Socialbakers bakes its data analytics down to a Social Health Index

Can social media analytics be compressed into an elevator pitch?

That was a question Lenovo asked its social analytics firm, Socialbakers. The result, launching today, is a Social Health Index that presents a few top-level indicators of a brand’s standing in social media vis-a-vis any competitors.

“When you’re with a VP, you have to [quickly] give them a very clear idea of where we stand,” Lenovo’s director of the Digital and Social Center of Excellence Rod Strother told us. Given that need, Lenovo then provided input to Socialbakers for developing the Index.

It offers a single top-level number on a 100-point scale, as well as single numbers representing the client’s — or a competitor’s — social health on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Other platforms will be added at some point, the social analytics firm said.

Additionally, an area graph visually depicts the four groups of data that go into the scores — participation, follower/fan/subscriber acquisition and retention, and shareability.

“We find it’s difficult for clients to comprehend all” the statistics in ordinary social analytics reports, Socialbakers’ CEO and co-founder Jan Rezab told VentureBeat.

“It’s very, very complicated,” he said, noting that his firm tracks over 180 metrics for social media.

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New Risks Jolt Commodities Supply Chain

The challenges facing the commodities sector have multiplied as corporations worry much more about compliance and reputational risks. Checking suppliers and, in turn their own suppliers, require new mechanisms and collaboration. Historically, large purchasers of raw materials worried foremost about price volatility and diversity of suppliers, either to meet financial projections or to avoid business interruptions.

Today, corporations must also worry that they are not unwitting participants in violating economic sanctions or tax fraud, or whether their goods are identified as coming from undesirable suppliers. Given the already complex nature of products, the impenetrable thickets of regulation and the threat from activists ready to lay siege via lawsuit or social media, these compliance and reputational risks add to a vastly increased burden faced by commodities firms.

“Clearly companies have a handle on financial risks, but if they’re operating in emerging markets they’re dealing with multiple issues,” says Mr Talib Dhanji, a partner at EY and leader of the firm’s commodities practice. “The key is to be on top of the different ways that people can commit fraud.”

Quality controls

Trading firms have a somewhat different set of risks from their industrial customers, because many firms do not take physical possession of the goods in question; they only trade futures and hedging instruments with other firms or customers. The frauds they might encounter, then, are more about unreliable promises than contaminated goods.

“Just because you get a nicely published document, that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate,” Mr Dhanji says. “You’ve got to have the right quality controls in place.” Trading firms are better positioned to put those controls in place, both because they face heavy oversight from the US and European regulators, and because the thin profit margins in commodities can mean severe financial pain if they fall victim to unscrupulous dealers.

A delivery that turns out not to meet specifications on quality, place of origin, or volume, for example, might mean a hedging instrument based on that shipment is invalid or insurers would not cover the loss. That threat tends to focus the trader’s mind.

Public scrutiny

Corporations that consume raw materials are in a more difficult spot. They are facing more public scrutiny and regulatory oversight than ever before, and many still do not have the right processes or structures to manage these new commodity risks effectively.

Compliance and reputation risks in the supply chain are different. Instead of a company looking horizontally to find more suppliers of materials, the company must look vertically down to its suppliers, and then their suppliers, and their suppliers, and so forth — all to be sure that no unwanted goods have infiltrated the supply chain at any point.

That requires new mechanisms to confirm the source of commodity goods, as well as new collaboration among treasury, risk, procurement, and compliance departments to do the task well.

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