Dumbing down Social CRM


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I have been in the US this past week. The journey from Bangalore to Washington DC in itself was quite interesting. A three hop flight journey (BLR-DBX-ATL-IAD) that took away ~32 hours of my life, but since I traveled west (& I gained time) I lost only about 21 hours. Yeah, I know, convoluted. (This is similar to that guy Louis Wu in the Ringworld series who kept traveling west to extend his 200th birthday celebrations!)

The reason I am here in the US is to ‘evangelize’ Social CRM. But before I got to tell parables of the ‘Customer’ gospels to the flock I went for my baptism by the Pope of Social CRM – Paul Greenberg. 🙂

Ok, enough with cliche and cryptic ranting.

I came to US to attend what is now being called the #SCRMSummit and follow it up with meetings with my peers, clients & partners to discuss & get things done around Social CRM.

I got caught in the worst blizzard in more than a century at Washington DC, cooped up with other thought leaders, analysts, consultants, systems integrators, vendors & practitioners of Social CRM. We were 68 of us and if you hate Social CRM, this was the place to obliterate it. Sorry, you missed the chance though we have been talking about it for weeks now.

The blizzard was actually something that happened ultimately for the good (baring some set backs, like the absence of Esteban Kolksy). The original venue was closed because Federal was closed. And thus we had the venue shifted to the hotel itself where most of us were put up. That gave us all a LOT of time to catch up after the classroom sessions too. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner … all were in the company of these brilliant brains & great friends.

I will only say that it was AWESOME to finally get to meet all the folks with whom I had been conversing all these months on the social space & it was really really great to meet Paul Greenberg in real space! And we were all acting like a bunch of school kids meeting after the summer break. Only regret, we didn’t have a group photo & I didn’t get autographs of all these folks! 🙁

Read more about the event, our learnings & our feelings from Brian, Brent & Kathy.

So from this highly intellectual dosage of futuristic concepts around Social CRM, I had to shift my focus to the realities of life and actually think about getting a few wins around Social CRM. Social Media is easy, but maturing that to Social CRM is tougher. When you look at the whole “social” thing with a SCRM lens you need to consider organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, etc. Aligning the org structure to these (that might mean restructuring), changing the org culture. Developing new metrics/KPIs based on the goals (not the other way round please, always have the goals in mind first). Figure out the channels (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Youtube, etc.) where one needs to concentrate on. Figure out what to do in those channels – listen, engage, influence? Get newer systems setup, get things integrated (multi channel, cross channel, closed loop, etc.). Set governance in place, build policies for the employees. Educate them. Synergize with the ecosystem (only the business getting social doesn’t bring the best benefit, partners, vendors, distributors, etc. need to too).

But how to put the above in a structured way? So that enterprises can lap it up easily? Thats my next challenge.

As Mike Boysen says, and Esteban too, I need to dumb them down, make them simpler. (I still get questions if it is ok to get the tweets & other user generated content from the social web into the enterprise, considering the privacy issues, etc.) Or if it were Graham Hill, I would have to learn Cognitive Fluency. 😉

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Prem Kumar Aparanji
SCRM Evangelist @ Cognizant. Additional knowledge in BPM, QA, Innovations, Solutions, Offshoring from previous roles as developer, tester, consultant, manager. Interested in FLOSS, Social Media, Social Networks & Rice Writing. Love SF&F books. Blessed with a loving wife & a curious kid. :)


  1. Prem,

    It was great meeting face to face.

    The term dumbing down is funny, but what we’re really doing is finding a way to explain it to the broadest audience. If a vendor can point to their software (something with features and has a box you can touch) and say it’s Social CRM, then as with regular old CRM, we have to compete with that. It’s obvious that we lost the first round – so we need to work on it, and quickly.

    The simpler we can make this, the easier it will be to demonstrate the impact to their business.

    Mike Boysen
    Effective CRM


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