Social media analytics: SaaS or on-premises?

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On June 4, 2013, IBM launched the software as a service (SaaS) version of IBM Social Media Analytics to enable new customers to take advantage of the power of sentiment analysis, demographics and evolving topics without maintaining the hardware and software infrastructure. Social media analytics not only enables marketing professionals to be more agile and responsive to the customer, it also facilitates whole organizations to measure social media across risk, human capital, supply chain and customer service spectrums.

While the software itself is the same, there are a few differences between the SaaS and the enterprise-level on-premises versions of the software that you should be aware of before deciding which version you want to purchase.

In general, the SaaS version is meant to be used as-is, with only query configuration necessary to perform your analysis against the public social media sites. If you require customization, it is best to stick with the on-premises model. Here are some examples of customization.

Internal data

The on-premise version comes with the data fetcher toolkit, which allows you (or IBM Services or Business Partners) to easily write code to read in data from providers not included in our large list of blogs, forums and news sites. This includes pulling in data from Lotus Connections, or other intranet site, or your corporate website’s forum. If you require analysis of these social media sources, be sure to choose on-premises. Otherwise, you are still a candidate for SaaS.


Because we cannot resell the tweets we acquire, all secondary access to the Twitter messages is restricted. This doesn’t affect any of the analytics, but any export of data will show “restricted” instead of the original tweet. If you need the original tweets to be stored, you will need the on-premises version.

Corporate LDAP

The SaaS model contains its own user-management system. If you require integration to your corporate LDAP, you will need the on-premises version.

Common functionality

Our social data is stored an IBM DB2 database, which is available for further processing. This will work with SaaS and on-premises (SaaS data is SSL-encrypted). With an appropriate IBM Cognos Business Intelligence or IBM SPSS Modeler license, it is straightforward to build additional reports or statistical models on top of the initial sentiment analysis and demographic analysis. See for more details.


We’ve worked hard to get you truly meaningful analytics on the social data that affects your business. And now with the SaaS version, it’s available to you now, to supplement our popular on-premises version. The choice is yours; let’s start digging deeper.


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