About a decade ago, the industry witnessed the rise of what some called "e-CRM" where CRM suites were extended to include interaction via the Internet. Back then, much of the focus was on e-mail response management and chat. Some analyst firms at the time referred to that interaction layer as Collaborative CRM (vs. Operational CRM and Analytical CRM). In many ways, we're seeing the continued evolution of CRM as organizations reach out even further to interact with various audiences and constituencies (e.g., "Social CRM") in environments where they already participate (e.g., Twitter, Facebook). There are similar issues that were true back then and are also true now. CRM can still be treated as a technology endeavor or as a very enterprise-centric program that delivers only a veneer of customer-centricity rather than something truly authentic. The promise of melding CRM programs with social environments faces the same hurdles that I witnessed years ago (becoming techno-centric oor too enterprise-centric). Although I do not include CRM as a formal part of my research, I do pay attention to social media and its intersect with many different areas (such as CRM).
The demo's below are interesting but there are issues that organizations need to consider that relate to identity, privacy, and security. For example, identity assurance of Twitter accounts comes to mind - not just the ability to ascertain the identity of a "customer" but for the customer to ascertain that the "company" Twitter account is valid and that the people behind those accounts are authorized. For some industry segments, there are issues or audit and compliance that need to be supported (e.g., FINRA) or simply to satisfy e-Discovery policies.
The other concerns I have is that traditional CRM vendors are "repaving the cowpath" when it comes to the design point for extending CRM to social tools. For instance, I have concerns that integration of CRM for marketing via Twitter will simply make it easier for organizations to spam all followers with promotions rather than engage people in a more meaningful way (and wrongly thinking that they are truly using Twitter in a social manner). Organizations might not explore the idea of "employees as brand ambassadors" via social media and instead use existing processes and tools defacto to create a corporate persona around social tools. There can be a balance. For instance, when I look at Bank of America (BofA_Help), the signature line of the BoA rep at the end of each Tweet is a nice touch.
1. Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/glfceo/status/8221149519
2. SAP demos new Twitter integration By Barney Beal, News Director 18 Jan 2010 | SearchCRM.com