Social media is transforming the way companies communicate. Even if your organization hasn’t fully embraced the use of social networking sites and tools for marketing or customer service, it is likely that these mediums are being utilized in some capacity by your employees, customers, and vendors. Social media isn’t just transforming the way we communicate; it is also transforming our everyday business applications.
Gartner predicts that by 2016, social technologies will be integrated with most business applications. Companies should bring together their social CRM, internal communications and collaboration, and public social site initiatives into a coordinated strategy(1). There are already over 100 vendors with a social CRM offering. While we’re still trying to understand the business benefits and ROI on social media, Gartner also says the market for social CRM is on pace to surpass $1 billion in revenue by year-end 2012(2).
Industry giants like Salesforce.com and Dynamics CRM are already embracing the social CRM movement. Salesforce.com’s Chatter was released in June of 2010 and Microsoft just announced the availability of social collaboration capabilities in the November 2011 service update of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Chatter enables Salesforce.com users to share files, work more closely with each other, find internal experts, and reduce email traffic. Microsoft Dynamics CRM social collaboration tools include activity feeds, micro-blogging, and conversations. These CRM industry leaders understand that social collaboration tools used in conjunction with traditional business collaboration tools will enable employees to share their knowledge and activities in real time ultimately making the companies that use them faster and more effective.
As these social collaboration tools become widely available in our every day business applications, many businesses will struggle to use them effectively or at all without the adoption of an enterprise collaboration strategy.
Tips for Developing an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy
First, try to understand what value social collaboration tools can add to your existing collaboration methods. Your collaboration strategy should be designed around common and repeatable employee interactions like document sharing or email communications rather than designed around the introduction of new tools. The idea is to support and expedite current processes, rather than developing ineffective new tasks around technology trends.
Next, take stock of your current enterprise applications to understand what new social features will be introduced and how they might work with your current systems. Finally, assess the culture of your organization. Is the environment conducive to collaboration, how is collaboration encouraged?
Our daily business tools are evolving as the social media landscape continues to develop. Companies will have to find new ways to communicate and use a variety of different tools to meet the demands of a social marketplace. Ultimately, we are in the early stages of a shift in the way we currently work. This is the time to start evaluating how social collaboration will impact our internal and external business communications and the current methods for how use and share content. Social CRM is essentially the coming together of social technologies and CRM processes, and it is this collaborated technology that enterprises are looking to harness to achieve greater customer satisfaction and ultimately results.
A CRM system with social functionality can be used as your organization’s foray into the world of social collaboration. Click here to view all the