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Published November 4th 2014

5 Things You Must Consider Before Buying a Command Center

Businesses across the globe are increasingly relying on social listening to help shape their business strategy – from marketing to PR, to customer service and beyond.

With the next generation of social media command centers evolving and making waves across every industry, decision makers are undoubtedly weighing up whether to take the plunge and join companies such as Monster and Moneygram and invest in their own setup.

Of course the prospect of the command center is attractive, but there is still often confusion about how they can be used and how brands can make the most of actually having one. Even when brands are clear on what they want to get out of their command center, there are still some important factors that need to be considered.

Here, we outline 5 key things decision makers must think about before making the investment of selecting a command center partner.


The analytics behind the scenes

The command center is of course a very visual beast. But that’s not to forget what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s translating massive amounts of real-time data into those easily comprehensible, great looking visuals.

As such, one of the most important aspects of a command center is how strong and reliable the analytics software powering the displays is.

The analytics underpin the entire setup. You’re going to need complete data, so that you don’t miss anything important. Also, during the query writing stage, there should be enough operators to easily pinpoint the desired mentions and filter out any spam (because we all know there will be a whole ton of that). The analytics should offer effective ways of grouping, dissecting and organizing the data before the visualization stage.

Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility

The command center shouldn’t just sit static. It needs to adapt to the changing needs of a business. Flexibility is key – it ensures that as the ways a business use the platform grows and evolves, reconfiguring the displays to reflect this is not an arduous task.

The three main points to consider are:

  • Flexibility of data collection and segregationweeding out spam and uncovering clean samples should be straightforward. After collection, there should be simple systems in place to identify, separate and categorize specific discussions to organize the information.
  • Flexibility of the visualizations – the command center should include an extensive variety of scenes that cover at the very least mentions, share of voice, competitive analysis, sentiment analysis, regional analysis, brand-related trends and campaign measurement.
  • Flexibility of the displays – you should be able to seamlessly switch between displays so that each team or viewer can quickly bring forward the information they need.


Who is in control?

Security is key. It’s important that the user interface allows companies to delegate responsibilities and permissions – specifically designating which users can build queries, edit displays, create scenes and send messages facilitates a more organized and efficient workflow.

Additionally, businesses should be able to control which devices, be them mobile, tablet or laptop, are capable of editing certain aspects of the display. Being able to limit permissions minimizes potential security issues or user errors.


Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.52.02 AM

Integrating data from multiple sources

When in place, the command center needs to be able to display data (beautifully visualized, of course) from a variety of sources.

Displaying social data alongside existing data sets provides brands with an even greater opportunity to understand and predict their consumers’ behaviors. Leading businesses are benefiting from using command centers that integrate various types of information into a single display area.

The importance of scalability

Command centers are like anything else. You’re going to want to upgrade at some point. We’ve seen cases of CEOs of companies choosing to install extra screens in their own offices so that they can easily keep an eye on what’s going on at all times. And why not?

Systems that can easily be upgraded to connect new screens to the existing setup are ideal and should be considered right at the very beginning of the purchase process.

Want to know more about command centers? No problem. We’ve just published this handy free guide, designed to cover everything you’ll need to know before making a decision on what setup is best for your business.

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Now you know.

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