Embed LinkedIn search in your BI application!

I recently got to listen to a presentation about using LinkedIn in the context of sales and marketing. LinkedIn is a wonderfully successful and rich professional/social network, where you can find co-workers, past colleagues, old school mates etc. The difference between LinkedIn and other social media sites is that most folks consider their Facebook or twitter accounts for non-work activity, as well as work occasionally. LinkedIn is focused primarily on work experience and expertise, and more of a “professionals” network. Well, the speaker was pointing out all the wonderful ways in which LinkedIn can help those in sales and marketing obtain leads and introductions into companies and individuals, and while he was speaking I started imagining how combining the power of the social network/media with the power of BI can produce some pretty powerful apps. So, as an example, I tried to see if I can create a simple BI app that will connect to, say, the corporate CRM system, pull names and stats of companies and contacts within the companies, and in parallel, search for the LinkedIn profiles of those companies or individuals. Neat, right?

Well, fortunately, LinkedIn has a simple url query string that is used for searching, so it was not hard to come up with the search convention. The app I created has two sections:

The top section illustrates the connectivity to the company CRM system. In this example, I hard coded some “test” data to demonstrate a use case, or navigation flow:

  1. Scroll through a list of companies (can add search of course as well).
  2. Click a company name to get stats from CRM system (some overall stats, sales + pipeline numbers)
  3. Review the contacts in the CRM system from that company


Pretty simple right? Well, the kicker is that the bottom half of the screen will refresh with the appropriate LinkedIn search results based on each click. So, click on a company name, and the company name gets searched on. Click on an individual name, and the individual name + company name gets searched on. This kind of interface can help sales and marketing folks quickly mine internal databases for information stored in them, and connect it with their own personal network data, to come up with new connections and opportunities! And do all this quickly and easily. Feel free to download the example app here. You will need to extract the .zip file and launch the “LinkedInBIApp.html” file. This file embeds the BI app (a BusinessObjects Xcelsius based swf file) and has a few lines of javascript that control the integration of the content between the BI app and LinkedIn. You might be prompted by the Flash plugin to enable security on the file (since it communicated with an external website). And, you will need to login to your LinkedIn account to see search results. That’s about it! The rest should be self-explanatory.

I am convinced that the two major trends that will influence the BI industry over the next few years are social media and mobile devices. I am hoping to continue exploring both and deliver new and exciting new ideas for converging the two worlds, as they come together.

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1 Response to Embed LinkedIn search in your BI application!

  1. Facebook has shown that socialnetworks are here to stay, in whatever guise that happens to be. The socialnetwork is perhaps going to transform our identities online, giving a real global village.

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