Posts Tagged ‘SAS’

Announces first annual Short Tale Award™ for Excellence in Video Use

Stoughton, MA, February 8, 2011 — Beagle Research Group, today announced “The Beagle Short Tale Awards” for 2011.  Beagle gives the annual awards for various aspects of video production and use by front office software companies in sales, marketing, service and education.  Denis Pombriant, Beagle’s managing principal said, “We believe video is profoundly changing the way companies communicate with customers and prospects and this award brings recognition to the pioneers as well as encouragement to those using the medium.”  The award is given for excellence in short videos (typically under six minutes) that are produced during the prior year (2010).

This year’s software vendor winners include Eloqua, Microsoft Corporation, NetSuite, RightNow Technologies, Sage North America, SAS,, Zuora and a special award to Jess3 a creative agency.  The grand prize for Strategic Use of Video went to, which produced, among others, a video quantifying the effectiveness of its video library as a sales and marketing tool.  Pombriant also said, “At this stage of a trend we often see unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness for a new technology.  Salesforce, provided the needed proof.”

A full report including links to all winning videos is available at

About Beagle Research Group

Beagle Research Group, LLC is an analyst, consulting and market research organization focused on emerging front office software companies.  Beagle Research investigates market trends and provides analysis and insight to vendors and buyers of front office computing solutions.  Our content is presented in articles, blogs posts and free downloadable reports at multiple locations across the Internet.  The Beagle Short Tale Award and logo are trademarks of Beagle Research Group, LLC.


Recessions are always a good time to rebuild your competitive infrastructure and the slow growth/recession of the last couple of years has been no exception.  On the stock market, the technology sector seems to be doing quite well.  After bottoming in the middle of the summer the software companies especially seem to be rebounding.  Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, RightNow and NetSuite are all gainers.

But the drivers for software acquisition remain what they have always been—improving processes, saving money or making money.  Companies whose products can do one or more of these will do well.  And customers will gobble up their wares as they seek out more competitive stances in their chosen markets.  The theme to watch for is replacement as many foundational applications that were implemented for Y2K reach the end of their shelf lives.  Here are some issues to consider.

  • Ten year-old ERP and CRM systems will be more than ripe for replacement.  New business processes and better economics will do the heavy lifting to prove the case for new applications.  Many of the conventional vendors like Oracle and SAP will be there as will newer entrants who’ve proven themselves over the last decade.  Watch for names like NetSuite, RightNow, Salesforce and others to command attention.
  • Cloud computing.  After several years of debate about what cloud computing is or is not, customers are in a great position with lots of choices for solutions.  It doesn’t matter whether you prefer single tenant or multi-tenant solutions, the economics of running software in the cloud are so compelling that you can find a vendor that speaks your cloud dialect.  Virtually every front and back office vendor has a cloud offering or two.
  • Analytics is another solution set that has been in the background for many years.  But new demands in the form of trying to make sense of the mountain of data brought in daily by our social applications makes analytics a necessary add-on.  Analytics solutions are abundant and even SAS Institute, a pioneer in enterprise analytics, has jumped into the market with cloud based solutions for social data.  It is somewhat surprising that Gartner expects only 35% penetration in customer service centers by 2013.  That looks like a great opportunity for differentiation to me.
  • It will also be a year for collaboration and I think collaboration may be the first true business social application type.  Judging from the rapid adoption the Salesforce’s Chatter is receiving I anticipate the broader market will see collaboration as a business process no one can afford to ignore.
  • Integration will be important in the year ahead too.  There are no so many applications and application types on the market that we can safely give up any pretense that a single vendor could deliver all of a company’s CRM needs. APIs and cloud computing make integration more important and feasible.  More vendors will discover that the winning strategy is to do whatever is possible to pre-integrate their wares with strategically important foundation CRM vendors.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see some vendors begin to organize around specific business processes or types such as channel selling.
  • This also implies that many companies will be looking to extend their solution sets with strategic additions.  Any company can optimize its CRM deployment and probably gain competitive benefit by looking at its business processes and comparing their level of automation with the product sets now on the market.  Need a way to keep your sales people in the game?  Try a compensation management system.  It will give them a way to quickly understand their progress in the only way they keep score.  At the same time it will reduce the back office overhead caused by end of quarter commission calculations.
  • If you have an interest in bringing out a new product but worry that a limited marketing budget could limit your success, you might first consider a variety of customer analytics that can help you determine which customers have a need, what that need is and how to approach them.
  • Or perhaps you are looking to improve service and save money but worry about displacing the good but expensive handholding your service group provides with faceless automation.  Try a social service solution that engages your user community to help answer basic customer inquiries through Twitter and Facebook.  Not only will you be able to maintain a person-to-person approach but response times might decline and there’s no telling what positive fallout might happen when customers help each other.  If you’re monitoring the chatter you might discover that a core group of customers has great understanding of your product and does a super job of helping out.  The help can also turn into articles for your knowledge base.
  • The last area for social penetration might be using solutions to analyze your negatives—to identify instances where customers express their displeasure with you on the Web.  It’s much better to deal with an irate customer than to let their anger fester, but first you have to find them.  Social media and analytics can help and it’s a worthy investment.  Our research shows that even the best companies have their detractors but often a vendor knows little or nothing about a problem.

My analysis

To summarize, the year ahead in CRM will be important for replacing old systems and for integrating new niche applications that sharpen your game.  The costs of these additions will be relatively low due to cloud computing and the nature of some smaller niche applications.  The recession ended in July of 2009 and while it might not feel like a recovery right now, there is ample evidence of improvement.  You can use next year strategically to improve your stance as a recovery picks up steam.  There are good products on the market and vendors are still hungry.  If you miss this opportunity, I think you’ll be saddled with your old and relatively expensive systems for longer than you might like.


A lot of information is coming together this quarter that begins to put new spin on Social CRM.  While we’ve all been busy getting networked in our personal lives and professionally, a huge mountain of data has been accumulating that will make our work in social technology more valuable.

Last week Harvard Business Review released a report sponsored by SAS Institute which shows that while many enterprises are well on their way in adopting various social technologies for business use, the number that also are deploying analytics lags.  I know of at least two other reports that will contribute similar information when they arrive on the scene too.

This disparity between data accumulation and data analytis is temporary because as an organization accumulates customer data without basic analytics most of the data is useless.  If you want to know who your best customers are, it’s relatively easy to get a report that says who bought the most in the shortest period of time.  But with analytics you can also delve into the data to ask questions of the why and why not types and there life gets interesting.

Asking why can often uncover alternatives, things that were or were not done and to examine the root causes.  In finding those causes you can uncover new opportunities, revenue that is there for the taking because you know where and how to look.

Last week in Las Vegas I listened to many smart people from big companies discussing how they used SAS Analytics to gauge customer sentiment, run marketing campaigns and manage the conversations they have with customers.  I learned about millions of found dollars brought to the bottom line because analytics were able to make sense of the data thrown off by each customer transaction.

Now, granted, in a billion dollar company a few million bucks may not seem significant but it’s the easiest money you can make.  There’s nothing to invent, market or sell to get the revenue, it simply comes from doing a job better.  Also, if you happen to be lucky enough to own the P&L for a department using analytics, your growth goal in a challenging economy might look a lot easier to attain with analytics.

Consider the above as playing offense, analytics help with defense too.  According to the Harvard study, most companies don’t know what their customers are saying about them or where (Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc.) they are saying it.  Even my crude research a few weeks ago into using search engines to discover how many customers dislike their vendors, indicates a certain lack of intelligence about the outside world.  If hundreds of thousands of my customers were angry enough to write blogs about my company, I would want to know who they were, but most vendors aren’t at the level of having the appropriate tools yet.

Using analytics to digest customer sentiment and make the data actionable is another way that a company, through reputation management, can potentially earn more on the work it does thus taking some pressure off growth objectives.

So for these and other reasons, social media is building the case for a virtuous relationship between analytics and the data that social media generates.  As a result I see plenty of reasons that analytics will continue to shed its outdated reputation as a technology that is only used by an elite few in an organization.  The big data sets involved also make a strong case for web based analytics processing to help defray the hardware costs, at least for some vendors.

Embedding analytics in the applications and processes—especially those governed by social media—that deal with customers and capture their data will become more important over time.  That’s why it is inescapable to me that analytics will become the secret sauce of a well-run social media or social CRM implementation.  Isn’t there an old adage that says it’s not the data it’s what you do with it?  There should be.


SAS Bucks the Trade Show Trend

Posted: October 28, 2010 in CRM, Technology
Tags: , ,

Trade shows have been dying for many years to the point that they have been all but totally supplanted by vendor sponsored conferences.  The vendors have become adept at the logistics of hosting large numbers of people for upwards of a week in cities like San Francisco, Orlando, Chicago and Las Vegas to name a few.  Along with the care and feeding of masses of customers comes the messaging and at this point the vendor show differs from the conventional trade show considerably.

Where the trade show has been a great place to learn about new products and the reasons for their existence, the vendor conference has increasingly become a place where the vendors saturate their customers with marketing messages.  Some learning may go on too but very often it involves learning how to use a vendor’s products.  So it was a pleasure this week to encounter the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series (PBLS) in Las Vegas.

PBLS is certainly a vendor show complete with partner exhibit floor, keynotes and breakout sessions but there are the similarity ends.  Unlike most vendor and conventional trade shows, the SAS event was by invitation and rather than devolving into a standard vendor performance, the SAS show’s explicit mission was to provoke thinking and idea exchange.

The conference could have easily been a long advertisement for SAS but instead it delved into a discussion of global economic trends and user driven breakouts that explicitly showed how analytics is making a difference in business performance in many vertical markets.  There were presentations and discussions from

  • Retailers (Macy’s, Staples, Chico’s Best Buy and others),
  • Insurance and financial services (Transamerica Life and Protection, Chartis Insurance, UBS Financial, PNC Bank, Premier Bankcard, GE Corporate Treasury)
  • Entertainment and hospitality (Harrah’s Entertainment),
  • Public sector (LA County, Canada Post),
  • Utilities (Oklahoma Gas and Electric, Northeast Utilities),
  • Telcos (AT&T, T-Mobile, Research in Motion)

and too many more to list.

It was refreshing to hear from so many people who believe, like me that there is so much data generated in business today that old ways of using gut instinct are going by the boards and that analytics may be the only way to get an appreciation for what the customer thinks en mass.  And the meeting was a clear indication that global businesses increasingly “get it” when it comes to collecting huge amounts of customer data through transactions as well as through social media.

Nuggets from some memorable ideas and interviews

Jim Goodnight, CEO and Founder of SAS said that education is one of the most important issues facing both our industry and country.  His specific interest is in analytics, of course, but he makes a strong case for educating kids on using information derived from all the data we collect to make better, informed, decisions.  According to Goodnight, SAS is teaching college professors to teach analytics-based decision-making and has sponsored an analytics major at NC State, which is oversubscribed by nearly four fold.

Jim Davis, CMO and wearer of many other hats at SAS, told me that in the last hundred years retailers had “…made buying decisions on gut instinct but that’s not longer possible because there is so much to know.  In a down economy the mindset [of retailers] really changed and using analytics for assortment planning, merchandise planning and other key functions has made the difference between making a small profit and going out of business.”

No wonder then that analytics is enjoying a boom.

Gary King, CIO of Chico’s, White house/Black Market and Soma Intimates told me that analytics “Helps us maintain customer loyalty in a down economy.”

And finally, Eric Williams, CIO of Catalina Marketing, the company that prints your coupons at the grocery store told me, “In this industry things move so rapidly today.  We used to say you don’t have to be first to get involved in a new technology, but today you need to be first or second.”

No doubt the influx of huge amounts of data from digital and social media helps to propel the demand for analytics and this sample only addresses a few retail examples.

But retail is not the only area where analytics has taken on new significance.  The biggest market for SAS is in financial services, banking and insurance.  Even Canada Post uses it.  The thing that ties it all together is using information derived from the torrent of digital data to make better decisions—choices that make or save companies money.

Decisions are driven by some amount of deliberation and that’s where analytics come in and why coming together to think this week in Las Vegas was so important to the more than 600 mid- and senior-level executives who attended.  It was an eye-opener and I wish you could have been there.

SAS Unveils New Analytics Apps

Posted: October 28, 2010 in CRM, Technology
Tags: , ,

It’s often hard to maintain high visibility in the marketplace if you happen to be a private company and for good reason.  Private companies tend to be small and they often do not attract the attention of the financial press precisely because the financial press thrives on the transparency and numbers that small companies prefer to keep to themselves.

But some of the most interesting large companies can also be privately held and while they might be known to the press and analyst community they give the finance guys little to write about.  Too bad too, because you can miss a lot if all you’re looking for is numbers for the shareholders.

Take SAS Institute for example.  Founded in 1976, SAS is a pioneer of the analytics market, has a thirty four percent share—more than any other vendor—generates about $2.3 billion in revenues, never had a down year and has always made a profit.  But they’re private so the numbers don’t get the same attention a public company’s numbers would get because you can’t buy the stock.

According to the company, SAS spends about twenty-four percent of its considerable revenues on research and development, and their eleven-thousand plus employees in over four hundred global offices treat customers like customers think they should be treated.  This alone should be enough to draw some attention but then if you add in the recent award from Fortune magazine for being the best company in the U.S. to work for you get serious wow factor.

James Goodnight co-founded the company with three other people, two of whom left the party early, too bad for them.  Goodnight is the CEO and technical soul of the operation and this week I had the good fortune to attend an analyst and media briefing at their headquarters in Cary, NC.  That was followed by something called the Premier Business Leadership Series event in Las Vegas, a business conference presented by SAS that brings together more than 600 attendees from the public and private sectors to share ideas on critical business issues.

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s been more than three hardware generations since I’ve been to Vegas and I routinely avoid conferences there but I went this time because SAS had some interesting things to say.  First off, they made two product announcements that I can resonate with because they involve social media and more importantly, they make great strides in helping people use social technologies for business purposes.

I’ve been a fan of social networking since 2003 when I wrote about the the Kevin Bacon game and the original research by Harvard University psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960’s that began it all.  But social networking and its enabler, social media, entered a lag period at about that time and they didn’t emerge from it until Facebook overtook MySpace.  Meanwhile blogs became popular and we learned to wiki, which begat an orgy of tweeting and the rest as they say is history.

Lost in the social frenzy, in my humble… is the idea that social technology is a good listening tool, or ought to be.  Social technology after all is a surrogate for an interaction with someone, a way to be present when you are not.  In short it is a way to gather input from other people before launching our latest discourse about our favorite subject—us.  SAS gives me hope that this might actually happen.

Exhibits A and B come in the form of two SAS product announcements—SAS Conversation Center and SAS for Customer Experience Analytics.

SAS Conversation Center most interests me.  The conversation center measures the level of influence that a Tweeter has by analyzing the volume of content the person generates as well as how often the person is included in conversations.  It then compares this information with a company’s taxonomy of topics to determine which area of the business the tweet is aligned with.

This analysis can help a company to determine what’s being said about it and determine which topics to pay attention to and to address.  It may not be as good as a direct conversation but doesn’t have to be.  It need only filter out the majority of tweets that are not relevant and it will be a powerful tool.

I would like to see the conversation center quickly evolve to track other social media, especially Facebook and it would be nice if a control center evolved with it so that a single interface could monitor the social sphere.  We’ll see.

The second announcement, SAS for Customer Experience Analytics is a cloud based application aimed at providing predictive analytics to help companies present customers with the best offers at the right time.  That sounds easy but it is not. Customers, especially when surfing have short attention spans and one chance may be all a vendor gets so the stakes are high.  While other companies have similar offerings, one that has the SAS analytics engine behind it will be an interesting addition.

SAS for Customer Experience Analytics is the latest addition to the SAS cloud suite which includes 19 other analytic applications including SAS Social Media Analytics and SAS OnDemand: Campaign Management.

These products come along at a good time for the evolution of social technologies.  In addition to new products SAS announced the results of a significant study it sponsored.  Conducted with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, the study’s findings are too long to list here so check the company’s web site.  One example will have to suffice till the next time.  Despite social media’s potential to enable companies to listen to and understand their customers, 75 percent of the companies surveyed did not know where their most valuable customers were talking about them, or what was said.

More than anything, these results show that social media is still clearly still in its infancy but solutions like these may be the killer apps that turn social curiosities into the tools we always believed they could be.

SAS Media Day

Posted: October 26, 2010 in CRM, Technology
Tags: ,

I am at the SAS Media Day in Cary, NC today and then on to Las Vegas for a SAS user conference.  The company is poised to announce several new products in the social media analytics space and I will report later along with my analysis.

Not bad for a recession, that’s what I say.  The news from Cloud9 Analytics and Mayfield Fund says a lot about a lot.  First, the nearly moribund venture capital industry is showing signs of life after a couple of long, quiet years.

Last year, 2009, was the worst venture capital year since 1997 measured by the amount of cash invested (about $17.8 billion) and cash raised (about $15.2 billion).  That’s right in 2009 the industry invested more than it raised and that hasn’t happened in a long, long time.  For a benchmark, in 2000 the industry invested just over $100 billion and then you know what happened.  A more typical annual tally in the last decade was between $20 billion and $30 billion.  So the fact that Cloud9 was able to raise $8 million is very interesting news.

Of course, a C-round is an important marker because it means the company is maturing and becoming ready for a liquidity event.  The short event horizon is a sign that the VC’s a stepping carefully into the water again.  When we see a stampede to A round companies it will be a different story.

So, what about Cloud9 makes it appealing?  I think a couple of things.  First, they offer SaaS based analytics but that’s not enough these days.  SAS got into that market a month ago and they’re the gold standard and there are many others doing something with analytics as a SaaS service.  But the thing I like about Cloud9 is that they’re articulating, or starting to, a vision of more strategic use of analytics for the small business through the small enterprise.

SAS can be excused from this conversation, but there are a lot of analytics vendors out there that haven’t gotten beyond the idea of selling people on the tactical use of analytics.

So this announcement has legs and it shows hope that the venture capital industry in resurgent and that analytics is gaining more traction where it’s needed.

Incidentally, the hot markets for venture funding, in order are Biotech, Software, Industrial/Energy, and Medical Devices according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association who compiled the data referenced here.

SAS introduced its Social Media analytics product today and, given that SAS is SAS, it will serve to give some new legitimacy to the field.  Social Media analytics has been around for a long time, probably as long as the Web minus a day or two.  But that doesn’t mean that SAS can’t add to the conversation in some important dimensions.

For instance, two of the major constraints on analytics have always been CPU throughput and memory.  The more CPU cycles you can throw at the problem of finding a needle in a proverbial haystack the faster you can find that needle.  But CPU only works on the data in memory and if you need more data from disk each seek slows you down.  So SAS has done a lot to provide the highest performance possible by throwing CPU and memory at the problem.

Last night at the opening keynote, Dr. Jim Goodnight, showed what this can mean.  He took an analysis process from a bank that had taken eighteen hours to load and reduced it to a couple of minutes by putting the whole shebang in memory and dividing the task among just over a thousand processors with multiple cores.  The importance here should be obvious, that massive amounts of data that a large enterprise might typically generate or have generated about it can now be analyzed in time to make the result relevant for ongoing business processes.

The simple performance demonstration preceded today’s announcement of SAS’s social media analytics for a good reason.  If you add together high performance and the very large datasets you arrive at a useful solution for corporate marketers trying to make sense of the twitter-facebook-blog-and-other-social-media data streams that are a fact of life today.  As the demo at the press conference made clear, it’s nice to know that sentiment may be up or down but it’s even better if you can analyze it by source, season and other parameters.  The result may enable a marketer to pinpoint a particular article or post and determine the most effective course of action.

In the right hands, Social Media analytics can also help you understand the unintentional information that’s given off by your competitors whenever they enter the social web or when the market reacts to something they do.

SAS is offering its analytics as an on-demand package but it’s not simple or something that you buy this morning and start using this afternoon.  The company has a well thought out process for on-boarding customers and sticking with them over time to mentor, coach and occasionally perform consulting projects.  This all seems very reasonable.

Several smaller Web marketing and marketing analytics companies have taken the same approach lately of providing product and ongoing service and it’s a business model that I think will become more common over time.  We’ve spent decades trying to make analytics simpler to use and the results have been good.  But the reality is that it will always be something close to rocket science to understand and use tools that predict what people might do with a given amount of information.  Also, the marketplace is changing.  In a zero-sum marketplace, like the one we’ll be in for a while, it is shrewd for a company to cross sell service rather than another product.  Selling service further cements the bond and enables further discovery leading to more cross and upselling.

So the net of the SAS announcement.  Interesting that SAS has put a stake in the ground in social media analytics, their enterprise customers will appreciate it and I think it’s important for the continued growth of the company to offer a service like this.

One of’s challenges in driving Chatter’s acceptance comes from positioning it for the buying public.  That’s a tall order since the company is simultaneously trying to establish a new product and its category.

The product and the category are classified as social networking and leverage the wisdom of crowds — James Surowiecki’s idea.  But Chatter is unlike any of the products that may help a group come up with the answer to a quantitative question of the type, How many jellybeans are in this jar? which Surowiecki uses a lot in his 2004 best seller.  Nonetheless, Surowiecki does address the Chatter problem as one of coordination and the wisdom of crowds is a good approach to dealing with coordination with some caveats.

To review briefly, the wisdom of crowds is almost self explanatory — the crowd is smarter than any one of its members and crowd wisdom can lead you to some astonishing revelations such as the number of jellybeans in the mythical jar, the best route to work, which styles will be popular in the fall and which won’t.

The Chatter problem is different from all those examples because the group being sampled is internal to the organization and the customer problem the organization is trying to address may be unique.  Regardless, there are three attributes of a successful wisdom of crowds strategy that all approaches seem to need according to Surowiecki — diversity, independence and decentralization.

The three strategies work remarkably well for the jellybean problem and they fit the Chatter problem well too.  Briefly, diversity means getting input from as many sources as possible, not just the smartest people in the room, but everyone.  Smart people tend to think alike and a creative spark can come from anywhere so the more the merrier.  Also, diversity means capturing bad ideas as well as good and the wisdom of crowds makes it possible to let bad ideas cancel each other out leaving you with the good stuff.

Independence means letting each actor in the crowd do what he or she does best without attempting to influence them unduly.  Many of us think nothing of begging friends to vote for our ideas in a social forum as often as possible, but as soon as we do, it wrecks the idea of independence and therefore the whole wisdom thing.  Finally, decentralization is tied with independence in this example, your begging produces a command and control hierarchy which is responsible for the wrecking.

So, what about Chatter?  Chatter neatly implements the three primary social strategies of crowd wisdom for the benefit of the organization.  First, there’s diversity — everyone does a job, their job, not someone else’s.  That means support does support and sales does sales and when there is a customer problem involving a deal being held up by a support issue, everyone does their part.

Chatter helps this process by opening up lines of communication — and ad hoc coordination — so that sales knows what support is doing and vice versa.  Importantly, anyone else who wants to know and lend a hand can also have a ringside seat.  This is critical because other independent actors, perhaps a manager, VP or C-level executive, can shine a light on the situation too.

Finally, the critical piece is decentralization.  In a Chatter crowd, no one has to be a dictator, taking control of a situation and directing people to do certain things.  People do their jobs and that turns out to be enough.  The secret ingredient to this decentralized approach is corporate culture.  A culture that says, do what makes your boss happy might have a tough time benefitting from Chatter.  But a culture that operates on a prime directive approach — like Google’s or Star Trek’s — will do well.

The prime directive can be as simple as “Don’t be evil,” or “First do no harm,” or more practically, “Be good to customers, and always to the right thing,” is all that’s needed.  An employee operating along the lines of the culture’s prime directive should be praised and rewarded regardless of outcome, which will usually be fine.

I am at the 35th meeting of the SAS User Group this week in Seattle.  SAS is one of those gems of a company we all wish we worked for.  In fact, they just won an award for being the best company in America to work for, an award that goes with similar awards from all over the world.  I haven’t spent a lot of time following SAS since I worked at a competitor more than a decade ago but what I am learning here is truly remarkable.

I don’t know what SAS’s prime directive is but I know that every employee does.  You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their conversations and it is definitely pro customer.  What makes SAS such a gem is that it is privately held and unlike many private companies this one has revenues north of $2.3 billion and it reinvests more than 20 percent in its products and services.  And it appears to me that founder and CEO, Dr. Goodnight, has a prime directive that encompasses customers and employees that I assume goes like this: treat employees well and they’ll treat customers well.  It’s a strategy that has worked well for more than 34 years.

SAS grew into a powerhouse without social media — though today it is introducing several products in that realm.  Most big companies are not private and they have shareholders to keep happy as well as customers and employees.  I can’t help but wonder though if applying crowd wisdom through a product like Chatter might help many other companies to apply their prime directives in ways that help them keep customers, employees and shareholders happy by just doing good.  The prime directive idea is tied to corporate culture that that may be the best indicator of whether or not a company is Chatterizeable.  (Is that a word?)