iWay Detects Business Events in Social Network Feeds
July 12, 2011 Alex Woodie
New software from iWay Software can combine events occurring on multiple systems, such as an IBM i ERP system and a particular Facebook page or Twitter feed, to trigger the execution of a third event, such as the generation of detailed sales leads from a business intelligence system.
The rapid proliferation of social networking websites and technologies is changing how business gets done. Particularly for salespeople, working email and the phone just doesn’t cut it anymore. Potential customers are spending more time with social networking channels, making it a logical place for salespeople and customer support personnel to reach them.
iWay and its parent company, Information Builders, realize the big impact that social media is making on traditional business channels. IBI has given its customers the capability to track social media properties like Twitter feeds from within the Performance Management Framework (PMF) component of its WebFOCUS business intelligence suite since March 2010.
Now, iWay is getting similar capabilities in CEP Enable, a complex event processing (CEP) tool that is used to monitor an array of data sources and transaction systems and apply normalizing filters to determine if a business event has been reached, and then react in a programmatic way (such as sending a salesperson a hot lead or alerting customer support personnel) if it has.
The definition of “business event” has traditionally been confined to traditional business systems, such an IBM i-based ERP system, where everything lives in neat little boxes that are well defined. But the wide wild world of social networking has done for business events what the PC revolution did for data, which stripped the structure of much of the most important data we use. (Thanks Microsoft Office!) Now, important business events that occur along the social network are losing their defined structures, too, which gives rise to the need for CEP software like iWay’s.
iWay’s CEP Enable offering enables organizations to monitor the happenings on social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter Feeds, and Salesforce Chatter. When it detects something that resembles an important business event, it can be setup to respond in an appropriate way, such as by sending a WebFOCUS report or dashboard, sending e-mail, generating an automated Twitter response (robo-tweet?), initiating an iWay Service Manager process flow, or doing just about anything else that works with a RESTful style service.
Managers can interact with their iWay CEP Enable events in the same way that much of the social network lives: on mobile devices. iWay says the product generates Active Technology reports that are optimized for smartphones such as the iPhone and Android devices, as well as tablets like the iPad and Motorola Xoom.
This is not an out-of-the-box system, and some work is obviously required to set it up to meet the organization’s particular needs and desires for interacting with customers via the social network. iWay envisions the new release of CEP Enable as functioning as part of a sales lead management system, which hands warm leads peeled off the social networks to sales people, along with the synthesis from, say, the WebFOCUS RStat statistical analysis engine.
As part of customer support system, CEP Enable could be used to detect negative comments posted across Twitter and react immediately. iWay calls this “monitoring the pulse of the business,” and this could provide a powerful way to react immediately to opinions expressed via the Twitter, thereby getting a jump on smoothing ruffled feathers, and squashing an opportunity for a competitor to poach unhappy customers.
Like it or not, but a brave new business world is emerging, and those organizations that embrace the new technology will have the advantage.
“Our expanded iWay CEP Enable gives our customers the ability to analyze information and make business decisions on data obtained through social platforms and stay in touch with customers and constituencies in real time,” states Gerry Cohen, the CEO and president of IBI, in a press release. “As the enterprise grows increasingly mobile, this is a competitive advantage for our customers.”