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Social CRM Transformation Demands CIO Leadership

Blog post by on January 17, 2012 No Comments

Is your IT department leading the social CRM charge?


Flash back to high school: Remember the categorical imperative? You’re the only person standing next to a fire extinguisher when a roaring blaze breaks out. Ethnically speaking, you have an obligation to extinguish the flames.

Similar imperatives operate in the business world — minus the split-second reaction time requirements — when it comes to applying technology. Both CIOs and IT managers have scarce, valuable knowledge and experience about the best way to employ technology to make the business run better. Accordingly, they have a duty to act.

Enter social CRM, which involves overlaying social networking capabilities onto traditional customer-focused marketing, sales, and service activities. With consumers spending more time than ever not just online, but on social networks, the new business imperative is to connect with customers and prospects on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, bespoke support communities, and everywhere else they gather.

Today, however, too many senior executives focus solely on “social,” and leave social CRM in the hands of their marketing department — because they’re the Twitter experts, right? In fact, social CRM is too valuable for the organization’s future health to just be handed off to marketing. Pursue that strategy, and your business will fail.

CIOs See Social CRM Way Forward

When it comes to social CRM — as with cloud-based (aka SaaS) CRM — businesses need their CIOs and IT managers to help drive them forward, for two primary reasons:

  • Technology acumen: Today, social CRM technology (Salesforce.com, Jive, Lithium) varies wildly. Everything is differentiated; nothing is commoditized. Accordingly, businesses need technology experts who can help them evaluate the options, and think through how technical capabilities will map to solving discrete business challenges.
  • Process perspective: Social business processes won’t map verbatim to today’s organizational boundaries. Rather, aspects of marketing, sales and service — not to mention HR, finance, quality and manufacturing — must blend. (Salesforce.com’s acquisition of Rypple is the latest sign, following similar moves by Oracle and SAP, that this blending is becoming reality.) Your CIO, sitting outside of those heavily siloed realms, can bring a valuable perspective about how to blend parts of these business functions for maximum impact.

Meanwhile, here’s a similar message for CIOs and IT managers: Step forward to help manage your business’s social CRM adoption strategy. Someone I used to work with loved this phrase: “If a CIO doesn’t take this action, and he was a doctor, he’d be sued for malpractice.” That now goes for social CRM.

Customer-Facing Groups Need External Perspective

When it comes to using social networks to solve discrete business challenges, it’s worth noting that beyond just technology acumen, many CIOs and IT managers have extensive personal experience with social media and mobility, typically from living on the bleeding edge of the new-technology adoption curve.

Indeed, out of every employee at your organization, your CIO and IT managers are the most likely to:

In other words, when it comes to using technology to solve business challenges, they get it, because most often, they’re the ones who’ve already actively embraced it as consumers. Accordingly, when it comes to overlaying social CRM capabilities on existing marketing, sales and service processes, ensure that your IT department’s best and brightest are not just involved, but leading the charge.

Learn More

Innoveer helps organizations assess their existing social CRM strategy, sales, marketing, service, and collaboration capabilities. Contact us to learn more about Innoveer’s Social Business Framework, based on the best practices of hundreds of CRM practitioners, which we use to help businesses rapidly develop a social CRM adoption strategy.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Sgt. Travis Zielinski.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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