Social CRM and enterprise business

Social business has important implications for the enterprise. This post contains an important video that explains why.

Last week, I attended a two-day seminar on Social CRM, sponsored and led by industry guru Paul Greenberg, who also writes for ZDNet. The event, held just outside Washington DC, brought together many top Social CRM thought leaders to interact and mingle with 14 different software vendors.

The seminar coincided with a major snowstorm and blizzard, stranding most participants in the hotel for an unexpected day of airline cancellations, business discussions, and musing on the state of Social CRM.

Social CRM is part of a constellation of technologies and business strategies arising from the intersection of Internet-based consumer technologies with enterprise business goals and requirements. Related terminology and concepts include Enterprise 2.0 and social business.

In a seminal blog post on the subject, Paul Greenberg defines Social CRM this way:

CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It's the company's response to the customer's ownership of the conversation.

As a school of thought, Social CRM recognizes that current technologies enable customers spontaneously to form large, ad hoc interest groups at remarkable, sometimes even viral, speed. The reality of large, self-aware customer power blocs forces companies and organizations to rethink important aspects of their customer relationship strategies.

We are still in the early stages of social business thinking and proliferation. For this reason, certain grandstanding bloggers, analysts, and self-appointed enterprise pundits occasionally speak out vociferously and negatively about these trends.

Please recognize such negativity as little more than transparent chest thumping from those who seek personal attention by espousing extreme and contrary positions.

Do not be taken in by misguided, self-serving, and shortsighted chest thumpers.

Social CRM holds profound implications for the traditional enterprise. To gain a deeper understanding of the underlying dynamics powering these trends, I spoke with two top-tier industry analysts. IDC group vice president, Michael Fauscette, and Natalie Petouhoff, principal analyst from Forrester Research, have each built a solid reputation for helping both buyer and vendor organizations understand social business.

This video is essential listening for anyone interested in Social CRM, Enterprise 2.0, and state of the art thinking about the social enterprise.

Esteban Kolsky prepared a PDF document containing all the #scrmsummit tweets from the event described in this post. Take a look to witness an exciting community in action.

[Disclosure: I write analyst reports for IDC in my copious (yeah, right) free time.]

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