More Social, Less CRM

The future of the Enterprise is more social

Have you watched the 30-second “Evolve” on the Click Company Community home page? If you haven’t, take time to do it. An interesting exercise is to invite children to watch it and then ask them to tell you what the film is about. “Evolve” was produced by Birdo, an award-winning animation studio based in Brazil.

The message is: “The world has changed”. How so?

  • The emergence of Social Computing is affecting the way people interact (you have probably noted the shorter attention span, emphasis on interaction over reflection, context over content).
  • A new generation of consumers and workers who grew under the influence of the digital medium is now taking positions of power and decision-making (the generation born in the 1980s, who grew with video-games and computers, are now turning 30)
  • As a consequence, organizations are evolving to adapt into (or being replaced by) what we call “Click Companies

Those changes are not good or bad. There is no resisting or promoting them. They just are.

There is change in customer behavior, with control shifting away from the company. The informed and connected customer has access to information (competition, price, business value) and is no longer dependent on and captive to the vendor communication channels.

Marketing needs to listen and resonate rather than influence. Sales need to engage with people and facilitate rather than manage transactions with faceless “contacts”. Companies don’t “own” accounts.

“Customer Relationship Management” (CRM) is the set of business processes and associated tools companies use to manage their relationship with customers. The “Social” in Social CRM is the layer that reflects the shift in control from companies to the customer.

But it is not only customer relationship that changes. People are also changing how a company operates. “Enterprise 2.0” is the name of the framework that attempts to model the organizational transformations to adapt to a more social, collaborative world.

Concretely, Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM processes and tools attempt to promote and leverage increased levels of:

  • Customer Participation – customers can interact with their peers and with the company to generate knowledge, form communities, and direct affect company processes (such as product design). Think next-generation of knowledge base, user communities, and customer service management tools.
  • Workforce Collaboration – new workers perform better in a less hierarchical, more transparent environment. Social tools emphasize collaboration to solve jointly owned problems over personal accountability and functional segmentation. Think next-generation Wikis and SharePoint, with focus on people and interactions rather than on documents.
  • Real-time Visibility – Social CRM attempts to eliminate brokers and aggregators of information and short-circuit long analytical cycles. Agility is emphasized over efficiency. Think next-generation ERP and BI tools, but capturing conversations in addition to transactions and bringing information where it is needed in real time instead of delayed reports from a central relational database.

Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM are not pieces of technology you can buy in a box. Technology is shaping people by affecting the way they think and interact. People are changing how business is done. Tools can support the evolution needed to cope with those changes.

Are you ready?

This article was originally written for and posted at

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