With Enterprise 2.0 this week (where I’ll be for an afternoon and a few evenings), there’s plenty of social networking integration for business buzz going around. Essentially, over the past year there’s been a (relative) slew of offerings that allow companies to integrate with social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, and often seek to lace in social networking aspects into other offers.
[C]ompanies need an organized approach using enterprise software that connects business units to the social web – giving them the opportunity to respond in near-real time, and in a coordinated fashion.
Social CRM does not replace existing CRM efforts – instead it adds more value. In fact, Social CRM augments social networking to serve as a new channel within existing end-to-end CRM processes and investments. Social CRM enhances the relationship aspect of CRM and builds on improving the relationships with more meaningful interactions. As the “Godfather of CRM,” Paul Greenberg notes, “We’ve moved from the transaction to the interaction with customers, though we haven’t eliminated the transaction – or the data associated with it… Social CRM focuses on engaging the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It’s (i.e. Social CRM is) the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.”
Self-service Sales Funnels
The interest in Social CRM is a lot more, well, CRM-oriented than the data-mining aspects I’m interested in, but it’s different faces of the same opportunity. In these things, I tend to play a seemingly Debbie Downer role with my line that “all roads lead to better junk mail.” I’m not actually one of the Adbuster faithful here, but I do think it’s important for people to realize what sites like Facebook &co. are enabling businesses to do and the free, self-service sales funnel labor “consumers” are doing for large companies.
In whatever this space is called (it’s definitely something in the “Enterprise 2.0″ orbit), the ability to connect to existing social networks and web sites is spreading more virally than SharePoint. Merely “connecting” to sites isn’t the main thing: bi-directional integration and sucking out customer/user data is the real cream in the chocolate egg.
There’s really no end of vendor offerings in this space. Offerings like the “coming soon” Salesforce Chatter kind of shoe-horn here as well as things like Jive’s “New Agenda for Social Business”. While folks like Eloqua, Loopfuse, and even traditional web analytics folks like Adobe Omniture are (or should be) all circling around this like hungry vultures. There’s plenty of companies I’m leaving off, check out the Social CRM paper for a metric butt-ton of them.
There’s several things going on here to enable this:
- A good saturation of consumers and customers in sites like Twitter, Facebook, and other places – these are people who are spending money with companies that are the potential customers for vendors in this area.
- All of the demographic data (location, background, affinities), photos, and relationship tagging is creating the best junk-mail targeting cloud ever know and companies want to mine the crap out of that data to sell more to their customers
- The wide spread use of open APIs and data standards (de facto and otherwise) are enabling technology companies to wire together their software with these online sites, making it technologically and economically feasible for folks like Jive to suck in all that social data.
- Finally, the most speculative thing: there’s just something about Apple’s iPhone and iPad innovations that makes people believe that IT can actually help grow their business now-a-days. This a is huge shift from the “IT is a black-pit of budget send and I have a 500 meg email quote to-boot” attitude that’s existing for a decade or more.
Throw in the slight opening of budget coffers in 2010, and it’s a good time for the better junk-mail segment of Enterprise 2.0.