Is Enterprise 2.0 the chocolate to Social CRM's peanut butter?

Steve Wylie, Contributor

October 18, 2010

3 Min Read

Is Enterprise 2.0 the chocolate to Social CRM's peanut butter? In a recent InformationWeek post I commented on the maturing Enterprise 2.0 market and our path towards deeper integration of social and collaborative applications with pre-existing business work flows and applications.Debates continue on whether legacy apps will evolve enough to provide this collaborative functionality baked into the work flows they support or whether a new category of enterprise software will establish a platform agnostic social application layer that will cut across and intersect with multiple existing applications. In either case, one area that seems to be accelerating towards deeper social software integration is customer engagement and the associated world of CRM.In fact, Paul Greenberg, author of the best selling book CRM at the Speed of Light, 4th edition, has been addressing this lately and will be sharing his thoughts on Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM convergence during his keynote address at the upcoming Enterprise 2.0 Conference in November. Paul is the authority on CRM, often referred to as "The Godfather of CRM" and his book is referred to as "the bible of the CRM industry" so when Paul talks... people listen. The abstract of his keynote address is as follows:

E20 & SCRM Converge: Customers & Employees Together at LastAs business progresses in the 21st century, one thing becomes clear. The customer has been dramatically transformed by a communications revolution that impacts how and when he or she interacts with people and institutions and what they expect of those institutions. But there are two things that characterize this social customer that go beyond that - 1. They are also employees and 2. Employees need to be interacting among themselves in order to understand how to best serve and communicate with those customers. Enterprise 2.0 was created to improve the internal collaboration among employees so that businesses would benefit by the increased effectiveness of their processes, by better corporate knowledge and by significant morale improvement. Social CRM was developed as the programmatic response of the company to the social customer''s ownership of the business conversation. But now, with the increasing sophistication of the tools, and the increasing stridency of customer demand, there is a clear need for E2O and SCRM to begin to co-mingle. Paul Greenberg, author of CRM at the Speed of Light, 4th edition, will be discussing how they can combine, why they should and what your business can do on a practical level.

Paul asserts that in order to engage with and respond to customers through various social channels (SCRM), business must first learn to engage internally through their own social and collaborative channels. Why is that? Social networks have essentially opened a floodgate of customer engagement. Today's customers are empowered to communicate with businesses on their own terms and expect immediate attention. This new reality requires businesses to adopt more sophisticated social tools and establish real-time access to the right information and expertise across their organization. The customer expects it.But in order to serve the new demands of the social customer, businesses must achieve vastly greater information fluidity in their internal communication, information surfacing and knowledge expertise. Without it, the value of social customer engagement will be considerably less fruitful - even harmful.Without a culture of collaboration and the systems to support it internally, businesses will make potentially deadly mistakes. Information locked in one departmental silo, never reaching the front line sales representative could be the difference between winning a customer or losing them to the competition. Without better collaboration and information sharing a sales rep in one part of the business could mistakenly undercut a colleague or perhaps mistakenly sell a product at or below cost.As external engagement with customers increases, a business''s ability to formulate sound data and expertise and respond to the customer in near real time will be the name of the game.

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