Commentary on “A future vision of CRM”

I read a very interesting post on the Wikinomics blog today called “A future vision of CRM”

I’ve heard the argument that traditional CRM “is dead,” but this is far from the truth. In fact, as Brian notes, Social CRM does not replace transactional CRM systems, rather it augments them. What CRM is in desperate need of is new data sources and tools that help integrate and analyze this data. The future vision of CRM also requires that companies get involved in new channels and cede a certain amount of control to the customer – it’s less about management and more about engagement.

and left a comment I hope you find interesting:

One of the challenges for Social Media channels and CRM integration, is the fact that they “speak” different languages – SM is mostly communicates in unstructured text, while CRM is using formalized data structures.

There is a potential for tremendous benefits and cost savings for Marketing, but scalability, transformation of data into knowledge, and new processes for translating this knowledge into measurable actions, still need to take place.
Your examples of corporations adopting SM channels, while sexy and newsworthy, may prove to be uneconomical in the long run as a Customer Service operation mechanism, unless the automation of these processes and work-flows, can be automated.

Let me know if you agree.

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5 Responses to Commentary on “A future vision of CRM”

  1. John Moore says:

    I agree with most of this, companies must get involved, these new channels represent a very different type of data and will require robust new tools that can help with challenges like sentiment analysis.

    However, where I disagree is with the idea that we should be satisfied with today’s current social business tool providers when they offer up Social + CRM tools, tools that merely bolt-on to your existing infrastructure. It is time that we see tools like SSCs that fit into the way businesses operate (focusing on people, enhancing their processes, all towards an overall set of strategic goals).


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  3. Gregory says:


    I think we are in a violent agreement, however the tools to me are secondary to strategy and execution plans. I do realize that some (many?) strategies are not executable without right tools, however the field has been dominated by search for the “silver bullet” mentality for so long, that the reason for this search was forgotten. The tools development outpaced ability of corporate management to design, optimize and adopt business processes and practices to take advantage of these tools and new knowledge they could help to produce.

  4. Gregory says:

    This exchange keeps going on Wikinomics site

    Naumi Haque October 9th, 2009

    Greg, point well taken. I’ve had some conversations with Radian6 and it seems like they are making headway in the area of automation. Specifically, they gather fairly sophisticated analytics on unstructured social media and also have the capability to automatically push social media conversations into CRM queues. Cool stuff for sure.

    I think another major challenge is achieving a “single version of the truth” across the enterprise. You mention translating knowledge into measurable action which is the tough part. In order to achieve this you need to gather data inputs from throughout the enterprise and share the results with different departments. I think a lot of organizations are still very silod where the contact center does one thing, corporate communications does another, product development is disconnected from both, and the analytics division operates as a black box that gathers and shares information selectively. The lack of comprehensive visibility into the customer experience is definitely a problem.

  5. Gregory says:


    The “newly” learned information will require newly designed processes to produce ROI on all these efforts. I am aware of Radian6 and quite a few other companies, including mine (http//, that are working to convert unstructured data into meaningful information, and then into actionable knowledge. We all making some significant strides, however the business processes and methodologies for it’s use, are still in infancy. And that is my concern.

    You are absolutely “on the money” with a “single version of truth” challenge. It is not technically all that challenging, I’ve been involved into a couple of projects focused on this, but an organizational nightmare. Yet, this is a source of the best and fastest ROI I have seen.

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