What's new here is the sheer volume of data that is available, or Big Data, as it has been dubbed, plus the availability of real-time analytics and historical data, and the technological advancements that enable companies to do much more sophisticated and useful analysis.
In this case, we have been talking about social media sentiment indicating which direction the price may move, but the ability to use billions of public social conversations as a form of focus group stretches much further.
As the stock price example shows, real insights come from viewing social data alongside other data sources such as stock price. For businesses, the insights you can get from social data alone are limited. But by analysing social data alongside product sales, marketing campaigns, web traffic or inventory – that's where Big Data and business intelligence can create the outcome that every executive wants: actionable, valuable insights.We have the data and we have the tools. Now it's just a matter of making a sense of it all and finding real-life applications. Twitter trading might come first, just because there is a lot of money to be made, but the world is definitely not short of ideas. What's yours?