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.