Thursday, November 26, 2009

Portability of (social) profiles

Create and maintain one single online identity and log on to the various social networking platforms wit a single logon?
Choose which information is seen by which platform and let them exchange messages and information (after allowing them to do so)?

While we are currently far away from this scenario and everybody has to deal with many user accounts on various social networks (and the associated logins), I truly believe that there will be mechanisms in the future to be able to streamline this mess and finally make our lives much easier.

Concepts like OpenID and Google’s OpenSocial might be an option to do this – if they will reach the critical mass. OpenID is already widely adopted (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, myspace, etc.). OpenSocial is a open API that can be used to exchange data between several social networks but is heavily competing with Facebooks proprietary API (Facebook Platform).

Recently I see data exchange happening more often, especially when it comes to find existing friends on a new network. On the long term I think there will be only few social networks in every niche, which will make the integration between them and platforms in other niches a little easier.

Not only will the life for users become easier, but also CRM 2.0 will profit from having standardized APIs and Authentication mechanisms. Next generation CRM tools will be able to access user data (after they have agreed to do so…) and will be able to provide much better and more personalized services to every single consumer. With this information, a corporation will be able to have meaningful conversations even with millions of customers around the world.

Of course I hear you shouting for security and warnings around the surveillance society – and actually I think this will become a big issue. For sure there will be fraud (just imagine what Google could do with the massive amount of information it has from every single user…), but as the hype settles and the technology becomes more stable, so will the security and trust in companies will rise. Many people will be fine with companies having access to their personal data in order to provide better service and a unique customer experience.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Service Cloud2 – taking Customer support into the cloud?!

image has always been very visionary and successfully pushing the SaaS model into the market for sales force automation (SFA).

In their presentation of the “Service Cloud2” yesterday, they showed that the same SaaS model can also work for customer service and support.
Marc Benioff said that the average service and support applications are about a decade old – and I would totally agree with that. Having seen some installations and the associated data centers behind these applications, I can imagine the potential that Benioff sees in this market and that customers see in potential savings.

SFDC presented some very important new modules of the Service Cloud2 that are indispensable for high quality customer support:

  • A knowledgebase (competing with RightNow)
  • CTI integration (powered by CISCO?)
  • Integration to social networks (like Facebook and twitter)
  • Customer portals and communities (competing with Jive SBS)

While all these elements are not new and there are solutions out there to handle them, SFDC is probably the first one that is able to deliver a fully integrated solution (including crowdsourcing) out of one hand and paid solely per usage. This will allow small and medium sized companies to deliver a great customer experience with very little upfront investments in infrastructure and licenses.

Very obvious that putting all CRM in the hands of SFDC also has the risk of a vendor lock-in. And realistically, even if they call this a cloud, it is still not what I would call true cloud computing and it will not be possible to easily switch parts of the CRM to some other vendors or ‘in-source’ the application in the future.

But still, this is a very nice vision that Benioff and his team are bringing to a life and I am very sure that it will be as successful as the SFA module was.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Twitter - just a temporary hype?

image I just read a post from Jennifer Leggio talking about twitter presence and overall social media strategy of corporations. And I have to agree that twitter has a somewhat limited value in a CRM 2.0 strategy as well.

The Comcast example might not be the blueprint for followers.
On one hand the twitter user numbers still seem to be growing fast, on the other hand I see lot of the communication moving to other platforms like Facebook. User numbers not necessarily visualize the amount of valuable information that is transmitted through such a platform.

My personal feeling is that the future will be a mashup of several social networks. Users will be looking for applications that combine the data streams seamless. I am using TweetDeck which has Facebook and MySpace connectivity already.

The idea of short messages enriched with pictures, location information and links to other sites might stay, but will twitter be around in a couple of years? Who knows…

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Socialnomics: Social Media Revolution

Looks like there is a new name in town… what happened to the Wikinomics?! The short version of the video mentioned earlier also re-uses the business velocity theme.

Check out the interesting video response from tippingpoint labs:

Not 100% sure if the hula hoop is a valid comparison, though… what is the value add of a hula hoop, really? not much I would guess. Social Media has more to offer I’d say.

Monday, September 21, 2009

CRM 2.0 Presentation

…done for my Thesis Defense last Saturday.

The goal was to squeeze the Thesis into a 20 minute presentation, so I put many slides into the backup section. I still could not finish within the 20 minutes, though…

Thursday, August 27, 2009 the big winner in 2009 ?!

ArticleImage.7155[1] The CRM Magazine has published the winners of their CRM Market Awards for 2009. Looks like SFDC is the dominant player, winning the top four categories (not really playing in the other categories).

Marc Benioff (SFDC CEO) is listed as one of the eight most influential leaders (next to Anthony Lye from Oracle and Tony Hsieh from Zappos). I am missing Paul Greenberg in this list…
It is noteworthy that Tony is in this list as someone that is actually doing CRM 2.0, not just talking about it or selling software that is supposed to implement successful CRM. This is a good example of how CRM 2.0 can look alike without spending too much thoughts on the technological or theoretical side of it, but just DOING it.
Tim O’Rielly (Enterprise 2.0) is also listed, because of his vision of the modern enterprise. Again, Tony has shown how this vision can be executed… Let’s hope Amazon can keep up this momentum and learn from Zappos rather than applying the Amazon culture.

Besides the extreme dominance of SDFC there is not a lot of surprises in the list of winners. Microsoft is massively gaining ground and I am unsure how Deloitte won the consultancies category – looks like they have done some successful projects to pass Accenture, IBM and Capgemini…

Amdocs (ex Clarify) does not show up anymore – looks like they killed the CRM business and put focus (back) on billing and their QPass and Cramer acquisitions. Although Rogers finally decided to upgrade to CES 7.5 and SmartClient, I am not seeing any new logos for Amdocs CRM in the past year).

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Social Media Ad

just came across this YouTube video that has some impressive numbers to show that the rise of social media (through Web 2.0 technology) definitely has begun…

Interesting that it picks up the comparison of the time to reach 50 million users.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Masters’ Thesis is progressing…

now at about 20 thousand words on 90 pages:

Wordle: CRM 2.0 by Guido Oswald

More to come soon, stay tuned....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CRM 2.0 at Progress Software


Interesting to see that the company I work for (although not selling CRM) is rapidly adopting the CRM 2.0 theme.

Gary Conway, our new hired CMO, is talking about a real dialogue with customers and sees the employees as the best evangelists of the company and its products. This is actually a very good start into a cultural change within the company and is accompanied by a marketing campaign to promote the Progress brand, which is pretty unknown in the marketplace of SOA. This is particular surprising as  Progress Software has some of the best in class products there…

The new website is already life and features a life chat possibility which allows customers to ask questions w/o taking the receiver and dialing a number. It is really good to see that we’re going into the right direction here and it shows that CRM 2.0 or Social CRM is gaining momentum.

BTW: you might have noticed that the post frequency has dramatically reduced. This is due to me now actively writing on my Masters’ Thesis and therefore not allowed to publish some of the stuff that I am writing. But be sure to find a lot more when I am finished writing on August 13th (latest).

Stay tuned,

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sometimes you have to ignore your customers!

Jensen Huang (Co-Founder of NVIDIA) has an interesting sight on Corporate Vision and the fact that you have to ignore the customer base in certain situations. That is when you are sure that your vision is so much stronger than that of your customers:

This is actually a good point and sometimes probably necessary to differentiate from competition. Risky, though, when you completely lose contact to the end-users.
For NVIDIA it worked out quite well. But as Jensen said, they were competing against 200 other graphics chips producers in the 90s, so differentiation is sometimes hard and might really lead to the ignorance of customers (for a while).

A CRM 2.0 strategy must not always mean that a business has to blindly follow what customers demand. Some products or services might not have an obvious business case (i.e. will not create immediate money), some might see no demand at the time you have to start developing them. Still they can deliver in the mid- or long-term if there is a strong vision behind it (and the vision fulfills).

A Revolution needs strong leadership and only a limited number of people are able to discover this in an early stage.

Apple is another good example where products are created with very little or no involvement of (potential) users. A very successful example as we all know… The question is do I really want to completely ignore customers? And if so, for how long?

I think executing on a strong vision does not mean that you have to lose contact with your customers. There are always some people out there that share the same vision. It’s all about finding these individuals and getting them into the boat. The connected (Web 2.0) world these times is a tremendous help here!

So CRM 2.0 is also about finding the right people out there and co-creating products and services with them. If done well, these customers will get real advocates for the brand.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crisis Management in Web 2.0 times

After the post about the “Amazon Fail” incident, I stumbled upon a nice slideset about crisis management at Domino’s Pizaa from Taly at Trendspotting:

Taly did some good research about crisis management and the presentations shows how this has changed in terms of reaction time (still to be improved) and used media type.

CRM 2.0 can help reacting to incidents like this one and avoid the Streisand effect that can cause major brand damage.

Here is some media coverage and Domino’s official response:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Are Facebook and Twitter just new channels?

Someone could argue that the new Web 2.0 platforms like Facebook, Twitter and co. are just additional channels that have to be supported by the existing CRM suite.


Dealing with these platforms as additional channels will not bring the benefit they could provide, though. Accepting that the rise of the Web 2.0 is dramatically changing the consumers’ behavior, leads to a simple conclusion – Businesses need to change the way they deal with the ‘new customers’ as well!

This means that Facebook and Twitter are only the spearhead of what will come in the near future. They are indeed channels that need to be dealt with (the more agile, the better) BUT the way corporations make use of them needs to change as well. The whole corporate culture needs to change!
Adapting to the new consumer behavioral patterns leads us to what I call a CRM 2.0 strategy (any other term will do as well as long as it has the same meaning and results).

New questions must be asked:

  • How can I have a meaningful conversation with my customers?
  • How can I engage customers to take an active part in this conversation?
  • How can I leverage the knowledge and willingness of customers?
  • Does my corporate culture allow meaningful conversations (what changes are required)?
  • Do I know the little aches and pains of my customers? Are they dealt with?
  • Who are my customers and where / whom do the talk about products and services?

In the very end, this might be the end of the transactions based CRM (not counting any order management here…) towards a more dynamic, flexible, agile and customer centric environment that acknowledges that customers are persons – usually – that make the buying decisions often based on trust and relationships.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Avoid getting into the fireline…


Amazon is currently experiencing a customer rebellion that has some similarities to the “I hate Siebel” wave that I wrote about in an earlier post. (search twitter on #amazonfail and #glitchmyass)

Basically this is all about the filtering of gay and lesbian authors in Amazons search functionality. I do not have full insight in what has really been filtered and if this has a negative effect on the authors’ book sales or not (and I really don’t want to get into this discussion as there is a lot of coverage already). But I want to analyze the happenings from a CRM 2.0 viewpoint and think of solutions for companies to avoid such massacres by detecting the development early enough and reacting in the right way to avoid the negative PR or even reverse the effects.

In Amazon's case, everybody can easily understand that adult books must be filtered from regular searches and bestseller lists to protect the younger users of this platform. On the other side, I can also understand the furious reactions of the gay and lesbian customers that feel discriminated by such a ‘censoring’.
What really happened here is that Amazon was getting into the fireline between parents and homosexual people. Not filtering the lists would probably have caused similar reactions on the other side…

So how can CRM 2.0 help?

This example shows that the empowerment of customers is advancing. Although we are talking about a minority, the amount of press coverage is massive and might have true negative impact on the Amazon brand. The beauty of a CRM 2.0 strategy is that it aligns a business with its customers. Although this does not make the conflict disappear, it would have signaled the responsible people much earlier.
This ledge could have been used to engage both groups into a meaningful conversation and find the solution that will probably be found and agreed on anyway in the end.

Having engaged the customers would not only have avoided the conflict to raise like it did, it would also have created more loyal customers because everybody would have felt involved and taken care of.

Funny enough, you can buy the domain at the other big arriviste of the eCommerce boom – at EBAY…

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lexnet Interview


Lexnet is starting a series of email interviews with focus on CRM. I think this is a brilliant idea and Paul Greenberg and Christopher Carfi already shared some insights.

Find my answers here:

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

The future of the Web (3.0?)


Creating a CRM 2.0 strategy that is viable in ten years from now would be tightly connected with an accurate prediction of what the Internet (WWW) will look alike by then.

But the question must be asked if this prediction can be made at all? The world is turning faster and faster. Predicting the next 10 years of the World Wide Web would be like predicting the rise of HDTV and Flat TVs in the 1950s…

Remember my slides around Business Velocity?

Or do you remember your top bookmarks in 1996 (I was at university at that time convincing the Professor to upgrade the 56k Internet connection…)? comScore lists websites like WEBCRAWLER.COM, NETSCAPE.COM or INFOSEEK.COM amongst the top 5 all dead and gone ten years later!

On one hand, the ®evolution of the Internet is going at the speed of light (Paul did recognize this a while ago :) – on the other hand, I believe that the cultural revolution that has taken place, initiated by the Web 2.0, has passed its zenith and will continue at a much slower pace the upcoming years.

With the acknowledgement that the future of the Web is hard to predict, a CRM 2.0 strategy should not solely rely on the most hyped platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but focus on a foundation that will last when they will be gone in ten years from now. “Covering the base” is the motto here rather than jumping on the short living buzz.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Do we still need Operational CRM ?


According to Gartner “the ratio of operational CRM, analytical CRM and social CRM in packaged applications will shift from 90:9:1 in 2009 to 70:20:10 by the year 2020”. This means there would still be a strong focus on operational CRM and the so called ‘social CRM’ part will only account for 10 percent of CRM suites in 2020.

One one hand I have to agree that operational CRM will still be an important part when it comes to CRM software – even in more than ten years from now. On the other hand I strongly believe that the way companies will execute a CRM 2.0 strategy will dramatically change and shift more to the ‘social CRM’ part than Gartner predicts.

My vision is a software suite that comprises not only traditional CRM tools such as a call center frontend and a sales force automation application, but also all the enterprise 2.0 features such as

  • wiki-webs
  • forums
  • instant messaging
  • knowledge management tools
  • intranet search (across all platforms)
  • social networking applications (linked to external/public platforms)
  • web-conferencing
  • video-conferencing
  • Document collaboration / store

This would allow to effectively execute a CRM 2.0 strategy and reduce the operational part to a minimum as customers can be invited to use these tools (some thoughts need to be spend on security here…) and actively contribute rather than getting stuck in a fixed sales or support process flow.

Currently i do not see any CRM suite getting close to this vision. might get there soon, but their problem is that the perception on the marketplace is still as a provider of sales force automation – the curse of the brand – and that the networks need to get (much) faster to allow the SaaS model (I do not see them doing Cloud Computing, yet) to deliver an acceptable experience with all these tools. Implementing the full set currently requires a best of breed approach including tools like Jive SBS, Google, SharePoint, WebEx and many more…

Monday, March 23, 2009

Enterprise_2.0_install.exe ?

While reading through Dion Hinchcliffes article “Sharepoint and Enterprise 2.0: The good, the bad, and the ugly”, I keep mapping his experience to what I am currently going through.

We are currently trying to establish a collaboration environment in our PreSales organization in EMEA and was checking out Sharepoint last week. First bumper: it requires a Microsoft Internet Explorer! What do my colleagues with their MacBooks do now? After this rather disappointing experience I found the integration into Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint pretty convenient. But again, what if your focus is not the Microsoft Office suite (looking again at all the MacOS users…) or you need to share office documents across the Microsoft boundary to OpenOffice?

I actually think that we will use Sharepoint only for collaborating on Office documents in bigger projects and only as long as there is no alternative that is more flexible. My Company is currently upgrading Jive ClearSpace (now SBS?) to the latest version and we will probably use this platform as a main target for collaboration and knowledge sharing. But still this will be just a tool that only helps us doing our work better – nothing less but also nothing more.

image This example shows very well that there is nothing than Enterprise 2.0 out of the box. It can only be a part of a larger CRM 2.0 strategy and has to be extended outside the corporate firewall to be effective – or would you be happy to enter your personal data again for the internal social network after having this information available on LinkedIn and XING already?? What if your customers have answers to problems and are willing to share this knowledge?

The secret is not copying the successful Web 2.0 platforms inside the company, but making use of the reference application secure enough to utilize the original instead of (a) copy… At least our new Progress Communities (going live end of the week) will share internal AND external data on the same platform. This means customers can actively take part and influence products and their development. Authentication will separate employees and customers if needed (and only if needed!). Now I would like to see my favorite social networks being integrated into Jive (and then twitter, then IM, etc…).

Welcome to the new world!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What is a “Conversation” ?

image When it comes to Social CRM or CRM 2.0, we often talk about establishing a conversation with customers. I think we all agree that pushing marketing data to a (static) Corporate Website or waiting for customers to call in when they have problems with the products is far away from having a conversation with them. But how can we define and establish such a conversation?

Creating a group on XING / LinkedIn, signing up as a corporation to Facebook or having an ‘official’ MySpace page does not automatically create efficient conversations with customers or prospects.


First step to get into a meaningful conversation with customers is a tough one, as it requires a company to share information that might normally be treated as confidential. This insight and the possibility to allow feedback from customers and prospects (using Web 2.0 tools) is the starting point of a real two-way conversation.

Of course the feedback has to be read and analyzed by someone in order to answer and get further feedback. This leads to a dialogue (and true collaboration) that allows to take action to improve a product or create new products and services.
To close the loop, the information about the new or improved products have to be shared again to allow new feedback and so on…

The Enterprise 2.0 paradigm can help creating the mindset within the corporation and will allow to create a relationship with customers that is worth being called so!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Call Center –> Contact Center –> Enterprise 2.0


While in the 90s Customer Support predominantly happened on the phone, with the rise of eCommerce new channels were added and the “Call Center” was renamed to “Contact Center”. Unfortunately some of the additional channels (other than Email) like online chat or instant messaging (IM) did not get very popular due to technical limitations in the pre-Web 2.0 era and the missing experience of customers with this kind of communication.

In the current economic climate the agent costs are being reduced by the use of tools like knowledge management or customer self service. RightNow is a CRM tool focusing on this area and  showing some popularity when the focus is short- and mid-term savings (without losing customer satisfaction).

With the rise of Web 2.0, there are additional channels that need to be supported like blogs, micro-blogs, forums, wikis, social networks, SEO, etc. Within a CRM 2.0 strategy, the increased transparency and the concept of an Enterprise 2.0 helps reducing the costs even further by allowing direct contact into the company (even right to the experts) and establishing conversations that not only reduce the need for specialized support agent, but also help building the self service capabilities and knowledge management repository. is recently growing the number of partners to leverage these new channels for its new customer support strategy.

In addition to the savings, the conversations help analyzing the customer requirements and aligning the product development with the customer needs. Involving customers also helps creating advocates - opening additional (viral~) marketing channels.

It has to be kept in mind, though, that these new channels are mostly targeted towards a tech-savvy and younger audience that is familiar with the new technologies. It would be a bad idea to completely shut down telephone support or tele-sales, even if the target group is the generation Y and techies.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trust in a Customer Relationship Model 2.0

979763_hope The recent change of Facebooks terms (now claiming perpetual worldwide license for all content) showed how hard it is to build up a trusted relationship in the Web 2.0 world.

Although Mark Zuckerberg probably did not have any ulterior motives and reversed the change in terms shortly after facing massive protests from the community, it shows that there is very little trust in corporations and users are suspicious by default when it comes to their own content or data.

For CRM 2.0 this means customer rights have to be treated very very carefully as long as the new communication channels are completely established and trusted. It is not acceptable for users to read and sign complicated and long terms and the community will react very harsh if some parts of the terms seem to be fraudulent. In essence – treat your customers like you would like to be treated yourself. The communities in the Web 2.0 will find any malpractice and make it public, possibly causing massive damage to a brand. “Don’t be evil” and stick by it!

John Sviokla has listed the following principles on his blog post:

  • Allow users to own their content and identity
  • Make all "sharing" options default to the most conservative setting
  • Create a better infrastructure for anonymity and tracking of content
  • Don't sneak up on the audience
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Enterprise 2.0

Space_shuttle_enterprise Andrew McAfee defines Enterprise 2.0 as “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers”.

According to his definition, CRM 2.0 is part of Enterprise 2.0 because he extends the use of social software to partners and customers – interesting thought. For me though, Enterprise 2.0 is a (crucial) part of a CRM 2.0 strategy, but not the other way around.

To successfully implement a CRM 2.0 strategy, it is necessary to change the corporate culture towards collaboration, co-creation and transparency - Using the Web 2.0 tools within the corporate is a logical and required step.

Good thing is that Generation Y will ‘naturally' bring some of this culture into the enterprise, as they grew up with the Web 2.0 and do not have the reservation that Gen X and the Baby Boomers have. Of course social software within an enterprise has higher requirements towards reliability and security, which might disqualify some of the services that are already out there and are widely used. seamlessly integrating Google Docs is a brilliant example of how enterprise 2.0 (within a CRM 2.0 strategy) could look like. Microsoft Office Live might follow up, soon.

I am pretty sure we will see more and more companies using channels like Blogs, Twitter or Instant Messaging. Not only externally but also internally. Missing standards make interoperability between the different media and among the different platforms difficult, though.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cloud CRM – a definition

CloudCRM Cloud Computing is replacing SOA as the buzzword in 2009. I spent some thoughts on how this will influence CRM 2.0 in technical and business terms. is currently heavily pushing their “Service Cloud” solution, which is a little misleading in its naming I believe. The Service Cloud is not exposing any services into the cloud but utilizing some public APIs from platforms like Facebook or Google.

This is adding new channels to the contact center (and such enhancing the customer experience) and feeding solutions from customers back into the knowledge base – good thing - but what really has all this to do with Cloud Computing? My opinion… nothing!
Maybe this is just a way to get something out of the buzzword and sell new contact channels as a brand new product?!

Their example of Orange and Plantronics is nice to view, but what happens if I am not a SFDC customer? The SalesForce to SalesForce interface is (like all the others) a Point-to-Point integration and not even based on any standards like Web-Services, I believe (correct me if I’m wrong).

Having said this, what is my vision of ‘real’ Cloud CRM then?
For me, Cloud Computing means that I (as a user) do not know where the processing power or storage resides physically. In contrast Software as a Service (SaaS) is a piece of software that is running for a dedicated user at a known location (I count the url “” as a known location…).
Now if we use standards to communicate with the services in the cloud, this would make them pretty much completely exchangeable. Of course this is not a good thing for the vendors of these services and hence Amazon, Microsoft and introduced their own proprietary structures and interfaces.

In an ideal world – and we are far away from that, yet – all vendors would agree on one open standard and the consumers (i.e. users) would have the choice to dynamically exchange and combine services from the cloud to create their individual CRM platform that perfectly scales and performs as required. But how would ISVs feel if their customers had a zero vendor-lock-in? If they could exchange the CRM service with a couple of mouse clicks and the new service would still integrate seamlessly to their ERP or OSS?     Maybe then even the producers of CRM software will have to think about a CRM 2.0 strategy… (I like that idea)

Ok, stop dreaming now! We are in 2009, facing global recession and I am delighted to see that SFDC is integrating to social platforms like Facebook (more to come I suppose) and help companies that are looking to implement a CRM 2.0 strategy by giving them the right tools to execute such a vision. The IdeaExchange functionality is a good (though proprietary) starting point to gather feedback from customers and get the involved – a first step to collaboration and co-creation.

There is a long way to go until Cloud CRM becomes reality. Standards have to evolve, security has to be ensured and SLAs have to be controllable. SaaS is (only) a first step into this direction.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The dark side of Web 2.0


Besides the obvious positive effects of the world wide web becoming social, there are some effects that we might forget or underestimate, yet.

Agreed, it is a good thing that everybody can freely express their thoughts and views (and now being heard through the Web 2.0…), but what about things like professionalism, proper research and  knowledge of the topic?

The Web 2.0 - and the resulting transparency - in many areas could result in unqualified and simply untrue expression of opinions that result in witch hunts or have serious negative impact on the targeted persons, products, brands or companies. While in old fashioned journalism the contributors are professionals that do proper research before publishing a story – in the Web 2.0 world a lot of the commentators have no glue of what they are talking about and do not have the knowledge or time to deal with the topic in the required detail.

Of course given that the amount of information and the number of contributors on the internet is very large, it will be difficult for a single person to make an impact being heard my many others. But when minorities get organized, they could well make a much bigger impact than the not so organized majority.

Is this our digital way to global Anarchy ??

Well, as always, nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked…
Yes - it will be possible to harm somebody by publishing negative or even untrue statements on the internet and it might be possible to initiate a Tsunami with many people following and propagating the negative statement, but in the end there is still our common sense. And as easy as it is creating negative mood, as easy it is to create positive feedback for someone or something.
And as easy as it is to discredit someone, as easy it is for them to defend themselves using the same tools and techniques as the initiator.

As long as companies understand the Web 2.0 and its possibilities, they can utilize it to create a positive PR - connecting to their customers so that they become advocates and protect a brand, product or service from harm resulting of activities initiated by well organized minorities.
A well thought CRM 2.0 strategy helps organizing customer relations in this new world and ensures success in the future of our changing global business.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

CRM 2.0 vs. Social CRM

According to blogpulse the two buzzwords are heads up with a small advantage for social CRM:

CRM 2.0 vs Social CRM

For me these two have the same meaning, but I am happy for any comments if you think otherwise…

See also the CRM 2.0 definition Wiki:

Monday, January 19, 2009

I hate SIEBEL ?!

An interesting development going on that relates in two ways to the CRM 2.0 topic – Firstly it is about a CRM Software Vendor and secondly it happens in the Web 2.0


Recently I noticed a new group on Facebook called “I hate SIEBEL” which turns out to be a gathering of people that are frustrated with the Siebel CRM Platform. My understanding is that the group was created as a platform to shout out the frustration at Telstra when they moved to the new CRM Front-(and Back-)End but has now evolved to a group of 1,556 (Jan 19th, 4:40pm) members posting 320 comments on the wall and seriously affecting the brand image of Siebel Systems and Oracle.

As I was involved in the efforts at Telstra to re-vamp their complete IT, I have a rough understanding how things work there – or supposed to work I must say. And although I was competing against Siebel and Oracle in my previous job at Amdocs and do not know what exactly is causing the trouble at Telstra, I doubt that Siebel and the CRM Frontend is the only root-cause for this.

Interesting enough how thing have evolved, though. Siebel gets hammered (being the visible part to the agents) for all the issues with Telstras NextGen BSS/OSS System. This seems to be a very good example of the dynamics in the Web 2.0 and the possible harm that users can do to a brand. It shows the importance of a CRM 2.0 strategy and the (currently) missing awareness in some companies.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

InsideCRM – best CRM Blogs of 2008

insidecrm_logo I just noticed that I am listed on InsideCRMs list of best CRM blogs for 2008 – thanks!

Hope I can keep up the momentum in 2009…

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Monday, January 5, 2009

CRM 2.0 - The end of the Transaction-Model?

While 'traditional' CRM heavily counts on fixed processes and transactions, CRM 2.0 takes the discussion one level higher and makes the customer relationship a strategy rather an IT (or business~) process. But what about the transactions? What happens to the way money flows from consumers to producers?

962544_business_woman Obviously there will still be transactions in the future and customers will pay for products and services (otherwise we need to watch out for an alternative to money...) BUT the whole system will not be based on a transaction model anymore.

There is still the need to automate business processes (like Ordering, Fulfillment, etc.) but these processes need to become more flexible and companies need to understand that the customer relationship does not end after they bought something or paid for it. CRM 2.0 is a strategy and as such part of a companies vision, not their execution. Many corporations still struggle to automate their business processes in our days and I am afraid that CRM 2.0 (being a strategy) cannot help here a lot. A proper architecture like SOA (Web Services, ESB, etc.) will make the IT agile and stable enough to cope with the high demands of the new world. On that end, CRM 2.0 extends traditional CRM and requires the basic infrastructure to run smoothly - which is currently not always the case, unfortunately.

The tough part will be the ROI measurement of a CRM 2.0 strategy. There will be no associated revenue stream(s) with each single investment anymore. Advocate customers can influence many others and create a large number of leads just by spreading the word. The identification of these individuals (to adapt their customer value) will be a tricky thing as the information will be outside the CRM database and probably no easy Google search. The metrics to calculate ROI will need to change to include the fact that people can contribute in various different ways to promote products or build/enhance them.

Not investing in such customers will not only blot out the revenue and new leads, but might have the opposite effect (kind of the inverse Streisand-Effect - if there is something like this). Negative publicity can be really costly to fight against.