Enterprise social, big data and the relevance paradox

Buried in informationInformation. We’re all grasping for it, we want it now, we want it all, and in a social and big data context we can have both.

Same goes for the enterprise social, organizational and process information can be had at our fingertips, Wikis, internal communication networks, it’s always there and always on. Look at the impact and noise generated out of various enterprise social conference events, the momentum is incredible. But it’s also in danger of imploding very quickly.

Ambiently unaware of the danger

Trouble is, with all this ambient awareness in the organization, do we actually know what to do with this information ? What is relevant, and which is actionable to help achieve the goal or task at hand. Indeed, would you even know where to look for the information or know what it looks like when you have everything within your grasp ?

You may not be aware of the relevance of what you possess because finding the information to put it all in context isn’t clear or immediately apparent, so how can you look for it ? And so the Relevance Paradox exists:

This occurs when an individual or a group of professionals are unaware of certain essential information which would guide them to make better decisions, and help them avoid inevitable and undesirable consequences. These professionals will seek only the information and advice they believe is the bare minimum amount required as opposed to what they actually need to fully meet their own or the organization’s goals.

Another danger here is that as enterprise software and big data analytics become more adaptive to an individual user’s needs, it learns their behaviors, filters the information according to historical data and use, and therefore potentially could deem a vital piece of real-time information as non-critical through this history and fail to deliver it.

Incompetence and chaos reign

This is especially true of archaic enterprise structures, where traditional top-down hierarchies can not sustain the growing need for an organization to embrace the social phenomenon. Incompetence and chaos reign. I’ve written about this before, and of the need to examine how lateral communication and flatter, community-based structures within the organization should be examined and developed.

There’s a burning desire to adapt and change the traditional way we conduct and structure business around social. We cannot simply implement enterprise social software into businesses and expect it to suddenly function properly. The fabric of the enterprise itself has to change and mold itself around this new paradigm in order to react to the new levels of speed and information it’s never experienced before.

If not, it won’t simply be a case of information overload, it’ll be game over.


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Categories: Data Analytics / Big Data

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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2 Comments on “Enterprise social, big data and the relevance paradox”

  1. February 21, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Theo, my bias is towards using a framework to help you take all the ambient noise and filter it into those process areas of your organization that can use it. HR needs to be able to discern key HR information from the noise. Product design, customer service, logistics, field sales, etc. They all need to be able to filter all the noise into the buckets of information that is pertinent to them.

    But, until you define each of these areas down to the processes and activities that must occur to add value to your organization and customers, you don’t know what to pay attention to and what you need to ignore.

    I just published a piece on using frameworks to navigate chaos and disruption. I’ve put the URL below for any readers that would like to see that, as well.


  2. February 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Great article and so very true. You can usually spot the “archaic enterprise structures” by picking up the phone and talking to their customer service departments. When the customer service manager refuses to waive a $15 late fee on a first offense, in spite of the customer having a mortgage, personal line of credit, business line of credit, investment, savings and checking accounts with that institution, it a sign that they haven’t a clue how to manage their data. And that company will never realize that they lost a great customer over $15. Game over.

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