And that “pig” is otherwise known as sales force automation (SFA).
Are they really this clueless in Redwood Shores, or is it all part of a nefarious marketing scheme to jump on the “social” bandwagon to sell gadgetized SFA?
Most would agree that the social media movement started with consumers blogging and networking. One might expect a vendor slapping the “social” label on software might actually try to connect with these same consumers.
Sadly, no. Instead, Oracle promotes a vision for “social CRM” that sounds like sales automation with Web 2.0 features. Oracle’s Stephen Fearon, VP of CRM On Demand & CRM Sales Development, defined social CRM in a recent podcast as “Web 2.0 techniques and networking techniques being applied to a business application.”
Fine, now reps have an updated user interface on their SFA tool, and can network with each other. That’s it?
Will the real social CRM please stand up?
I rang up Paul Greenberg, who has been at the forefront of the social movement in the CRM industry for the past few years. He agreed with me that Oracle’s social efforts so far are mostly focused on internal collaboration. “It’s really Enterprise 2.0,” he said.
Social CRM, says Greenberg, is essentially the same as the term he coined a couple of years ago — CRM 2.0 — which is defined this way:
“CRM 2.0 is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a system and a technology, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative interaction that provides mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment.”
Notice the phrases “engage the customer” and “collaborative interaction.” The definition goes on to say that with CRM 1.0, the company/customer relationship is like a “parent to child,” but with CRM 2.0: the relationship is “collaborative effort.”
What’s happening here? Like Siebel with CRM 1.0, a big software vendor is hijacking a hot term to sell something. CRM was supposed to be a business strategy, but software companies like Siebel and others turned it into software.
Just yesterday I got an email from a Salesforce.com rep with this in the subject line: “Still Looking for CRM?” Yes, I am, will I get it just by using your SFA tool?
Now we can thank Oracle for promoting the idea that to get social CRM, you need to buy software for sales reps. Wonderful.
Yes, CRM can be social
If SFA 2.0 is not social CRM, then what is? Here are some examples:
- Salesforce.com and SugarCRM have connectors to integrate with Facebook and other cloud services. That’s social.
- RightNow’s CRM system can work collaboratively with a Lithium-powered customer community. That’s social.
- Marketbright has a new “prospect portal” to allow reps to create a microsite for an individual prospect. That’s social.
Dennis Howlett, in his blog post Oracle apps: an innovation free zone since 2006? had this to say about Oracles’ Social CRM: “It’s cute looking and while I kinda shrugged – it is after all a relatively simple, if effective mashup.”
My take: Oracle’s un-social Social CRM is just another example of its failure to innovate. Far easier to buy companies and jump on buzzword bandwagons.
Then again, maybe Oracle isn’t confused. Oracle wants you to believe that CRM is an inside-out, company-centric approach to doing things to customers, not with them. Good for software sales, but not customer-centric, and certainly not social.
Thanks, Oracle. Can’t wait to hear the breaking news on Social Database and Social ERP.