blog post penned by DataSift’s chief exec and founder, Nick Halstead, the company aimed to reaffirm to customers that’s its business model “never relied on access to Twitter data” and that it is extending its reach into “business-owned data.”

But, the company still attacked the social media giant for damaging the ecosystem it enables.

“Our goal has always been to provide a one-stop shop for our customers to access all the types of data from a variety of networks and be able to consume it in the most efficient way. Less noise, more actionable results. This is what truly matters to companies that deal with social data,” Halstead explained.

“The bottom line: Twitter has seriously damaged the ecosystem this week. 80% of our customers use technology that can’t be replaced by Twitter. At the end of the day, Twitter is providing data licensing, not processing data to enable analysis.”

“Twitter also demonstrated that it doesn’t understand the basic rules of this market: social networks make money from engagement and advertising. Revenue from data should be a secondary concern to distribution and it should occur only in a privacy-safe way. Better understanding of their audiences means more engagement and more ad spend from brands. More noise = less ad spend.”

DataSift was one three data resellers that enjoy privileged access to Twitter’s data in real-time – Gnip, which is now owned by Twitter, and NTT Data being the other two.

The move to strengthening its grip over the analysis ecosystem seems aimed at bolstering Gnip’s business. A similarly-timed post on Gnip’s blog by Zach Hofer-Shall, head of Twitter more or less explained that the Gnip acquisition was a “first step” towards developing a more direct relationship with data customers, which would suggest other firehose-related negotiations may likely sour in the coming months if they haven’t already (BCN reached out to NTT Data for comment).

Some have, reasonably, hit out at Twitter for effectively eating its own ecosystem and shutting down third party innovation.  For instance Steven Willmott, chief executive of 3Scale, an API services vendor, said shutting down firehose access will result in niche verticals being underserved.

“While it makes sense at some level to want to be closer to the consumers of data (that’s valuable and laudable from a product perspective), removing other channels is an innovation bust. Twitter will no doubt do a great job on a range of use-cases but it’s severely damaging not to have a means to enable full firehose access for others. Twitter should really be expanding firehose access, not restricting it”

Julien Genestoux, founder of data feed service provider Superfeedr, said the recent move to cut off firehose access is not very different from what Twitter did a couple years ago when they started limiting the 3rd party client’s API accesses, and that Facebook often does much the same with partners it claims to give full data access to.

“The problem isn’t the company. The problem is the pattern. When using an API, developers are completely surrendering any kind of bargain power they have. There’s a reason we talk about slave and master in computer science. API’s are whips for web companies. This is the very tool they use to enforce a strong coupling and dependence to their platform,” he said.

While Twitter seems to be severely restricting the data reseller ecosystem it’s also redoubling its efforts to capture the hearts and minds of the enterprise developer, with coveted access to its data being placed front and centre. Twitter is working with IBM to make its data stream available to Big Blue’s clients, and in March this year IBM said it has over 100 pilots in place that see the company working with enterprises in a range of verticals to create cloud-based services integrating Twitter data and Watson analytics.

IBM says over 100 enterprises creating Twitter-integrated cloud services

Twitter and IBM are jointly deliver solutions leveraging IBM's technology and consulting expertise with Twitter's vast data troves

Twitter and IBM are jointly deliver solutions leveraging IBM’s technology and consulting expertise with Twitter’s vast data troves

IBM said it has over 100 pilots in place that see the company working with enterprises in a range of verticals to create cloud-based services integrated with Twitter. The move comes months after the two companies inked a deal that would see Twitter make its data stream available to Big Blue’s clients.

IBM said the move enables social data-enabled application development via Bluemix, and the ability to combine predictive analytics and Watson services with Twitter data in compelling ways.

The company also said it has over 4,000 service professionals well-versed in Twitter data integration who are on hand to help enterprises integrate Twitter in their applications

“So much of business decision making relies on internal data such as sales, promotion and inventory. Now with Twitter data, customer feedback can easily be incorporated into decision making,” said Chris Moody, vice president of data strategy at Twitter. “IBM’s unique capabilities can help businesses leverage this valuable data, and we expect to see rapid demand in retail, telecommunications, finance and more.”

Glenn Finch, global leader of big data & analytics for IBM Global Business Services said: “The unprecedented partnership between IBM and Twitter helps businesses tap into billions of real-time conversations to make smarter decisions. Through unique expertise, curation and insights Twitter data is now able to inform decision-making far inside organizations”

IBM and Twitter originally announced the collaboration, which focuses on three distinct areas, in October last year, making IBM one of just a handful of companies to have full access to Twitter’s entire data stream.

Twitter offered up its data for developers to integrate into their big data applications built on IBM’s Watson Developer Cloud or Bluemix.

IBM and Twitter said they would jointly develop enterprise applications that integrate Twitter data with IBM’s customer engagement solutions (ExperienceOne) that help users map sentiment behaviour in real-time.

And the companies also planned to jointly develop solutions for specific industries such as banking, consumer products, retail, and travel and transportation, with IBM throwing its vast consulting resources behind the effort.

How 360° Student Relationship Management Could Benefit Your Educational Institution

If you run a higher educational institution, your student is your customer. Surprising as it may sound, consider this: the focus of most initiatives in your institute needs to be the student. Starting from attracting them to join your institute, to the way their association with you is managed, you could achieve desired results if you plan your strategy keeping the student in the spotlight.

IT can play an essential role in helping you manage student relations. A Student Relationship Management (SRM) framework can help you forge a better connection with your students, keep you aware of any reasons that could cause dissatisfaction or churning and provides mechanisms to address such situations at the earliest.

Challenges to be addressed by an SRM Solution

Some of the challenges faced by higher educational institutions are:

  • Improving student enrolment and retention

  • Encouraging a lifelong learning process, including alumni engagement

  • Bringing about pricing optimization for education companies to make higher education affordable for the student yet profitable for the provider

  • Motivating the creation of educational products and services

  • Building and maintaining the brand image across all channels of publicity

  • Engaging and retaining staff

Other than the students, it is the faculty who play a very important role in establishing the reputation of an institution, which, in turn, attracts the required students. An efficient 360° SRM system would consider the goals of all the stakeholders and incorporate them in a student-centric manner.

SRM Systems Incorporate Changing Roles and Experiences

All the stakeholders, including students, faculty and administrative personnel go through a range of experiences in association with the institution.Beginning from when they enter the institute as strangers to the sense of belonging them cultivate over time; they would need to be treated differently according to their changing role. A seasoned vendor such as HCL Tech would ensure that these changing roles and functions are also a part of the provided system. This means that any situations that require intervention, such as a dissatisfied student who may be thinking of leaving the institution, would definitely have an addressing mechanism. If the design accounts for all such cases, hardly any scenario would remain truly “unexpected”.

SRM Solutions Harness Social Media

The management bodies of educational institutions would definitely be aware of the reach of social media among students. You can now harness the might of this medium in a positive manner. A service provider like HCL Tech could help you with using a popular platform like Facebook or Twitter to actively engage with an existing and prospective student population. For example, a Facebook page could be a medium used by the institution for such interaction. Social media apps used along with pattern recognition mechanisms may also be used.

Choosing HCL Tech to implement your 360° Student Relationship Management System is an important step, as it ensures that you receive a comprehensive, modern and efficient solution. All the building blocks including the data layer, CRM services, data analytics and social ecosystem, including mobile apps, would beput in place for you. All you need to do is to build on them further and operate them efficiently to ensure the success of your institution’s student relations strategy.

To know more about the topic please read the whitepaper presented by HCL Technologies.

How Businesses Can Use the Number Three Social Network (and Do You Know Which It Is?)

Pinterest is a social bookmarking site that allows users to create a visual, online pinboard with images they love organized around topics of their choice by category. It’s the fastest growing social media site in history, the third-largest network after Facebook and Twitter and has over 25 million members and 10 million unique visitors a month, nearly three-quarters of them women.

Karen Leland, author of the new book “Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business,” has created a comprehensive and easy-to-use guide to hitting the road running and quickly making Pinterest into a valuable source of prospects, promotion and profits.

“Great business brands are about telling compelling, congruent stories, and Pinterest is at its core about storytelling in pictures,” says Leland. “Pinterest has tapped into this visceral lover of visuals, and no small business, entrepreneur or corporation can afford to miss the boat on bringing what they offer beyond words and into images.”

Following her own advice resulted in this infographic:

IntelliBuzz Helps Companies Monitor Social Media

Intelliverse has launched IntelliBuzz, a social media monitoring service.  IntelliBuzz  helps organizations listen, engage, measure and optimize interactions across multiple social platforms to develop a better understanding of customers and markets, integrate a social CRM channel and align social strategies with overall business objectives.

“Today’s businesses cannot choose whether or not to engage in social media,” said Frank E. Paterno, VP of Marketing at Intelliverse. “Customers are expressing both joy and frustration socially. Companies that aren’t listening and choose not to participate in these conversations will quickly become obsolete.”

The IntelliBuzz service can help companies in the following areas:

  • Provides marketers with a single dashboard to publish, engage, manage, analyze and report across multiple social campaigns and platforms. It also helps marketers schedule future posts and trend the social activity about their brand, which can range from protecting the brand during everyday operations to uncovering opportunities for social outreach and meaningful conversations.
  • Empowers customer service and sales organizations to listen to and respond to customer and prospect conversations originating on the social web. Benefits include quickly responding to questions from prospects to delighting customers with surprise resolutions to socially made complaints. Customer service organizations can easily integrate IntelliBuzz into an overall CRM strategy and have the tools in place to find questions, comments or complaints on the internet, deliver them to the responsible team and track each interaction to ensure a timely response.
  • Allows a human resource organization to gauge employee happiness, gain insight into potential negative organizational issues and evolve corporate values by monitoring the social media activity of the organization’s employees.
  • Intellectual Property – Lets an organization know if the organization’s intellectual property (e.g., trademarks and service marks) and confidential information is being used inappropriately so it can respond accordingly.

Cornerstone OnDemand Enhances Social Sourcing for Cloud-based Recruiting

Cornerstone OnDemand today announced significant enhancements to its talent acquisition solution, the Cornerstone Recruiting Cloud, that make it easier and more efficient for organizations to tap into social networks, as well as their own employee base, and find the very best candidates for the right roles.

“Research shows that while organizations invest more in traditional recruiting methods, nearly half of positions are ultimately filled by other means such as internal candidates, employee referrals and social networking sites,” said Adam Miller, founder and CEO of Cornerstone OnDemand. “We believe these latest enhancements to the Recruiting Cloud will help companies expand their reach and significantly improve their ability to identify, attract and engage the right candidates. This includes sourcing both internal and external talent, as well as tapping into the personal networks of current employees, to find applicants with relevant skills and experience.”

New Recruiting Cloud features include:

  • Social sourcing, which allows recruiters, employees and
    candidates to share jobs across hundreds of social networks, online
    communities and job boards. Recruiters and hiring managers also are
    able to automate and track the publishing of jobs, as well as segment,
    target and reach specific audiences by the types of social media they
  • Job matching technology suggests contacts for specific jobs
    based on social profile information, significantly improving the
    ability to identify, attract and engage the most qualified candidates,
    especially passive job seekers.
  • Employee referral capabilities help to engage employees at
    every level of the organization in the recruiting process, making it
    easy for them to initiate referrals and use their social networks to
    spread the word. And automatic tracking of referrals ensure that
    employees can get recognized for their contributions.

The Recruiting Cloud integrates with Cornerstone’s comprehensive talent management software suite, giving talent acquisition teams and hiring managers better insight into internal candidates and existing talent pools. Cornerstone’s solution also is typically deployed across the entire workforce, making it even easier for companies to engage employees in the talent acquisition process. Launches Public Beta, Targets ‘Facebook Fatigue’

Sgrouples, Inc. (  launched into public beta today offering a private alternative to the social network, and a robust suite of services it hopes will make it an all-in-one tool for weary Web users.

Sgrouples’ free custom dashboard lets users create private personal groups, import and manage their social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and provides personal cloud storage.

“We believe social network fatigue, particularly over privacy, and demand for personal clouds, will be the key driving forces in the social space over the next one to two years,” said Mark Weinstein, founder and CEO of Sgrouples, and an early pioneer of Web 2.0 services. “As the Facebook IPO is this week, we feel that now is the perfect time to launch the all-in-one Sgrouples service, which offers an antidote to large social platforms like Facebook by building true privacy into the user model – no tracking, no profiling and no sharing of personal information.”

Weinstein is a 15-year veteran of social media, before it even existed as an Internet category. He was the founder of SuperGroups, which in 1999 was hailed by CNN, Time, Bloomberg News and Dow Jones, among others, and was a popular precursor to today’s social networks and community sites.

“I’ve followed Sgrouples for nearly a year,” said Colin Sebastian, director, equity research, for RW Baird. “Their leadership and development team have incredible vision and are making terrific progress. Moreover, the company is an early mover in addressing growing consumer concerns about social platform overwhelm and user privacy.”

“Privacy by design” is a key selling point for, which offers an unprecedented level of protection in its user bill of rights (, patent-pending permission tool and transparent privacy policy. As Weinstein points out, does not track, monitor or profile its users, and no personal information will ever be gathered or shared with third party companies.

“It’s our belief that users are growing tired of large platforms like Facebook, and are ready to migrate towards smaller, more exclusive communities that can offer real privacy and trust in the social experience,” said Weinstein. “We want to re-engineer the social experience by allowing users to connect in a closer way with people they know, in a private platform they trust. Our goal is to create one private place, with a robust suite of services, where people can come to organize all of their real life communities.” is a free all-in-one suite of services that combines many popular features on the Web in one easy-to-use place. From a single user-friendly dashboard, members can start their own private groups; manage their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts; and enjoy a personal cloud to save and share photos, documents and important files.

Key features of the site include:

  • Privacy bill of rights – no tracking, no profiling, no sharing of
    personal information
  • Patent-pending permission tool (GroupAuthTM) lets users
    control their privacy settings
  • Private custom user groups
  • Cloud storage with My CloudTM (4GB free at sign-up, up to
    10GB free with sharing)
  • Social network aggregator in one easy-to-use dashboard
  • Organize and share favorite links with Check It OutTM
  • Event calendars users can create and share with others
  • Upcoming features: photo printing, apps and games, and Sgrouples Mobile