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TED@IBM: Reimagining our world

A Big data approach to Engagement Analytics using Privacy by Design

August 20, 2014

IBM is coming together with TED to host a first-of-its-kind event exploring ideas, insights and personal stories with a broad cross-section of IBM clients, partners, friends and IBMers. At this event, I will be speaking on IBM's big data approach to engagement analytics and how it can only be successfully achieved by implementing a privacy by design methodology.

I probably don't need to tell anyone reading this post that engagement matters; be that employee, consumer or citizen. Gartner studies indicate that “organizations with a highly engaged workforce significantly outperform those without," and Gallup research shows that “engaged customers buy more, stay with you longer and are more profitable than average customers, in good economic times and bad.” Additionally, the Open Society Foundations proposes that “active citizenship is one of the most important steps towards healthy societies.” Engagement is important, and brings to mind this question:

"How do we measure engagement patterns so that we can better understand, characterize, predict, incentivize and ultimately drive active engagement?"

Historically, engagement has been measured by surveys that ask a series of questions and infer sentiment from the answers. While this works, there are only so many questions that a survey can ask and this limits that amount of information we can gather when we we are researching engagement.

reimagine_460x374_v2.pngToday, so much of our digital footprint is impressed through social, mobile and cloud technologies. Big data platforms are also available to perform granular analysis, uncovering the potential to infer engagement and its drivers by looking at the raw interaction and network data.

However (and this is where Privacy by Design kicks in) if we data scientists are going to churn through all this great interaction data to derive important engagement insights, then we need to reevaluate privacy and the ethics of analyzing people data. If we want to understand engagement, then we need people to want to share their engagement data with us. We need them to trust us, and know that we are not going to exploit them, or their data. If we don't build our big data analytics on a foundation of trust and mutual respect, then not only will we fail in our analytics, but we will fail in the one thing that we desire above all else: active engagement.

Over the last couple of years, IBM has been investigating ways that the Enterprise Graph (fed from systems of engagement, social, collaboration, communications and business interaction data) could be used to maximize collaboration ROI for our network across the globe, and we've taken a radically transparent approach to building this system; this will be a key portion of the upcoming TED talk on Engagement Analytics using Privacy by Design on September 23.*

For those interested, we will also be presenting this work at the IBM Insight conference this October 26 through 30. We will share IBM's journey over the last 12 months in building, integrating, deploying and realizing value from engagement analytics on social and collaboration big data, describing not only the technical challenges, but also the methodologies, governance, privacy and adoption approaches used to ensure success through active engagement and buy-in from employees. We will also discuss the important practice of putting people at the center of your analytics strategy. Register today with code SOCIAL100 to save an additional $100!

Read on

  • TED@IBM is a first-of-its-kind, one-day event that will serve as a premier knowledge-sharing platform, built for the business community in the new global economy. Our teams will use the power of TED’s mission and model combined with the depth and breadth of IBM’s expertise and that of our clients, partners, and friends to explore bold ideas, unexpected insights and unique personal stories—we’re going to share these stories with the world.
  • Learn more about maximizing the value of your systems of engagement
  • Check out my blog

*Attendance by invitation only