Whist I was away in Moldova I looked through some academic papers on SNA. There are many papers on the subject so I just looked at the ones which seemed to be most relevant: those that discussed SNA using email data. One paper included analysis of the text of the email as well as the less sensitive information such as sender and recipient so this was not directly applicable to email log analysis. Others, however, had recognised that an organisation is unlikely to allow analysis of email contents and concentrated on what could be learnt from other information in the log (excluding message subject). Here is a summary of what these papers demonstrated could be learnt:
- The real organisation structure (as opposed to what’s on organisational charts)
- Various ranking of individuals
- Identification of vulnerabilities
- Rate of adaptability to change
- Assessing morale
There was also some interesting insight into how to squeeze as much information from email logs as possible. For example I had not really considered the time an email was sent as a particularly useful piece of data but it can be when looking at how quickly an email is sent back by a recipient (i.e. A send B and email, 5 minutes later B sends A and email); the faster the response from, B to A, the more likely A is more important.
Unfortunately what the academic papers do not do is put value on what any of this information and analysis is worth; I expect this will only come from experience or looking at the experience of others, as we learn more I will post more.