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Software-defined networking

Topic Facets: Software-Defined Networking

May 24, 2018 - influencer content marketing, influencer management, Practitioner Marketing, Share of voice - ,
By: Turner Sblendorio, Chris Riley, Yolanda Fintschenko

While we specialize in producing expert-written content for highly technical markets, perhaps the greatest service we provide our customers is developing topics for their blogs and longer-form content marketing assets. While it is certainly possible to create your own topic strategy, normally, part of our partnership with our customers involves helping them generate a topic for each piece of practitioner-written content we deliver to them.

We’ve written this series to help our customers and marketing managers look under the hood to discover how we develop topics. Examined here is software-defined networking.

Software-defined networking (SDN) describes a variety of network technologies used to make the network as efficient as the virtualized server and storage infrastructure of the modern data center. SDN enables a rapid response from network engineers and administrators to changing business requirements. With SDN, network administrators can influence traffic from a centralized control console without having to physically move individual switches. SDNs ensure service delivery to wherever they are required, irrespective of what specific devices, servers or other hardware are connected. Key technologies for SDN implementation are functional separation, network virtualization and automation through programmability.

April 2018 Software-Defined Networking

Our approach to determining topics within this conversation begins and ends with a share of voice (SoV) calculation, which ultimately gives us an idea of a vendor’s share of this conversation (SoC). Our share of voice methodology is described in some detail in a variety of places, but here is a quick summary:

Share of conversation (or conversation share of voice) is the percentage of any specific conversation you own. Conversation share of voice is more precise because it looks at specific conversations within a market versus focusing only on global SoV compared to competitors. While it’s interesting to know how your brand or product is doing in the world of all products, you can make the greatest impact by going local with specific topic areas.

The Re:each Share of Conversation Calculation for Software-Defined Networking

Below, we will dig deeper into why the results were the way they were.

Fixate’s Re:each platform has algorithms which derive conversation share of voice across traditional and social media. The phases of calculation are data collection, normalization, and interpretation. We can’t give you the secret sauce, but we can give you an idea of how we do it.

Core Calculations

  1. Identify your place: Identify specific keywords and concepts associated with your brand and product based on those concepts that appear the most in all conversations you participate in.
  2. Determine your conversations: From there, the concepts are applied across a body of sources in order to identify the three conversations which are most relevant to you. For each vendor, there are three types of conversations identified:
  • Market
  • Demand Gen
  • Mindshare/Thought Leadership
  1. Find your competition: Competition is derived by identifying the top 4-9 vendors in each conversation based on their SoV in those conversations.
  2. Determining relevant topics: Topic suggestions are derived from entity/concept extraction of content that was most prevalent in each conversation selected over the set period of time. Those concepts that had the greatest reach in that conversation are weighted and end up as the core elements of a suggestion.

Data is collected from traditional social media sources as well as trusted media sources for each broad market. Weight is put on content based on the source it came from using a proprietary algorithm. Currently, calculations are done at the end of each month for the entire month’s worth of data.

Domain Expertise

The machine learning used in SoV is human-supervised (Human-in-the-Loop). SoV calculations can be fully automated; however, topic suggestions are subject to language challenges, and domain expertise based on raw data collection. Domain experts validate SoV calculations, and reformulate raw entity extraction on top-performing content in each conversation to build coherent topic suggestions.

Results that Influenced Topic Selection for Software-Defined Networks in April 2018

The key players in the software-defined networking market include Cisco, Dell Inc. (U.S.), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (U.S.), VMware Inc. (U.S.), Extreme Networks (U.S.), Nexenta Systems Inc. (U.S.), Riverbed Technology (U.S.), Silver Peak (U.S.), Metaswitch Networks (U.K.), Pivot3 (U.S.), Infoblox (U.S.) among others.

Industry News

Cisco, long considered the leader in networking devices, has been leading the emerging practice for some time, and has been leading industry news, followed closely by the other players that already dominate the industry. Extreme Networks, Silver Peak, and Nixenta, among others, are an important part of the conversation (although not in the top five companies with SoC). Below are a few of the industry news items driving the conversation in SDN:


Facebook pages have an outsized influence over other social media as an SDN conversation-driving platform for content. Below are the influencers driving the conversations about SDNs in March 2018 on social media networks:

Highest-Impact Blogs

Top blogs driving the SDN in April 2018 were:

TraDove’s blog

The CampingCanuck Blog

iCrowd Newswire

Practitioner Profile

While SDN is a “newish” technology, you will notice that conversations are still widely dominated by entrenched network players. This will impact the practitioner you choose for content creation. The first requirement is to find a network professional—someone who has 10-plus years of experience in networking technologies. Their experience needs to also include security, because security is a big driver in adopting new technologies. Finally, the practitioner needs to have experience in and acceptance of agility. The typical network security practitioner does not embrace change, but for compelling content in this field, he or she needs to. The objective is enthusiastic content supporting modernization of network infrastructure, backed by the practical experience that will appeal to the fear trait in his or her peers.

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