Social to CRM to Enterprise: Not So Fast....

Social to CRM to Enterprise: Not So Fast....

Summary: Darn, I missed it: is opening itself up to Facebook.


Darn, I missed it: is opening itself up to Facebook. Or is it the other way around? I had received a belated invite to attend SFDC’s Dreamforce from Marc Benioff, but too much real work prevented me from attending. So I had to read the press releases and my fellow bloggers’ reports on the show, and, of course, they covered and uncovered and upholstered the news of the FB/SFDC alliance. Here’s my take.

First, I have to set the record straight. We are not “seeing social meet CRM and the enterprise for the first time,” as Benioff suggested in his press release on the deal. Oracle definitely showed CRM and social and the enterprise in a big way at its Open World conference last September, and should get all of the credit for “first time” bragging rights.

Second, I’m really having to stretch to understand why Benioff picked Facebook. SAP’s investment in LinkedIn seems to make so much more sense. After all, my inbox is flooded with LinkedIn requests (mostly from people I’m already in touch with, which is one of the reasons I so far have deigned to join LinkedIn), proof positive that the business community, at least the high tech community, thinks LinkedIn is the social site of choice.

Facebook, which COO Sheryl Sandberg claims has 300,000 business pages already, is still largely the playground of kids like my niece, who really has even less business playing around with CRM apps than she does posting bikini-clad pictures on her Facebook page. I think there is some potential for Facebook to grow up as its core audience grows, but right now I look at it mostly as a place where teenagers and tweens play games that make parents and uncles a little nervous or a little “whatever”, and we old farts wander around wondering what it is we’re really doing in the kid’s section of the Internet playground.

A final comment, apparently SFDC’s new marketing mantra is love, according to Venture Beat. Apparently it’s all you need. Apparently I’m having trouble with this concept, so it’s time to go write on someone’s wall or snoop on my niece and her friends again. Meanwhile, social meets CRM meets the enterprise already had its first mover, and, from what I can tell, it’s still awaiting its second.

Topics: Software, Enterprise Software, Social Enterprise

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  • Odd partner choice

    Spot on Joshua. I blogged a few days ago on how odd the pairing of and Facebook is, for the reasons you point out. My assertion was that keeping with Benioff's blusterous nature, this was more about grabbing headlines than strategy and alignment.

    Apart from which, with SAP having gazumped SFDC for the LinkedIn relationship, what else is left?

    It's also refreshing to hear someone pointing out the Emperor's New Clothes around LinkedIn. Successful they have been at selling people's own contact lists back to them as a wonderful new innovation in business networking, but the reality is the service actually does very little to help broker valuable NEW business relationships. Specifically, in fact, they recommend you DON'T connect to people you don't know; and punishment looms for those that do in the form of account restrictions.

    To me, that is NOT business networking.

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ
  • Socializing CRM: Is it really Socialprise or just Enterprise 2.0?

    Socialprise was first covered by fellow ZDNet blogger Phil Wainewright in March '08.

    And the term has since taken on a life of it's own, ranging from the original "convergence of social media and enterprise apps" to some curious organizational development buzzwords...

    Anyway, how does this apply to the ORCL vs. SFDC social crm land grab? Well, for starters there is a distinction to be made between the "Social CRM" concept that Oracle first got behind at OpenWorld '07 and the social network + CRM integration that SFDC laid claim to at Dreamforce '08. Oracle's Social CRM apps have, to date, really been an Enterprise 2.0 play -- that is, enabling collaboration, sharing, and even networking INSIDE the enterprise. That's powerful stuff, especially for larger organizations. But where's the customer conversation piece? And how about all that rich social data that lives OUTSIDE the enterprise?

    I agree SFDC is definitely playing catch-up on the social crm concept, but they're taking a different tack by trying to tap into existing social networks within a traditional enterprise app and workflow. (Umm, yes, this sounds a lot like socialprise.) So while I think you're right to say "not so fast" to SFDC planting their flag at Dreamforce '08, it's not because Oracle got there first (after all, ORCL and SFDC have laid claim to different territory). You're right specifically because the socialprise flag was planted long before Dreamforce '08.

    As for Facebook being a curious choice for Salesforce, totally agree on practical level vis-as-vis LinkedIn. But we have to take into account a couple of things: one is the fact that LinkedIn is a walled garden (from an API and developer stand-point) whereas the Facebook platform has it's doors wide open; and two is that the over-riding theme of Dreamforce '08 (and for that matter, DF '07) was SFDC's metamorphosis from SaaS to PaaS... and so a developer-focused, open platform partnership with Facebook was more in line with that theme than a LinkedIn deal would have been.

    One last thing. Don't underestimate Facebook's ability to get serious about business. It's for grown ups, too (and not just for grown ups acting like kids).
  • RE: Social to CRM to Enterprise: Not So Fast....

    well balanced criticism

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