Community Intelligence: a Finovate summary

After several issues with my blog, I am (rather belatedly) blogging about my thoughts from FinovateStartup 2008.  For those of you unfamiliar with the event, take a minute to read my summary of the event and the IP Commerce involvement posted here.

Are you back?  Good.

Finovate may have been one of the best events at which I have had the pleasure of demonstrating.  The rapid-fire format and the broad cross-section of industry players made for a compelling day.  As with any such event, however, there is always a theme.

In this case, the theme is best described as "Community Intelligence."

That term, in my recollection, was not actually used by any of the presenters.  Rather the "buzzword" was social.  Social personal finance, social lending, social saving, social stock portfolios, credit reporting with social elements, etc.

So, how does this translate to community intelligence?

In January of this year, I wrote a blogpost entitled Data, Data, Data about Data.  I encourage you to read the post as a background for the remainder of this discussion.  In brief, I discussed the impact that metadata is having upon the world of social personal finance. 

As I predicted would happen, the impact of leveraging community generated metadata was in full display.  The social finance teams continued to speak about automated cleaning of uploaded transactions based on prior information generated by the community.  The social stock sites spoke of the importance of community rating as a tool to drive more intelligent investment decisions.  Even the social saving firms (be it general or for a specific niche, like college loans) spoke of leveraging the community to drive better savings habits.

Is this a positive shift?

Absolutely.  The base assumption is that the intelligence generated by community interaction is better than the individual.  (NOTE:  There are some who would disagree with this assertion.)

I find this focus on community intelligence interesting for another reason entirely.

Each of the scenarios presented rely on the power of community metadata.  And while I personally find that story very compelling, it is only a stepping stone to truly leveraging metadata in new, unique fashions.  In many cases, the metadata used in the social flows was generated manually by the user community.  In some cases tag creation…in others simple surveys.

Metadata should not be limited solely to user-generated content.  A survey has the capability to tell you what someone thinks.  Information that is generated through payment transactions, however, will tell you what someone did.  The inclusion of this type of data has the capability of driving substantial intelligence throughout the value-chain between the customer, merchant, bank, and payment service provider.

Companies that are able to combine user-generated metadata with metadata that is generated through transactional information will have a very compelling value proposition indeed.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques?
The comment form is below. . .

May 14, 2008

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