Social data -- including posts, comments and reviews -- are still largely isolated from business-critical enterprise data, according to a new report from the Altimeter Group.

The study considered 35 organizations — including Caesar’s Entertainment and Symantec — that use social data in context with enterprise data, defined as information collected from CRM, business intelligence, market research and email marketing, among other sources. It found that 
the average enterprise-class company owns 178 social accounts and 13 departments — including marketing, human resources, field sales and legal — are actively engaged on social platforms.

“Organizations have invested in social media and tools are consolidating but it’s all happening in a silo,” said Susan Etlinger, the report’s author. “Tools tend to be organized around departments because that’s where budgets live...and the silos continue because organizations are designed for departments to work fairly autonomously.”

Somewhat surprisingly, the report finds social data is often difficult to integrate because it is touched by so many organizational departments, all with varying perspectives on the information. The report also notes the numerous nuances within social data make it problematic to apply general metrics across the board and, in many organizations, social data doesn’t carry the same credibility as its enterprise counterpart. 

“This is because it’s the first time brands are getting a view of themselves from the outside in, but social data is not going anywhere,” Etlinger noted.

The companies that are making the most progress on this front eschew the “ownership” question of social data and instead build multi-disciplinary centers of excellence that don’t follow a traditional org chart, she added.

The report also categorizes the maturity of social data integration into four phases: ad-hoc, formalized, integrated and holistic, as well as maps six dimensions of maturity.

“Most companies are between ad-hoc and formalized right now,” Etlinger said. “Companies like Caesar’s and Symantec have an approach that is much more emerging. And some companies are farther along on one dimension than another.”

For PR, integration can put a process into place for work that has been done manually since the emergence of social data.

“PR has been shooting [relevant data] over to departments for years -- and it has been a burden that they don’t always get credit for,” she added.

Among those organizations integrating social and enterprise data, business intelligence (42%) is the most common point of convergence, followed by market research (35%) and CRM (27%) email marketing (27%) and sensor data (4%).