The Enterprise Activity Stream

Here’s a partially formed thought:  For any enterprise with an on-line product/service or for any enterprise that does business on-line (I think that’s pretty much all of them by now), a meaningful understanding of User-Product-Service Activity will very quickly (if not already) become a core value proposition.  Understanding what users & customers are doing, when & why; how is a product being used, when & why;    Two key words here are activity and enterprise.

Activity represents the component parts of behavior.

Activity tells you why, when, where and how your product or service is valuable to your customer.  It also tells you how your product or service is being used at a level of detail never before possible, enabling an understanding that allows you to improve your product and service relentlessly.  Therefore, it’s core to any iterative process as well.  Knowledge of activity and behavior provide an unfair advantage in understanding customer’s attitude and willingness to continue being a customer. It enables maximally relevant conversations between you and your customer about what matters…whatever that might be.

An “activity stream” is the essence of Twitter and a core feature of Facebook…however, these are consumer services and have a generic, spread-spectrum focus.  Twitter and Facebook mix the personal and professional, business and consumer, artistic, political, religious and everywhere in between. Furthermore, many social networking platforms are simply not viable within the enterprise today.

In any event, the concept worth exploring is an Enterprise Activity Stream and it’s implications for businesses going forward.  I believe salesforce.com is onto this concept to a certain extent with its future Chatter platform but we’re in the very early days.  The possibilities and implications here are pretty big…more on this soon….

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  1. Nick Lewis 04. Dec, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    This makes me think of Miht dot com. In particular, miht’s ability to get all data directly from your bank account. There’s almost zero data entry involved (unless you want to use their power user features).

    Features that require users to type anything into a box are to be avoided (salesforce has a unique advantage here actually because their users are already doing data entry with another product). Like Miht, it would be most attractive when it was taking data that people are already are creating & using it to offer new insights. For example: Don’t try to replace their email box; read and process data that can be scraped from someone’s email box and make up useful things you can do with it. For example, give you a heads up that haven’t replied to an email that based on past data you almost certainly should have.

  2. kipmcc 09. Dec, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    agree; the notion of automation is important here. The other important concept that was not in the original post is “time.” the relative timing of events, the time between certain events, the pace / frequency of events…all contain data

  3. Bryan Menell 04. Jan, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    This is an idea that we refer to as Dynamic Signal:

    http://www.dachisgroup.com/social-business-design/our-approach/

    If you think about how a signal has distinct points, relates to time, and has amplitude (or strength), you’ll see why it’s a useful construct for thinking about enterprise activity.

    The way in which Mint.com sucks in your data and presents relevant or summary information to you is another archetype we call Metafilter (same link as above). Different from a signal, but a useful construct as well.

    It would be great to hear more of your thoughts on enterprise activity, Kip.

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