Strata gems: What your inbox knows

Mining implicit data trails makes CRM more effective

We’re publishing a new Strata Gem each day all the way through to December 24. Yesterday’s Gem: A sense of self.

Strata 2011 One of our themes at Strata is data in the dirt: mining the data exhaust from our lives to find meaning and value. In every organization, the trails left by email offer one of those repositories of hidden meaning.

Trampoline Systems‘s SONAR CRM takes an innovative approach to customer relationship management by mining the social networks created with and between companies. Through its integration with email logs, existing CRM systems and social networks, SONAR expands the scope of traditional CRM to give a fuller view of an company’s relationships.

There is often more truth to be found in mining implicit data trails than by relying on explicitly logged information. Trampoline estimate that only 25% of actual contacts are recorded in CRM systems. By analyzing email flows, their system lets organizations understand who is talking to whom.

At O’Reilly, we specialize in connecting people across and within technical community “tribes”. We’ve been experimenting with SONAR for some months. In my experience, it certainly contains the same knowledge about our contacts that I would otherwise have to obtain by asking around.

Email contact visualization
A SONAR visualization of some of O’Reilly’s internal relationships

The more information you feed a system such as SONAR, the better results you can get. For instance, not all prodigious communicators are at the same level of influence: customer service personnel talk to as many people as business development, for instance, but the relationships they develop are of a more fleeting nature.

  • For a personal view on email analytics, Xobni offer an Outlook plugin that augments your email with information from social networks and analytical capabilities.
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