I’ve Seen the Social Analytics Future…

…and it’s already here.

Lawrence Liu from Telligent responded to my Walking the Social Media Walk blog post last week with some great comments and a suggestion to check out their Harvest Reporting Server.

So I did.

Being a longtime fan and advocate of business intelligence and analytics, I am wowed by what Telligent has done.  And they have certainly raised the bar in terms of what I expect from other community vendors.

After taking a quick spin with the Telligent Harvest Report Server this morning, here’s what I like about it:

  1. You Can Test Drive It – Telligent lets you actually test drive their software on their site with real data.  Not many vendors are brave enough or confident enough to put software in the hands of prospects (or competitors).  I really like the idea of playing with it by myself, so kudos to Telligent!
  2. It Behaves Like Google Analytics – I love Google Analytics and think it sets the standard for how analytics packages should operate and behave.  I use Google Analytics to monitor activity on the several websites that I manage.  My favorite part about Google Analytics is how it lets you chose your own date ranges and easily drill up and down into the data – and Harvest provides similar functionality with a 2-month default view or you can select your own time period.
  3. Easily and Visually Measures Trends – The reports are very visual and display the data over time – rather than just points in time.  Plus, the dashboard clearly identifies directional trends with green or red arrows.  You can also look at the information in the aggregate or easily drill down to the individual user or comment.
  4. Incorporates “Social Fingerprinting” – Telligent has come up with a unique way to analyze member behavior using 6 different axes that they call Overseer, Originator, Answerer, Asker, Commentor and Connector.  The interface provides a ‘spider-chart’ view of each user along each dimension.
  5. Introduces Sentiment Detection – This is another new feature that I have not seen in an social media/community analytics package, but I know that it has been on the top of everyone’s list for quite some time.  This feature measures the tonality of the traffic on your community and organizes it into positive and negative sentiments.  I am not quite sure about how well this works yet since it seems that you have to have clearly defined positive or negative words or phrases.  However, this is the first vendor I know who has taken a shot at delivering this type of information.

Granted, having great analytics will not necessarily make a great community.  However, providing rich and robust data in an easily accessible format definitely helps us community managers who are tasked with analyzing community activity and behavior – and turning that data into actionable insights.

Here is a screen shot of a User Report and some links where you can make your own judgments about the Telligent Harvest Reporting Server:

Example of User Report Tab from Harvest Reporting Server

Example of User Report Tab from Harvest Reporting Server

Now if they could only let me bolt this onto the community of my choosing (just like Google Analytics).