In one of my earlier post, I highlighted the Social CRM opportunity for IT Services Companies. In this post, I want to elaborate further on it by explaining HOW they can leverage this opportunity.
First step is to understand how customers of clients are using various Social Media channels (like Facebook or Twitter). And since this varies by the industry, IT services companies will need to come up with industry specific Social CRM approach and solution. Domain experts in each industry segment (called Verticals) need to evaluate ways their clients can:
- integrate social media channels into websites
- integrate the new channels into their Sales, Marketing & Support processes and systems
- include social media metrics in performance dashboards and SLAs
Next step for IT services companies is to develop delivery capability to address Social CRM requirements of their clients. They should partner with leading vendors in key areas of Social CRM, namely:
- Social Media Measurement & Monitoring
- Customer Community Platforms
- Social Media and Network Analytics
And finally, once the team has good understanding of the requirements (step 1) and tools (step 2), they should execute prototype or pilot projects with reference to each industry segment (or Vertical) that will demonstrate their capability in the area.
Given the buzz about Social CRM in the industry, I expect demand for “Social CRM” tools and services to pick up substantially in the near future. Those IT services companies who demonstrate thought leadership and build their delivery capability in this area “Proactively” will emerge as winners. Moreover, Social CRM offers a great opportunity for smaller IT services companies to “leap-frog” their larger rivals in this area who might be slow in responding to this opportunity.
What do you think? How should IT Services Companies prepare for Social CRM opportunity?
Harish – good points.
I would add the complicating factors that
(1) there are a large, changing number of players in your second step, with a lot of experimentation at the moment and consolidation coming soon
(2) there’s a big integration challenge here that my first point makes even worse. This is going to be between heavily structured CRM systems that may not be very integration friendly and a whole new world of often cloud-based services. This integration will need to support a lot of change as companies as experiment and evolve their Social CRM implementations.
So I would add a third step to your prescription for services companies. That would be to investigate lightweight integration technologies that can bridge these old and new worlds cost-effectively and flexibly but without creating more hard-to-maintain complexity.
Thanks for your comment David:
I agree that there are a large number of players in this space and we are likely to see M&A activity. And you are spot on with “integration challenge” facing the clients. But many tools are out there (Cast Iron for example) that can be used to ease the Integration burden.
The opportunity is too good to be missed. IT services companies should invest in resources and training to come up to speed BEFORE the demand picks up, so when it does a few months down the road – they will be ready to offer solutions to their clients.
Thanks again for your insightful comment, much appreciated!
Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.