The following announcement by Oracle is HUGE. Not because of the new technology, but because of the recognition by a major enterprise vendor that customer wield power and they do so through social media.
“We believe there is a fundamental disruption in customer relationships,” Anthony Lye, senior vice president of Oracle CRM and a veteran of Siebel Systems, said. “Customers no longer want to engage with vendors in the way they have previously. The way I built CRM systems has fundamentally changed.”
Oracle views CRM as falling into three hierarchies:
- the transactional model that CRM vendors have traditionally followed, providing insight to managers, but providing little value to end users
- an analytical model that relies on business intelligence and insight
- social CRM, expanding on Web 2.0 technologies and the consumer Web by bringing collaboration to CRM software.
The Chinese have a saying about Change—it simultaneous brings danger and opportunity. The danger is that giants like Oracle will try to define, through technology, how customers can be social and by doing so, hold back a health customer-centric movement. Personally, I don’t think this will happen, as the train has already left the stations and customer have too many open and transparent channels available to them.
Where’s the Opportunity? Well, the fundamental disruption in customer relationships is just that—the way buyer and sellers relate has changed and customer are calling the shots. Opportunity arises because there is a shortage of people who understand the dynamics of the emerging social relationships that are being forced on companies. Social relationships imply a dialog, a situation where both parties listen and both parties get to talk and they influence each other. This is a big departure from traditional sales and marketing and will require the insights and skill of professionals who embrace customer-centricity.