The introduction of Web 2.0 social media into the enterprise creates large amounts of potentially useful information about the social side of business processes. Enterprise 2.0 also provides a wealth of social “data” as a byproduct of its use. We are only beginning to figure out how to harvest this content. The organizations that do this are truly working in the enterprise 2.0 space.
In this post I want to bring to your attention to a new tool that I have been involved with for the past two years. We have been operating somewhat quietly and are now making our work public with both an enterprise edition and a Web edition. The Alpha version of the Web addition is available on our Darwin Ecosystem site through free registration for your use. The enterprise version is also available to early adopters.
Increasing awareness in context and finding related content is the goal of Darwin Ecosystem. Its awareness engine™ gives users the ability to perceive and be conscious of events and patterns of activities captured in the enterprise and Web 2.0. The introduction of Web 2.0 tools into the enterprise also opens up possibilities for even more information silos if these tools do not connect. Darwin provides a way to see emerging patterns of related content across information generated through a variety of tools.
Darwin reduces the effort of keeping-up with enterprise 2.0 content (Information Overload Management). It classifies and correlates patterns of the business activities trapped in your Web. Through its Scan Cloud™ Darwin makes visible and measurable the value of the enterprise 2.0 content (Awareness and Monitoring). You can see related items in a tag cloud like visualization and this relationship shifts as you move through the cloud. This dynamic nature makes it easy for users to see the correlation across the enterprise 2.0 content (Discovering and Sharing).
Using correlation metrics based on Chaos Theory Darwin looks for the emergence of correlated themes within chaotic content. This moves Darwin away from the voting and popularity rankings used by many information aggregators and search engines to rank information. By using correlation metrics, it does not require a known process or taxonomy to discover useful and related information. Darwin allows for the emergence that Paula discussed. You can set up ongoing filters or “attractors” to explore emerging themes in specific topics of interest or simply look at the broad picture.
Darwin is a not a replacement of existing enterprise 2.0 technologies, dashboards, and document management tools. It is designed to complement and leverage these technologies by making their tacit knowledge more visible. Darwin looks at events, blogs and other Web 2.0 sources that may correlate with the enterprise actions, its competitors and the voice of its critics and customers. This allows the enterprise to be capable of more easily discovering its own knowledge assets as well as its market and competitive positioning.
For example, Using Darwin’s Awareness Engine, a program manager in Marketing becomes aware of concerns in R&D, Sales or other initiatives that are emerging as he/she tries to promote a product (all without having to wait and depend the next meeting or coffee break encounter). They can also see competitive moves that may correlate with their own plans or the efforts of their customers and prospects. Likewise management can have a high-level view of what topics are emerging across all divisions and initiatives to better steer the business or measure the effectiveness of the vision’s execution, in the process discovering emerging and stronger initiatives or employees that are noteworthy.
It is a Web browser application (Scan Cloud™) or it can become a custom solution through API access. It is delivered through a Web server with services and a database correlating the different Web 2.0 sources. For the enterprise there is an on-premise solution running on Ruby on Rails and making use of RSS feeds. Its Virtual Cortex™ database can be set on Oracle, MS-SQL or mySQL according to scalability needs. You can go from inside out so an enterprise can correlate their initiatives, knowledge and business intelligence against the pulse of the Web. The application is currently in Alpha stage and available for use.
Here is an example of Darwin in action. Using the Web edition. I set up a query on social media and saw the word – gain - in the cluster shown below. I looked to see why the word - gain - is associated with social media by selecting it and highlighting the cluster of correlations between social media and gain.
There was as story about how NASDAQ launches social network site as shown below. This was new news and very interesting to me.
I also saw an article that reported in the UK that social networking sites accounts for 25% of display ads. I had read elsewhere that in the UK online revenue has passed television ad revenue so this added further context to that story. There was also an article on using Facebook traffic to drive brand loyalty. None of these articles appeared on a Google search on social media and gain. Nor did they appear on Google News on the topic. Below is a screen shot of the complete Darwin interface so you can the relationship of the detailed components shown above. This exercise is a very brief sample of how you can discover new information that is often unanticipated through correlation that is hard, if not impossible, to find in traditional search.
You can also find stories about themes that are emerging in the Web, as well as images that correlate with content as shown in results about a very recent helicopter crash in the Pacific ocean.
Darwin also allows you to correlate content in traditional mainstream media with what is happening in the blogs and other social media. In 2008 Darwin won a Young Entrepreneurs Award from the Office for Science and Technology of the French Embassy in the United States. The Young Entrepreneurs Initiative (YEi) is a platform for mentoring and networking US-based entrepreneurs who understand the importance of internationalizing their vision and their activity, and who wish to set up a technology venture in France.
We recently started the Darwin Discovery Engine Blog to provide more background on their efforts, as well as commentary on content issues on the Web and enterprise 2.0. Please join us there. Our Twitter feed is: @darwineco. We look forward to hearing from you.