Tuesday 6 July 2010

The Social Sh*tpile: Social Everything

Social CRM: pleonasm or tautology?
Every now and then wikipedia fails me, and this is such a moment.
In ancient Greek pleon comes from pleioon, meaning more: you are actually saying more than need be, overstating it. Dark night, green grass, bright light, etcetera. That's what a pleonasm is and does: adding redundancy, exageration
In ancient Greek to autos logos means the same word: you are using words that mean the same. I'm ticked off and angry, happy and delighted, dazed and confused. That's what a tautology does: it repeats the same word, synonyms

Enters Social CRM
Dennis Howlett shares his unminced words in Holiday rant: SocialCRM, the latest xLA and it brings back memories to me. By the way, I fully agree with Dennis here. [Disclosure: I often agree with Dennis]

In and around the year 2000, Siebel started to make waves. A sexy user interface, absolutely great sales people, and technical account managers (sic) to support implementations from beginning to end. Technically it was all rather flimsy but if you coded yourself silly you could achieve anything: this is what I call the VB Macro-effect. As a result, implementations of this package had a very high rate of customisation and customer satisfaction

What amazed me however was how little CRM there was in Siebel back then. In fact, Business Objects was often sold next to Siebel to make sense of what it actually contained. Nevertheless, it was a huge success

What was worst though, was the fact that there now was a platform and a package for CRM - taking care of the customer was from then on isolated to one department, one tool - and lousy integration kept it that way. So what did Siebel achieve for CRM? You answer the question...

Now we have Social CRM, or at least we are about to have it. I don't think that Social and CRM are the same words, but I certainly think it's an overstatement. Not a tautology thus, but a pleonasm as such.
Regardless of that, again it's promising a tech fix for a biz/org problem - other than the fact that I don't see a problem at all, really. What is the business case?
How about the Social Employee then, who's praising or complaining about his job or boss? The Social Competitor, nicking great clients and opportunities? The Social Supplier? The Social Socialiser?
Are we really going to have a Social Everything by feeding Twitter and / or Facebook into existing applications, packages or socalled 'Solutions'?

All you'll achieve is that you buy a silo for CRM, a silo for ERP, a silo for everything. Funny as it seems, into all these siloes you'll feed the same Twitterfeed, the same Facebook feed, the same Whateverfeed. Good idea? I don't think so

Stop the music please. Yes there is Twitter, and yes there is Facebook. And others. You can monitor those, people can read. And yes, there are protocols and API's describing how to hook into and out of those networks. So, here's the plan:
  • If you really think you need it, you can automatically tap into e.g. the Twitterverse and extract that which is of interest to you
  • If that works, you can actually put people on it, and see if you can make or save money that way
  • If successful, you can scale up and maybe fill a whole call center with people eavesdropping on Twitter, Facebook and Lord knows what else, and feel good about it
If beyond scaling or trying to save money on people, you can automate that - but can you, really? Don't you need people to handle all that unstructured information? Is it -at all- possible to sell Social Tools to do the job for you?

No. Not yet. By far.
Sorry guys, dear marketeers, vendors and system integrators: all it takes to Socialise your Enterprise in the way you're currently selling it, is a bunch of people who email stuff from social networks to the appropriate people in the company - and back

So either come up with a business case for Social Everything 2.0, or "Social Up"

2 reacties:

Gaurav said...

I don't think quotes prove anything but a quote I like is "cynicism is intellectual dandyism". I have to mention it here because I could sense lots of cynicism here, Martin. Cynicism might not be such a bad thing specially when it is wide eyed or harmless. But...

So there indeed is a social web now, and companies ought to tap into it and all you suggest is people sending emails? Really! is that the solution you suggest!

Martijn Linssen said...

Thank you Gaurav, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One can be ironic, one can be cynical

It's ironic that you choose the term cynical over ironic - or is it?

I indeed suggest people to follow Twitter and Facebook, and, when triggered by worthwhile events, sent those out to email aliases people can subscribe to. It's cheap, very effective, and makes way for a nice pilot - and instantaneous (re)action

What are you suggesting? Or do you just feel offended?

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