I think it's probably fair to say that MySpace knows a thing or two about social media, and Vap said RightNow "just sold a huge deal" to that high-profile pioneer. MySpace will use RightNow's social products for customer support (RightNow Support Community), which "will help MySpace empower customers to share information through discussion forums, question-and-answer pairing, and resource libraries, as well as resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently," according to a RightNow press release.
In addition, MySpace is using the Cloud Monitor tool to "gather, answer, and analyze all customer comments, questions and concerns posted on social networking sites," the press release said.
And a high-level MySpace executive offered a comment that underscores RightNow's contention that these approaches are creating serious business opportunities and have a direct bearing on a company's ability to compete in a world increasingly immersed in the social web:
MySpace senior vice president of customer experience and operations Tish Whitcraft said in the press release, "The contact center used to be the hub of all customer experiences, but in the new world, you have social, web, and the contact center. All three demand your commitment. Without all three, you won't be able to compete" (emphasis added).
RightNow CIO Laef Olson said that while he hasn't seen the CIO epiphany come across as intensely as Vap has, "I am really seeing CIO involvement at a totally different level. A year ago, I'd be out on customer calls with the sales team and the conversations were fairly hostile, like, 'What do I need that stuff for?'," Olson recalled with a laugh.
"But now, they're saying, 'Help me figure this out. Help me deal with HIPAA regulations and other thorny compliance issues.' And so the conversations have become more about solutions, which is always a good thing. It's become very, very exciting for us to be able to help our customers handle private clouds or even hybrid clouds."
Someone recently said that the CIO job is all about juggling live chain-saws all day long. "It's not that hard," he said, "as long as you catch the right end every single time." It seems that until recently, many or perhaps even most CIOs regarded the social web—with all of its newness and openness and personal content and instantaneous global access and distribution—as one of those spinning, high-powered chain saws, fraught with massive risk and capable of doing extensive damage.
But if what RightNow has been seeing represents what's really starting to happen—that the business value of the social web has begun to significantly outweigh its risks—then CIOs can take a lot of comfort in knowing they've got one less chain-saw in the air and one more capable business tool in their enterprise.
Bob Evans is senior VP and director of
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