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IBM taps Twitter's data to drive business insights

Matt Kapko | Nov. 19, 2014
IBM and Twitter say they will 'change the way business decisions are made' by pairing Twitter data with IBM's analytics tools and new apps for the enterprise. But CIOs won't buy in until the two companies can bring structure and context to the 500 million tweets that are posted every day.

"I think this kind of initiative is a really powerful way for [CIOs] to show value beyond backroom IT infrastructure," McInnes says.

Extracting Sentiments from a Giant Petri Dish of Tweets
Twitter's value proposition for the enterprise isn't so much about what's contained within 140 characters of a single tweet, it's all the other data washing around that provides context and actual insights, he says, likening the effect to a giant petri dish.

"Twitter is the best we've got in addition to expert forums," says McInnes. And compared to Facebook, he says: "Twitter is a bit looser, it's more decentralized, the networks are messier, and I think that plays to a business advantage."

No wonder Moody says there's an "endless set of applications you could build around our data." Twitter data is already being gleaned for product insights, customer relationship and supply chain management, logistics, inventory forecasting and fraud prevention. But with IBM's help, Twitter data could also expand to vertical industries like healthcare and finance.

"We're talking about putting our data in mission critical applications for IBM customers," says Moody.

These accomplishments may not get Twitter on the evening news, but it could lead to much more meaningful revenue and business outcomes. "Finding efficiencies in your supply chain can be tens of millions of dollars in uplift," says McInnes.

Twitter says many enterprises have shown a growing interest in its data and that more deals will be coming soon.

"We really do think the opportunity within the enterprise is significant," says Moody, who joined Twitter when it acquired Gnip in April. "We think we can impact every business decision."


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