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Digital traces for business intelligence: A case study of mobile telecoms service brands in Greece

Giannis Milolidakis (Technological Education Institution of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece and Euromed Management, Marseille, France)
Demosthenes Akoumianakis (Department of Applied Informatics and Multimedia, Technological Education Institution of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece)
Chris Kimble (Euromed Management, Marseille, France and MRM-CREGGOR, Université Montpellier II, Montpellier, France)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Article publication date: 4 February 2014




Data from social media (SM) has grown exponentially and created new opportunities for businesses to supplement their business intelligence (BI). However, there are many different platforms all of which are in a constant state of evolution. The purpose of this paper is to describe a generic methodology for the gathering of data from SM and transforming it into valuable BI.


The approach taken is termed virtual excavation and builds on the similarities between the manipulation of technological artefacts virtual communities using various forms of SM and the excavation and analysis of physical artefacts found in archaeological settlements.


The paper reports on a case study using this technique that looks at the Facebook fan pages of three mobile telecommunications service providers in Greece. The paper identifies many of the standard BI indicators as well as demonstrating that additional information relating to cross-page use can be collected by looking at how users manipulate artefact such as the “like” button in Facebook.

Research limitations/implications

Although the methodology is widely applicable, the paper only reports on the analysis of one platform, Facebook, and is heavily reliant on visualization tools. Future work will examine different platforms and different tools for analysis.

Practical implications

The paper discusses some of the ways in which this approach could be used and suggests some areas in which it might be applied.


The approach of using virtual excavations to extract BI from virtual communities in online SM offers a systematic approach for dealing with a variety of information from a variety of different media that is not found in techniques based on information systems or management science.



Milolidakis, G., Akoumianakis, D. and Kimble, C. (2014), "Digital traces for business intelligence: A case study of mobile telecoms service brands in Greece", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 66-98.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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