Social Graph – repeats the enterprise data silo problem…

There is no doubt that social graphs are the key to enabling the next level of search and marketing (and many other use cases that I will discuss in a subsequent entry). Here are some articles that help understand the business aspect of what these social graphs or networks of interconnected nodes can deliver:

However, with the proliferation of the various Social Networking sites, each site has it’s own Social Graph. These distributed graphs are useful to whoever owns these graphs, i.e. companies such as Facebook, as it is a rich data source that can be used for marketing to target and tailor the offerings for the various users or the users these users can influence indirectly. For an organization trying to make use of these graphs, the graphs have to be combined to deliver maximum value. Without that the reach is limited to what is visible inside one network. It is hard to find a user who does not have accounts across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, etc… but it hard to find all this information in a single place.

Is this a repeat of the history? Did we not witness large organizations struggle with the mess of Data Silos inside their organizations, during the last decade? Even today it is hard to find a wall to wall SAP shop in the enterprise landscape, because one application (or in the future a Social Network) will not be the standard answer. It is safe to say that this is always going to be a world with multiple applications (within the enterprise) and multiple social networks (outside the enterprise).

At a 40000ft level, the Social Graph is a bigger data problem in the making and similar to the problem Data Silo problem that Enterprise customers faced with Enterprise apps where Customer data proliferated across various application silos, leading to integration trends such as Master Data Management.

If we are to make use of the power of Social Graphs, the dots have to be connected. At a very minimum, it requires collation and disambiguation of entities (starting with People) across various social networks so that we can know that it is the same person with multiple personalities (and avatars) across the various social networks. Only then can you start leveraging the power of the Social Graphs by freely being able to traverse the various social networks for a given profile.

Till then you can go find out what other social networks I might be a part of…


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