Social CRM is a double-edged sword. It gives businesses a tremendous opportunity to easily communicate with consumers, rapidly answering questions and responding to concerns. But it also gives companies more chances to slip-up or to be perceived as being unresponsive or uncaring. That is why a growing number of organizations are stepping beyond the confines of traditional customer relationship management and incorporating social media into the next wave of CRM implementation.
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Microsoft unveiled Dynamics CRM 2011 in February as both an on-demand and on-site offering, offering customers a free 30-day trial of the software. Microsoft is migrating its Social Networking Accelerator into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the developer announced in March. Previously available as add-on capabilities, these features now will be completely integrated into Microsoft's CRM system. "In addition to the migrated accelerators, Microsoft Dynamics Labs will publish new solutions to demonstrate additional capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 or provide a starting point for some innovative CRM extensions," said Palak Kadakia, program manager, on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM blog. Customers already are benefiting from the software's new features, including its expanded social media capabilities, she said. Since switching from Salesforce.com to Microsoft Dynamics in 2009, Century Payments has saved $300,000, said Scott Harlow, vice president IT and security at the electronic payment services firm. Microsoft aggressively is competing with Salesforce, offering promotional pricing of $34 per user per month; Dynamics CRM Online pricing increases to $44 per user per month once the one-year promotion expires, the company said. "We now have the freedom to change aspects of our solution quickly and on the fly, without the added time and expense of external developers and resources," he said. "With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we've seen immediate results and now have an enterprise platform that will scale and adapt with us as our company continues to expand and evolve."
Social is a Business ImperativeThe use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Social is a Business ImperativeSocial media is critical in the age of digital business. How can IT help? First, work with the marketing team to set up social networking programs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, at minimum. Then work to put social media sentiment analytics in place to measure success.