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Friday, 14 May 2010

Integrating Social CRM

I agree with Harish Kotadia that Social CRM represents a huge opportunity for services companies.

He has create a follow-up post on how IT services companies can prepare for the opportunity covers some of the key steps to capitialise on these opportunities. Paraphrasing slightly, his recommendation is for organisations to
1 - evaluate ways their clients can:
integrate social media channels into websites
integrate the new channels into their Sales, Marketing & Support processes and systems
include social media metrics in performance dashboards and SLAs
2 - develop delivery capability to address Social CRM requirements of their clients, partnering with leading vendors in key areas of Social CRM, namely:
Social Media Measurement & Monitoring
Customer Community Platforms
Social Media and Network Analytics

To this I would add the complicating factors that (1) there are a large, changing number of players in #2, with a lot of experimentation at the moment and consolidation coming soon – see for example Michael Maoz from Gartner’s comments on this and (2) there’s a big integration challenge behind point 1 - between heavily structured CRM systems that may not be very integration friendly and a whole new world of often cloud based services. This integration will need to support a lot of change as companies as experiment and evolve their Social CRM implementations.
So I would add a third step to the prescription for services companies following this path, and that would be to investigate lightweight integration technologies that can bridge these old and new worlds cost-effectively and flexibly but without creating more hard-to-maintain complexity.

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