The SCRM-E2.0 Convergence: Train Wreck or Chunnel?

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On Tuesday January 12th we had discussion on the convergence between SCRM and Enterprise 2.0.

My introduction to the topic summarized what I see as the main issue: SCRM and Enterprise 2.0 are heading in the same direction (customer-centricity), talking about the same issues (engagement), using the same technologies (collaboration), and solving similar problems (culture, politics, adoption) — yet, we pretend we are talking about two very separate, different things. Not only are they very similar, but whether you are collaborating internally among users, or externally with clients, without reaching out to the other constituency it won’t work.  Clients and users are closely tied in a Social world.

The most surprising thing was the answer to a simple question: who among the SCRM practitioners and implementers in the panel and the audience had enabled internal collaboration to support the SCRM changes they had adopted? Among 35-40 people, only one hand went up.  This was reinforced by the avoidance of the concept as I tried to ask more direct questions to that effect – when I asked what should an organization do to support the changes brought on by Social Media adoption and by SCRM implementations, the answer went back to implementing SCRM and the changes it brought to customers.  Although the audience was mostly SCRM, I am sure if I were to ask the E2.0 crowd what  changes they made to their customer-facing processes to reflect the internal changes I would get a similar answer (crickets).

Seriously? No changes necessary?

If this the current state of the convergence, we got lots of work to do to make it happen.  My prediction for 2010 as the year it begins the liftoff may have been a bit ahead of its time (a comment someone in the audience made following the event).

There is no way that either one of the two movements will succeed without the other.  You cannnot have meaningful change in processes dealing with customers (providing better experiences, increasing loyalty) if you don’t alter the way you work.  And altering the way you work without having a significant impact in how you deliver to the client makes almost as much sense (improved collaboration with no effect on delivery).

It is simple, the two shall meet and move forward together for organizations to embrace being social.  No other way around it.

I was searching for an analogy to conceptualize where we are.  I thought of two trains running on the same track, facing each other, full speed ahead.  We see them going to crash — yet we cannot warn them, or alter their course, or avoid the crash.

As I was thinking more and more about it I realized that it is a poor, albeit sensationalist, representation of what the convergence can bring.  Sure, both camps would prefer to have this representation of independence and momentum and a separate end goal.

But it is not like that at all.  The Convergence is more like building the Chunnel.

The underground tunnel between UK and France was built simultaneously digging from both sides.  Each one of them had similar problems to solve, and unique problems to solve.  They both did the best they could to keep the common goal in mind: meeting in the middle.  Now, if we can make two tunnels starting from opposite ends about 50 kilometers apart meet in a specific point in the middle — I am sure we can make two strategic solutions meet halfway and deliver an engaged, customer-centric organization – right?

The Convergence – If it happened once, it can happen again…

I am planning a series of weekly posts for February 2010 that will explore in more detail how to make it happen.  Let me know if you want to chat, converse, or collaborate on that.

What do you think? Possible? Plausible? Doable?  Would love to hear your thoughts…

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