At a high level what vendors of Social CRM products pitch and what vendors of Enterprise 2.0 pitch is the same product.
They use similar words: collaboration, share, engagement, conversation, and social (oops, maybe not all the same words). The concepts of what they deliver are very similar as well: collaborate with customers to build a better business, collaborate with employees to build a better business.
Unfortunately, that is where the similarities end.
As strange as it may sound, I have encountered no Enterprise 2.0 initiatives that have actually made direct contact with the customer. Almost as if doing something for them is sufficient and talking to them would ruin it. In spite of all the talk of customer-centricity, the Enterprise 2.0 projects are still pretty much company-centric.
The reverse of the coin is not much better. Social CRM (or traditionally CRM) projects have been boasting of being customer centric for quite some time as well – and point to different implementations of Customer Experience Management or similar CX initiative as proof that they care about the customer.
Talk is cheap – actions don’t really show a focus on the customer. While they do ask the customer for feedback, it is seldom used and ignored, or not even understood. Whatever good intentions are present in trying to make CRM and Social CMR more customer-centric, vanish in implementation realities.
Hmmm. Maybe, just maybe there are similarities we can work on.
The two initiatives want to be customer-centric, both want to be more collaborative, and both are not getting it right the first time around. Maybe, just maybe…
Compatibility through goals? Sure.
As a matter of fact, the proposal of building a social business on the way to creating a collaborative enterprise relies on that compatibility of goals. The concept of creating a shared platform where customers and organizations can work together to create a better process that will deliver greater value to both of them is not flawed – it has been proven to work quite well. Organizations that work jointly with their customers, giving them access to the necessary systems as if they were employees, have reported much better results at customer-centricity. The customer is not only put at the center, but is brought in as a member of the team to contribute and work alongside.
There is something to that idea…
Is compatibility of goals the only area where they are the same (or pulling in the same direction)?
If you start looking a little deeper, they leverage and use similar tools. Features, bells, and whistles may vary from one camp to the other – even may be totally different. The core, however, the basic functions are the same.
Collaboration, Integration, and Platform-driven development are the same whether you are talking about customers, consumers, partners, or employees and functions. The job to be done may differ, but the tools used and the systems and platforms they rely on are similar. This similarity is what has not been explored by the vendors in detail, and where a lot of the promise of collaborative enterprise shines.
We have similar goals, similar infrastructure – what about similar operating principles?
This is going to be the critical point in converging these two disciplines going forward – how they operate so that all stakeholders benefit, while extending value for the organization.
Convergence is going to be not so much about technology and goals, those are easy, but how to make it all work together.
Don’t you think?
Note: I will begin to explore this and many similar topics at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara on November 8-11. Please join me if you want to talk about this.