Business gets social

Written by Diksha Dutta | Diksha Dutta | Updated: Nov 21 2011, 05:41am hrs
Change is the only constant, when it comes to technology trends. One trend ends and another disruptive one enters the tech industry. The two most disruptive trends that overshadowed the IT industry this year have been real analytics and social computing, reveals a recent survey by Deloitte Consulting. And so reflects in the recent strategic steps of IT companies too. Whether it be business process outsourcing (BPO) firms like Genpact and 24x7 Customer entering social media monitoring or tech giants like Yahoo! and IBM hiring talent like sociologists, economists and people who understand consumer behaviourthe relevance of analysing consumer behaviour on social media is increasing.

Rajarshi Sengupta, senior director, Deloitte in India, says, Companies have started using analytics for every minor decisionbe it controlling attrition or planning the travel routine of their employees. Sengupta explains that BPOs have attrition as their biggest challenge and have started using analytics to control it. For instance, an analysis shows that if you put all the top performers in a single team, it leads to lower risk, higher margins and high attrition. This is because the lower performers would feel demotivated and leave the company. Similarly, when companies want to decide which employee should travel how muchit is based on analysing different employee profiles.

Ron Brachman, vice-president, Yahoo! Labs and research operations and head of Yahoo! academic relations says, We need to understand consumer behaviour and human behaviour. Thus, companies like us are hiring more and more sociologists, economists, anthropologists who can understand the trends on social media. It is not just about hiring computer science engineers today who can help us in coding. Even Himanshu Goyal, country manager (academic initiatives), IBM India confirms that IT companies are now looking for multiple skills in their employees which go beyond engineering. The core might be engineering, but at times we look for talent in economics, social media tracking etc to fulfill the current needs of customers.

However, having the correct data to analyse is the biggest challenge for companies. Echoing his view, Mark White, chief technology officer, Deloitte notes, Information must be put in the right context for a given individual at their point of need, and with the ability to enable decisive action. It is easy to get lost in any of the building blocks of user engagement social media, collaboration, knowledge management, rich internet applications, mobile solutions, and enterprise applications. He feels that companies devote 50% of their efforts in descriptive analytics rather than having data discipline.

Today, a lot of Indian companies like Titan and Gillette are promoting their products on social media and

Deloitte feels there will be even more convergence of social and mobile computing in coming timesa convergence that is fundamentally changing how information is accessed and

used in business operations and decision-making.

Thus, as India gets more social, it is time for the IT industry to think beyond coding.