I’ve been doing some thinking about the 1st half of 2010 and have some observations, some of which deserve a probably longer treatment than I’m about to give them and some of them that only need a sentence or two. They are not entirely random but they are a series of slightly disconnected thoughts on what’s occurred in 2010 re: SCRM/CRM. Keep in mind they are off the cuff. If you have other reflections on the first half, please let me know them. What stood out to you? This is a big big year for SCRM and its worth thinking about halfway so we can make it better for the rest of the year. Remember, CRM Evolution 2010 is coming up August 2-4 in NY at the Marriott Marquis. Get your butts there so we can blab about all these developments.
The Biggest Picture
- As of midyear 2010, Social CRM has been established as a legitimate section of the CRM market. We have an industry accepted set of definitions (here’s one – mine and here’s another – Mike Fauscette’s); we have a series of projected use cases with Altimeter’s work earlier this year, and we have the first crack at a set of criteria to identify leaders and a projected market size, through Gartner’s SCRM Magic Quadrant, a work in progress. We have companies exploring the idea of a strategy and using the technologies of CRM and social software to provide customer input and output channels – though its rarely called SCRM in any holistic sense. SCRM is now established as part of mainstream business thinking and increasingly as a practical solution in part and to a lesser extent, as a whole. Its no longer just a concept or abstraction.
- The conversation around SCRM is also falling into some of the same bad patterns that beset CRM. There is far too much nasty self-aggrandizing blather that denigrates other people and doesn’t belong in a rational discourse. Traditional CRM has had this problem for years. Amidst the fruitful back and forth, there are several chiming in who are simply out for their own advancement at the expense of others. They are more character assassins than they are participants in debate and definition. They aren’t moving things forward. They are holding the conversation back. Simply put, this needs to stop. Now.
- The number of vendor offerings in SCRM or some related facet is increasing exponentially. What makes them interesting is that both from the CRM side and the social side, there are some that are approaching what you would imagine SCRM to be technologically – as fully evolved offerings where social and CRM are thoroughly interwoven – not two different products integrated. More on that later.
- There has some movement in the convergence of SCRM and Enterprise 2.0. Thought leaders particularly Sameer Patel and Dion Hinchcliffe, both focused on the E20 space, have been writing about it. Practitioner companies are working on developing strategies for internal and external collaboration that approximate it. Vendors are extending their solutions – more typically from E20 to SCRM than the other way around. I have to admit, I expected this one. All in all, convergence is a real possibility and its now not just a possible trend, its happening. Exciting.
- There is an increasing interest by major enterprises in exploring collaboration and innovation – with value co-creation at the heart of the discussion. While seemingly a bit high flying, it actually isn’t. We are seeing a growth of marketplaces for vendors – pretty much the entire enterprise software world has them now to institutions like Connect and Develop at Procter and Gamble to the wildly successful Innocentive – the 160,000 strong scientist and engineer innovation/co-creation based social network. The interest skyrocketed the first half of 2010.
- The development speed of thought leadership in SCRM has been meteoric this year. For example, while 18 mos ago I could have counted the SCRM thought leadership – the most public of it at least – on the fingers of one hand – among them at that time Brent Leary and Mike Fauscette, now there are not only a set of then unknown individuals but even a loosely organized group called the AC – not the cable TV AC but the Social CRM Accidental Community (twitter handle is scrm_ac) (get it? S-C-R-M A-C?) – among those are Mitch Lieberman, Mark Tamis, Brian Vellmure, Wim Rampen, Prem Kumar, Scott Rogers, Mike Boysen, Michael Krigsman, Paul Sweeney.
- Probably the individual thought leader who had the fastest ascent to the top is Esteban Kolsky, a former Gartner analyst, who’s words are pretty much always golden and his humor pretty much always funny. Ironically, he was pretty close to the top anyway but the last six months have just solidified him as one of the top guys in the space. His name is mentioned everywhere now.
- I would have to say that the institution gaining the most influence in the space is the Altimeter Group, largely due to the work of Ray Wang and Jeremiah Owyang. Both highly respected analysts in different areas in their Forrester Group years, their current combo makes them outright powerful and with the extremely well known Charlene Li (her new book, Open Leadership is da bomb and loaded with case studies to prove its point)
- There are some more hidden gems in the SCRM thought leadership space who don’t have the same visibility as thought leaders but who are insightful and paying serious attention to the space. They aren’t publicity seekers – just smart. Bernard Dupperin, Laurence Buchanan (CAP Gemini’s CRM chieftain in EMEA) are names to watch for. Because we are all so friggin’ focused on the enterprise we don’t pay enough attention to small business. Brent Leary does and he is the uncontested thought leader in SMB SCRM. The last six months have locked and loaded that.
- There is a younger group (Gen Yers) of prominents (I don’t want to say influencers yet, though that wouldn’t be an unfair characterization) that showed up in the Social CRM world in 2010 that are insightful, very good writers, showing keen knowledge of the space they are in and, coolest of all, have a visible passion for it. I would have to put Jacob Morgan of Chess Media and Maria Ogneva of Attensity at the top of the current list – they are not only very smart but easily the most prolific writers of the younger set. Two up and comers in this, who need to write a considerable amount more, are Lauren Hall Stigerts of nGenera and Blake Landau of BlueKiwi. Noticeably, with the exception of Jacob they are all part of the vendor universe.
- The vendors are generating some of the thought leaders too and the view of vendors is beginning to change so that a number of employees of those vendors are being accepted as thought leaders, despite their “origins.” The last six months has seen not only the above but people like Chief Scientist at Lithium, Michael Wu, who actually is doing key stuff on influencers – and how to define them – rather than the pat crap that says Retweet equals Twitter influence. Also, Mitch Lieberman, now on his own, established himself as a thought leader at SugarCRM. ”Vendorhood” (new word) is no longer an onus for getting original thinking accepted.