Bob Thompson, Editor of CustomerThink.com and a friend who graciously threw a dinner party for me at a fabulous Italian Restaurant last year when I was in San Francisco area for the first time ever, has a very intriguing post that has got the knickers of many in knots. Well, it is titillatingly titled
where Bob definitely does a great job figuring out a pattern from a spate of events that have happened in the recent past in the product vendor market around Social CRM – they are all moving crabwise around the term Social CRM.
And yet something stuck me odd about getting into the nomenclature/definition/classification debates all over again. I mean, we are no longer fumbling in utter darkness, we are all fumbling around with a matchbox each in utter darkness. And by we I mean the early adopters, the people who are now considered the thought leaders and market leaders in the Social CRM space. What we need now is a breed of early adapters who will use the disruptive forces (social computing & other non technological ones) to provide value not just to their businesses but also their business ecosystems. And thus I wrote the following comment on Bob’s post:
Nice post Bob. A keen eye on the state of affairs I must exclaim in joy! Most flew past me though I came by them; but now that you have connected the dots I cant un-see the picture now.
However, I wonder why do you limit your pattern sensing to vendors, technology vendors at that?
Like Bill we too are seeing an increase in interest from our clients to know about Social CRM; but its mostly about their own sense making journey. Thus after the free insights they get from us we are seeing very elongated sales cycles. But luckily they turn out to be business consulting opportunities. We do see systems integration & custom IT related opportunities too.
People are still fumbling around with all the disruption the boom in social computing has enabled, both on the internet as well as within the enterprise firewalls.
We (you, me and the multitude others who have been disputing about the nomenclature, definition and classification of all things “social” for the past few years) are the early adopters of these disruptive technologies; the real practitioners with the kind of case studies we early adopters will all feel proud will be the early adapters, not adopters.
These early adapters (as opposed to adopters) will figure out how exactly can they muzzle the disruption effectively to put them to work not just for their business, but also their business ecosystem (this is because of the nature of the disruptive technologies).
Knowledge Management, Learning, Collaboration, Employee recruiting/onboarding/retaining, Rewards & Recognition, Partner/Distributor/Channel management, Customer XYZ (relationship management, marketing, sales, service, experience management, engagement, etc.) … everything needs to be relooked.
Rather than merely looking at the tech disruptions that Harish seems to have caught up with (since we are the early adopters, remember?), we need to look at Graham’s pet topics like Customer Co-Creation, Service Dominant Logic, Jobs to be done, Value Networks to help the breed of early adapters we are all eagerly waiting for.
In the meantime, all we have is posturing by every kind of vendor (product, service, analyst or publication) to promote a particular nomenclature/definition/classification to claim either “market leadership” or “thought leadership”. And you know I am included in that above list as well because of my employment status, if not personal posturing.
I have begun my journey to be an early adapter too (in addition to being an early adopter) in parallel to being a co-traveler for the early adapters in my clientele. Hope you embark on such a similar journey too. All the best!