I Am Not A SCRM Market Expert, I Just Play One On Twitter

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If you have been following the #SCRM Accidental Community on Twitter lately you probably have seen my crazy rants against — well, anyone out there who calls SCRM a market, or a technology – or anything other than new channels for CRM.

This post is an attempt to summarize some of those rants and move the stake in the ground that Paul Greenberg has set (much better than me I might add) so we can move forward. Having an agreement on what it it and what it’s not makes a great difference in the speed at which we grow.

At the heart of all this is the definition of SCRM as a market. I spent nearly eight years at Gartner debating markets and whether or not new innovations were them. I took the lead in the discussions for E-CRM (electronic channels), RT-CRM (real-time), M-CRM (mobile) and just about any other x-CRM you can imagine when they first emerged into the scene. They all carried great promise and lots of bells and whistles that made them as attractive as glass beads.

And they all failed to deliver the promised revolution. Why?

Great Question.

They failed because they tried to create a market. Vendors wanted to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market by offering the “original” or “first to market” of that type of software. Consultants wanted to have the “only methodology” for implementing it. An IT worker wanted to be the “cool guy” (or gal) to implement it first. In other words, people’s ambitions got ahead of the capabilities of the moment – and hype killed the cat (sorry, the market).

So, how come they could not define a market? Another great question (darn, you are on fire today).

A market for enterprise applications is defined (and I am not going to go to the dictionary here) by its key characteristics. Markets MUST have:

  • sufficient differentiating features to make it independent of other markets
  • the ability to operate independently of other applications (no do-or-die dependencies)
  • an addressable, unique problem that cannot be solved with other applications
  • a revenue projection that will make it worth the time for vendors and providers
  • a business justification, tangible costs and benefits, and in some (OK most) cases an ROI
  • a story that is easy to understand by Sr. Management, Middle Management, and users

Brighter minds than mine prevail in this debate, this is just another brick in the wall. The following are places where you can get many more details, and where I undoubtedly took inspiration, on what SCRM is and what it means.

Paul Greenberg – Time to put a stake in the ground on Social CRM
Prem Kumar – Social CRM: Some Temporary Definitions
Mitchell Lieberman – Enabling Social CRM is a convergence of Enterprise 2.0 and CRM
Wim Rampen – What a social CRM strategy is all about
Brian Vellure – Social CRM: Overhyped Fad or Transformational Solution

Please comment. I want to have a good conversation and learn from you. I know there are holes in my argument. Find them.

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