September 23rd, 2008 by Lauren McKay

Social CRM has invaded the conference scene. I can’t seem to get away from the topic — And I don’t want to. It’s fascinating and frankly, quite exciting. Last week at Gartner Web Innovation and Web Portals, Content, and Collaboration, enterprise 2.0 worked itself into quite a number of sessions. It comes as no surprise that Oracle OpenWorld is giving a shout-out to Social CRM, too. 

Oracle’s Anthony Lye gave an “unplugged” session with the press this morning, reviewing the vendors social CRM standpoint. More on Oracle’s social apps to come. (I smell a story in the works). Oracle seems to have its eye on the prize when it comes to integrating enterprise data with social networking applications. 

Throughout my travels, I have had some pretty interesting conversations revolving around the social Web and what social networking means for business. Most conference attendees I have come across seem to be very in tune with what’s going on. However, I did have lunch with some people last week who went on and on about the evils of Facebook. Both were IT workers for fairly large companies and both had blocked Facebook, MySpace and Flickr from employees. I nearly gasped when I heard this. You’ve got it all wrong!” I wanted to shout. 

Blocking Facebook will inevitably drive your employees to another social site because let’s face it, there’s no way to avoid Enterprise 2.0. If you block Facebook, shouldn’t you also block WordPress and Blogger? Those are both social Web sites. What about Amazon or Digg? My point is, there’s no clear distinction when it comes to social networking. While Facebook might not be as relevant of a marketing tool for a financial firm as it is for say, an entertainment business, it’s still possible to gain business benefits from it. Take, for example, another conversation I had last night with a PR exec. He said he can barely deal with email anymore. His inbox gets so bogged down, if people really want to reach him, write on his Facebook wall.  

According to an Avanade white paper, which is an IT consultancy based on Microsoft technologies, with research provided by Coleman Parkes, 58 percent of companies agree that senior managers do not understand the potential that social networking offers both for employees and customers. This disconnect is a real problem, but with software vendors diving into social networking, hopefully the value will come to light for disbelievers. 

**Bonus points for anyone who can tell me in what movie the phrase “get socialized” is referenced.

**Speaking of social apps, if you haven’t checked out Josh Weinberger’s tweeting from OpenWorld, you must do so. The man doesn’t eat. He doesn’t sleep. He tweets.

Interesting observation Lauren. I attended Monday’s packed Social CRM session presented by Mark Wollen and the interest in social web technology was extremely high. Afterwards I talked to a few of the attendees and from the depth of conversation my impression is that the move toward social web technology is more a trend than a fad.

I suspect many companies will find that customer service is an excellent focus point for launching a social CRM initiative because the strength of “social” comes from the strength of the underlying community. Service and support is a natural point where shared interests between companies and their customers come together. It’s much more difficult to build a vibrant community if you start by marketing or selling. Do you find this to be the case? I’ll be looking forward to reading more about social CRM and will look for additional coverage in Destination CRM.

For your bonus question, was it Mean Girls?

Comment by Mike Cichon — — September 24, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

Indeed it was Mean Girls!
Kudos to you, Mike!

Comment by Lauren — — September 24, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

User adoption has long been a major problem bedeviling enterprise CRM deployments and, while this might sound somewhat simplistic, the key reason for this is pretty straightforward: CRM suites, for the most part, have not been designed with benefits to the individual salesperson top-of-mind. Social-networking functions are, by design, aimed specifically at individuals and can therefore help turn the paradigm of CRM adoption on its head: Users who see the benefits of using a tool are more likely to use it.
Sandy Romeo

Comment by sandy223 — — September 29, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

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