Mining Conversation Flow in the Enterprise

From Chris Wand at Foundry Group

“The amount of explicit and implicit data, knowledge, and relationship information stored in a typical corporate email store is staggering. Take, for example, just the enterprise social graph data in Exchange. With the right analysis, one can determine not only who knows whom (within or outside of the enterprise), but also the length, depth, frequency and velocity of that communication and relationship. Indirect connections between multiple individuals (akin to what LinkedIn does) can be discovered but without requiring any explicit user data entry or behavior modification. The ability to piece all of this together—across an entire organization—is a very powerful concept.


Beyond the enterprise social graph, think of the implications for knowledge management if the enterprise could effectively tap into the email store (using tools such as content analysis and unstructured data management) to discern and expose expertise across its workforce. Past knowledge management approaches have often suffered because they depended on individual users to explicitly enter data or take actions beyond their normal day-to-day routine, with little immediate benefit to them. What if knowledge management was instead seamlessly driven by our existing behavior?”

Chris highlights the value to be found in mining the flow of conversation, relationship and transactional data within the enterprise.   He’s right… there are a number of start-ups focused on mining the flow of data.   Being able to analyze enterprise flows created by the existing behaviors across the enterprise will provide new insights into personal, team and business unit strengths and weaknesses.    The (data) flow is there… it just needs to be harnessed and mined.

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