≡ Menu

Social CRM is a journey, not a destination

There has been a tremendous amount great conversation during the past couple weeks, regarding Social CRM. What it is as well as what it is not. I am not sure we have reached any conclusions yet, but we have all become smarter for the insights of a great many individuals. Interestingly, I am usually a bit opinionated, but I sat on the sidelines, just observing – for the most part.

As my title suggests, I do believe that we are all (customers, businesses, implementors and vendors) on a journey.  As a group, we are working (struggling) to compartmentalize, as that seems to be human nature. We are treating the landscape as binary, you either have it, or your don’t.  You will get there, or you will not. The economy is evolving, business is evolving, customers needs are evolving, so as all the components go through this evolution, yet, we are suggesting this needs to be a revolution, why? Very few of us subscribe to waterfall development methodology, therefore, we should be able to iterate through this as well, no?

The difference, among my peers, who are having the conversation, do not seem to be as much about where we are going (ok, first chance for a comment), rather how we get there. We all want very similar things. As Graham reminded us all today, in quoting Peter Drucker on his post (which is a must read). The end game is already defined for us.

When I sent a tweet out similar to my title, Graham  responded “Indeed. Social CRM is a journey with a drunken man staggering around without a map at the moment.” Prem suggested something akin to Brownian motion or random walk (which brings back horrible memories of my graduate work with stochastic processes) I am not sure quite sure it is that bad, but maybe it is …. I like to build metaphor’s, and 4 out of 5 times they make sense to someone other than myself, but I will give it a shot anyway.

If SocialCRM is the destination, then what is the vehicle to get us there? Is it strategy, or technology? Answer: It is both. It is the proper introduction and combination of technology, in support of the evolving processes, created by the empowered customer. Like the business trips we all take – trains, planes and automobiles – each client requires a slightly different itinerary. Exactly, each client requires a slightly different approach.

So, a slightly different take from John, regarding ‘will it be built’. The landscape is not static, the journey will most certainly require mid-course corrections. So, we will build it. The question might be, will it ever be ‘done’?

Anyone have a map?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • g2-c8341c38af809b72dac7a9f96c37a49b September 28, 2009, 11:18 AM

    If one believes that everything starts with a strategy, workflow and process is designed to support the strategy, and technology is introduced to support the process and workflow….

    Why are there “Social CRM” software solutions on the market if we don’t know what it is?

    I think it’s important that we begin talking about what SCRM looks like. What does true CRM look like? Examples, case studies, etc. I don’t want the software companies dictating what the outcome is…again. Let’s get it right.

    Mike Boysen

  • Mitch Lieberman September 28, 2009, 11:28 AM

    Mike,

    Thanks for the comment, really, point taken. I agree wholeheartedly, that we need to talk about what it looks like. That said, we also need to allow for iterations, small incremental changes, as the needs of the customer are changing, evolving. I did say that both Strategy and Technology are “…in support of the evolving processes, created by the empowered customer.”, thus it is needs driven, not product or company driven.

    Mitch

  • Kathy Herrmann September 28, 2009, 5:38 PM

    Ahhhh, Mitch. Thanks for hitting on what the SCRM discussion is all about because, right now in particular, it is a journey.

    Although I don’t know if I’d go as far as Graham and call it a drunken journey. I think we *do* have a roadmap for SCRM but there are still many paths to select from. Therein lies the source of the debate.

    What’s more, I think SCRM needs to stay fluid in its design. It’s easy to assume social media has one form because the market often talks about it like that’s so. In reality, though, you know it’s a plethora of go-to-market and customer outreach channels — in terms of individual channels and in how companies can build a mix of them. Each also has its own challenges and opportunities in terms of data capture regarding visitor behaviors, content creation, etc.

    So to your point, Mitch, I don’t think we’ll ever reach a final SCRM destination nor should we expect to…because of the diversity of the social media field of opportunities.

    And to your point, Mike, the best solutions will combine the right technology with business need.

  • scorpfromhell September 28, 2009, 5:50 PM

    Mitch, we all are now stating that Social CRM is still far away, a slow path, we are still tying our laces for a marathon, etc. ;)

    So we first ganged up (accidental community at #scrm), then defined our goal (whats Social CRM) and now realizing its a journey not a destination.

    I believe its an exploration. We are not different from a Vasco da Gama or Christopher Columbus who set out in search of a known land, but via a new route.

    Social CRM is a new route (or in Esteban’s terms path, albeit currently slow) waiting to be discovered & we are setting out on an exploration (journey) to find that path. It will be slow only because we are still exploring it, like Vasco da Gama & Columbus were, but once the routes are discovered, we will have faster journeys. And constant advances in technologies, etc. will make it faster even more & the routes myriad too!

    Obviously next step would be to decide on the mode of transportation (take a hike, bike, road, train, air, other?), the tools, equipments & accessories required, but above all, I guess we should decide upon how we are going to enjoy the journey & share our joys with the rest of us & the world! :)

    But whats the golden land of promises again? The one to which we are trying to explore a new route? Customer centricity?

  • Mitch Lieberman September 28, 2009, 7:04 PM

    Kathy and Prem,

    Thanks to you both for the comments. I agree that Journey and Exploration are similar and I like the thought process. If I can extend the metaphor, the difference between exploration and journey is that exploration is a bit more about being able to make those mid-course corrections, and go where the customers go, or are…

    I now have the title for my next blog – “The Hitchhikers guide to Social CRM”

    Mitch

  • scorpfromhell September 28, 2009, 7:07 PM

    LOL! And the next one would be what? “So long, and thanks for all the customers?” ;)

    Sorry! Couldn’t resist that! :D

  • Kathy Herrmann September 28, 2009, 7:20 PM

    Scorp,

    I have minor mixed feelings about your Chris Columbus metaphor. At first blush, I *love* the whole explorer metaphor. “Explore” is my most favorite word in the world so I’m there! :D

    At second blush, though, Columbus thought he was going one place and ended up in another. The SCRM crowd has a sense of where it’s going but is still finding the right way(s) to get there. Maybe that’s a little distinction, because otherwise I really do love the explorer metaphor. And Columbus does provide a positive role model in that he set sail in the first place.

    As for the rest, you’re bang on the journey will accelerate as the maps gain clarity.

  • scorpfromhell September 28, 2009, 7:32 PM

    Kathy, and its a good thing Columbus failed! He found something totally new (or forgotten in the annals of prehistory) that went on to change the course of the life of the earth (not just the civilizations) in a very few centuries! :) Lets not write that chap off right away! ;) Who knows where someone of us might end up too?! :D