Sam Decker of BazaarVoice has posted a cogent, well-supported argument on the business benefits of social applications. Many of the themes will be familiar to readers of this blog, including the substantial cross-functional reduction of Friction that can take place when you have this kind of data, and some of the cultural issues surrounding adoption of the data-driven culture.
Here’s what I don’t get though. Many of these goals could be accomplished though customer service analysis and other data the company already has. In fact, you could argue in many cases, the data you get from internal sources would be better since you could work some of the bias out of it and correlate with actual behavior.