CRM and Social Software Discussion


The discussion that followed Ad's talk wasn't supposed to be about the link between CRM and social software, but that's how it turned out. Some good out-takes from the discussion:

Mark Sunday (CIO, Siebel): 95% of all the issues that a CIO faces are either governance or legacy. Companies are running at less than 30% efficiency and its largely an IT problem. Yet, because of governance and legacy issues, they can't solve those problems.

Ad Nededof (Chairman, Genesys): We present ourselves (in our marketing) as perfect and then customers call and we're not. There's a perception gap between how we think we're doing and how our customers think we're doing.

Ross Mayfield (CEO, SocialText): Process breakdowns require that people route around the failure in process and get things done. Informal networks are how companies get work done. Social software is about strengthening those informal networks. Social software gets the information out of email and attachments and brings it "above the fold" so that it can be used, linked, and indexed.

Ben Smith (CEO, Spoke): The majority of sales professionals prefer an introduction to a sale and social networks (like Spoke and LinkedIn) let people use their contacts to get introduction to people they need to meet.

Ad: Doing business is making friends. Helping people understand other cultures is important.

Mark: CRM systems try to put structure around unstructured data. There's real potential for using social software to create the next generation of CRM systems.

Chris Roon: eBay is a great example of social software applied to a particular purpose.

Me: CRM systems follow Sarnoff's law: the value of the system is linear with the number of contacts. We don't let people build communities within our CRM systems. Thus we never see Metcalf or Reed scale benefits.

Ben: these kinds of systems have to work bottom-up because people own their relationships.