CRM 2009 Forecast: How'd I Do in 2008? Gimme A High Four!

Usually, when I begin my forecast for the coming year, I like to look at how I did the previous year - which is usually disconcerting to say the least.  So, in honor of my first non-intro post for this ZDNET blog, I'm going to be nakedly transparent and show you exactly how I did from last year - with some self-congratulation and some self-deprecation.
Written by Paul Greenberg, Contributor

Usually, when I begin my forecast for the coming year, I like to look at how I did the previous year - which is usually disconcerting to say the least.  So, in honor of my first non-intro post for this ZDNET blog, I'm going to be nakedly transparent and show you exactly how I did from last year - with some self-congratulation and some self-deprecation. Both richly deserved.  Its late enough in the year that I don't think anything earthshaking is going to occur in the last six weeks of this year, but then again that's a forecast isn't it? So maybe I'm right - or maybe not.  Here's the original blog post link for you but I'll reproduce most of it here with my responses to my individual forecast items. The numbers in front were my attempt at probability of occurrence according to my gut, which after a period of non-exercise (you don't want to know why that is) is larger than its been for awhile. You can read about my "methodology" on the original post.

The format of this entry is the following - the original post reproduced faithfully though with the more superfluous parts omitted is in black both bold and regular.  My assessment of how well I did is in bold brown following 2008 RESULTS.

Gulp. Here they are, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, 'til depth do us part (I know the real word, okay?).

  1. (8) CRM 2.0 will be nearly ubiquitous in 2008 and omnipresent in 2009. It's clear with the moves being made by the market makers like salesforce, Oracle, SAP and to a lesser extent Microsoft with the integration of social technologies into their offerings - and the understanding that customers want cool looking stuff too, that CRM 2.0 is finally reaching the place it should and by 2008 will be there technologically through platforms, partnerships and tools. The issue that will remain will be the culture of the practitioners to take this into the core of their strategy. It’s actually a lot harder to "get" the fact that the customers are in command and that they demand transparency, authenticity and more than anything engagement/collaboration as part of their RFP to those that they will do business with…. (2008 RESULT: I was nearly right here. CRM 2.0 and Social CRM (which is a name that seems be catching on more and more) is a now an ordinary part of the CRM lexicon and on the road maps of most of the technology vendors. The new area, which I call "social characteristics", is becoming an addition to more traditional functions/features/processes as the business model begins to make the shift from customer management to customer engagement. Just look at what Oracle and SAP, Salesforce.com, Zoho, and others are doing in the marketplace. Social CRM/CRM 2.0 is here to stay. I'd say "good show old bean" to that one for me)
  2. (7)SMB interest in CRM - both strategically and technologically will not only grow, but be at the cutting edge in the thinking beyond. This is due to Gen X and Y entrepreneurs driving much of the SMB market; the easy availability of cheap or free business technology tools; increasing visibility of anecdotal evidence of small business success which means really good stories that always impact how people think, the published benefits of Web 2.0 technologies; and the increasing use of consumer technologies and thinking in business. - Interesting, the latter is important because SMBs - especially the small businesses are closer to consumer thinking than their Fortune 500 counterparts. ….. There are more factors here too, among them the hunger for the SMB market is reaching ravenous levels by technology vendors; and the resultant effect is dozens of solid alternatives to big boys. The value of those alternatives is not just that they are cheap but that the companies that make them are small businesses themselves and they have a solid use case when they look in a mirror. ….(2008 RESULT: Half right, half wrong. SMB interest in CRM certainly grew, but it wasn't cutting edge. It was in simpler, kinder, cheaper CRM when it came down to the small businesses and in the NetSuite-type traditional operational CRM for larger mid-market businesses. Cutting edge is not how I'd characterize the SMB market at this point though they are dabbling actively in social tools. What makes this not cutting edge CRM is that the SMBs are treating the social media & social networking (I distinguish) initiatives as something very separate from CRM initiatives - and, wrongfully, as a substitute for CRM tools. The interest is greater often in the social media tools than it is CRM tools, but the cost of entry for CRM is higher after all.  Even Zoho, the fastest growing of the 2.0 companies with a CRM offering doesn't really integrate CRM all well with social media tools or community building tools  But they do get collaboration. I'd give myself an "eh, you did okay but not great" on this one.)
  3. (8)Social media and especially social networks will hit a wall as too many proliferate and privacy issues and commercialization questions begin to predominate discussion. This won't stop people from using them in business or joining them but the rate of growth will slow, barring some spectacular entry into the fray. We've seen that with the continuing stupid moves being made by Facebook - especially with Beacon. If you think about it, Facebook began to treat its "customers" as objects of a sale, rather than subjects of a relationship - exactly what even "classic CRM" set out to fix. This was reinforced no further back than yesterday, when news hit that Google, the drivers of the possible "spectacular entry" - did the following: "They flipped on a switch in Google Reader that makes posts and articles designated as "shared" by Google Reader users available to every person listed as that person's contact or friend on Google Talk. Given that bloggers don't necessary want the exposure to what could be parents or business associates, among others, the bloggers took umbrage. AND to make it worse, they didn't even learn from the mistakes of Beacon. They made this an opt-out feature, not opt-in. So stupidity, privacy and distrust are punching holes into the sex appeal of social media and this will be even more prevalent in 2008 - starting to settle the totally scorching social network frontierland. For more info on the StupidGoogle error, check here. (2008 RESULT: Much as I am considered the cutting edge guy in CRM - which much to my surprise, I am - I swear - I was just SO wrong on this one.  The rate of growth in this area accelerated. For example, take a look at the McKinsey Report on "Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise" this year or the IDC study that forecasted the use of social networks in business would see a rise from 14% in January 2008 to 41% by year end. The only wall they hit was the one that was squarely placed around my brain on this one)
  4. (6)Web based apps. will become enterprise ready in 2008 as companies like Zoho begin to challenge the on demand market leaders with their pricing and features. Zoho in particular will be ready to rock - with offline and business work. This is a natural evolution, since most of the social media and Web 2.0 application vendors are trying some way to make money and need to appeal to businesses as well as consumers. In fact, dozens of Web 2.0 vendors have asked me over the last 6 months primarily how to get into the CRM "market." The interest in how to help businesses lock in their customers is pretty high because most of the big and small Web 2.0 and web-based vendors are seeing the value. Companies like Zoho are putting forward solid products with inexpensive subscriptions, making them eminently appealing and the more business functionality (scalability, integration, security, etc.) ….. (2008 RESULT: Pretty much on target here, especially with Zoho who introduced a “business version” of some of their products this year and will continue to expand a business-strong portfolio of products. I only see the trend continuing though I’m less sure of the speed due to the economic downturn. I’d give myself a "not bad, dude, not bad at all” on this one)
  5. (7)Enterprise 2.0 will become the business norm for Fortune 1000 companies by 2010 - 2008 will see major moves forward outside of the tech sector where it is already becoming pre-eminent. This is not particularly surprising. There is already widespread adoption within the high tech industry with companies like IBM, SAP, Microsoft and Cisco wholeheartedly embracing all the social media and the arts of social tagging among other things 2.0 related - both internally and with their customers. Additionally, this is becoming a widespread endeavor outside high tech with Proctor and Gamble and other mega-giant-ginormous companies adopting the Enterprise 2.0 technologies. There is more and more demand directly in the workplace for Enterprise 2.0 tools with as Computerworld called them "the children of baby boomers" expecting collaboration and informality in the workplace as they enter it. The number entering that workforce (and have been over the past few years) - 80 million with this new set of expectations. Their expectations in the workplace are colored by the way they live at home and communicate http://with their friends. Dion Hinchcliffe does his usual exhaustive work on Enterprise 2.0 at the end of the year. This is a MUST read if you want to understand the way that Enterprise 2.0 is transforming the workplace and its important in changing culture and business models. (2008 RESULTS: This seems to be borne out, but not at the speed I would have expected and also, in a peculiar corollary way.  There was some growth in the Fortune 500 with an increase of about 20% in the use of social media - though it was more like the blog increase of  8% using blogs in 2007 and 11.6% in 2008 than anything truly dramatic. The weird corollary was that the increase among the Inc 500 (fastest growing) was much more dramatic - The annual Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research study found that, for example, 39% of the Inc. 500 were using blogs - a far more significant percentage than the majors.  So in this one, it’s kind of murky, so I’ll give myself a “you were right - because you’re a nice guy and I don’t want to hurt your feelings, Paulie.”)
  6. (5)There will be significant growth in four verticals for CRM, particularly community based CRM - public sector and the three "emotional verticals" - retail, financial services and health services. Each of these verticals is already seeing a huge upsurge in CRM interest, much of it triggered by prior customer experiences at the service level. The financial services industry and retail sectors are all actively engaged in CRM now, with health services trailing them and public sector in a separate universe. Interestingly, the public sector is intensely interested in in CRM because they've seen its value in the 2008 presidential primaries where the case can be made that part of the reason for Barack Obama's success has been his campaign staff's savvy and finely honed usage of social tools and CRM to engage the potential voters. This hasn't gone unnoticed on the administrative side - the one with all those federal agencies, nor on the legislative side - the ones with all those Congresspeople. (2008 RESULTS: Another mixed result. Sigh. Seems like I had a lot of them.  I was absolutely on the money with the public sector one - which includes administrative, legislative, political, etc.  I was right on retail and less right on financial services and health services who increased their social media adoption though not CRM per se. So here, I’m looking at “you are so HOT and yet, kind of not really my type” as to how I did here.)
  7. (10)The debate of where CEM and CRM interlock, fit, subsume, etc. will fade to the level of significance it should have - none. The customer experience and CRM will simply be the foundations for customer strategy in 2008. This one has been a silly discussion since the beginning. The way that customers engage companies can be improved and enhanced through the operational effectiveness that's necessary ("traditional CRM") and the types of tools and experiences provided (customer experience) so that the customers can be significantly participant in the life of the companies that they want to do business with - within reason - meaning the company's business plan's parameters and the willingness of the company to be authentic/transparent (critical factor). The debate about whether CEM is part of CRM or vice versa or one will eliminate the other will be consigned to the dustbins of history and the lowest rungs of academic frippery where it belongs. Roomba will suck it up and toss it. (2008 RESULTS: Hit this out of the park.  Basically the debate is over. No one won.  No one cares. We all know that the customer experience is at the core of how customers are engaged and you can damned well call it whatever you want, just go and do it. )
  8. (8)Consumer thinking and the associated technologies will be a major part of business thinking and technologies in 2008-2010. This one is a near lock for the next three years. Already we're seeing analysts like Gartner talk about its potential as they did at their September 2007 CRM conference and Forrester taking it even further with their emphasis on the rise of social computing - which is very much coherent with the increase of the use of consumer technologies in business. That means (see number 5) that text messaging, instant messaging, mobile devices/smartphones, and Web 2.0 technologies will become part of the strategic planning as will the idea of how to replicate a consumer-side experience on the business side to make this more palatable with their customers. Think not? Think again. One of the reasons that Rearden Commerce has had some success in the marketplace was because they understood that the line between personal and business was not only thin, but actually about the same as that yellow line of scrimmage you see at football games on TV - not real. They were able to build a business model that went on the realistic premise that people did personal things at the workplace and work things at home and by aggregating the services and tools for that to be effective in total, they could be successful - and they have been. Don't underestimate the new interface that SAP CRM 2007 sports. It looks a bit like Google and is entirely skinnable - meaning you can personalize the look and feel down to the decals on the screen so to speak. They get that consumer thinking colors the way people like to interact in a business environment - even B2GoddamnB environments (I swear if I get that B2B v. B2C question again, I'll.....) (2008 RESULTS:  Another “going, going, gone! Into the seats in dead center clobbered it.  This is increasingly apparent by both the significant increase in the use of collaboration with customers for product development - see my upcoming 4th edition for a great SAP story - and in the production of goods that are no-longer just “business ready” but consumer-friendly and sexy - like the Blackberry Bold or the more recent Verizon-only Blackberry Storm touchscreen or the increasing enterprise use of the 3G iPhone.  I’m just MVP on this baby. Step aside Pujols.)
  9. (6)The newer forms of marketing and public relations will begin to predominate over traditional forms, though traditional advertising etc. will by no means disappear. But the value proposition of search engine marketing, experiential marketing, word of mouth marketing and a myriad of others will become increasingly interesting to companies - though hopefully, they will each become marketing tools in a toolbox - rather than uniquely distinct marketings. Social tagging and folksonomies will also begin to hit the ground running - maybe not at cheetah speeds but fast - as marketing nirvanas - though privacy issues will still prevent the widespread adoption of this in 2008 - though look out for 2009-2010 (2008 RESULT: I was almost totally right on this - more in the realm of a double, with the batter taking third on the throw home. The Marketing Executives Networking Group  report on the use of social media in marketing indicates that 67% of the companies use social media but consider themselves newbies and that 87% don’t measure it, though this isn’t stopping 75% from raising their social media budget for 2009.  These numbers seem to hold up nearly across the board. That said, I’ve seen lower numbers too. There is a willing and ready audience too as report after report churns out that about 70% of the adult U.S. population is using/reading some sort of social media. The thing is though that there is a HUGE growth in both the use of or consideration of the use of social media in marketing by marketers because the target audiences are so easily available.)
  10. (4)Partner Relationship Management will get its third life in 2008. PRM will see a resurgence in 2008 due to breakthrough thinking like the salesforce-to-salesforce channel management tools that salesforce released based on evolving partner communities that would enrich the partner ecosystems out there. This is always dicey since I keep predicting that PRM is going somewhere and it never does. This might be the year. We can always hope, can't we, fans of the Cubbies? (2008 RESULTS: I was even less successful than the Cubs breaking their 100 year curse on this one. At least Piniella won Manager of the Year and they made the playoffs.  I think its my wishful thinking about PRM growing dramatically, though, not the CRM genre.  Though I will say I have seen a renewed commitment to it with Oracle and salesforce.com and a few other players showing up in the space.  But this may be my fantasy.  Pretty much a LOOOOO-ZER on this one. STEEEE-RIKE TWO AND A HALF. Not quite ready to give up yet, because it may be morphing into a community based ecosystem and tools for that purpose.)
  11. (7)SOA becomes the architecture of choice in 2008.This one is a no brainer I think. The level of acceptance is already high but that doesn't mean the issues of SOA will be resolved. For example, the CTO of Websphere Jerry Cuomo thinks that SOA governance and policy will be the main SOA roadblocks in 2008. The actual architectural implementations are starting to roll out. I agree with him. Once the technology becomes more or less mainstream and stable, the issues on how its going to be handled within companies and among companies become paramount. We've reached that level of maturity so far. (2008 RESULTS: Sort of right here. SOA is the architecture of choice but is fraught with problems. including adoption. SOA's complexities and the ease of use and recognition of REST/WOA also gives REST/WOA far more prominence and is probably a better selection for the small and midsized business as their architecture of choice than I would have imagined. The way is being led by Sage for that.  See Dion Hinchcliffe’s piece on this in his ZDNET entry here.  I’d say I get a high four for this one)
  12. (50)The Yankees will surprise and take the division again and go on to finally break the "curse" of not winning a World Series for 7 long years. Just think - six year old Yankee fans have never seen them win a series and 1 year old fans have never seen them win a division. What kind of way is that for the little New Yorkers to grow up - with all that failure for so long? (2008 RESULTS: Sigh. At least we might get CC Sabathia. And A.J. Burnett. And Derek Lowe.  Eight years isn’t that long either.)

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