With Great SOMO Tools Come Great Responsibilities

Enterprise CRM of the future is all about social and mobile.In fact, Blackbaud, which specializes in providing CRMproducts and services to the nonprofit sector, even has anacronym for it: SOMO.

“We’re looking at how we can extend our technology intosocial and mobile spheres,” Tiffany Crumpton, seniormarketing manager for CRM with Blackbaud, told CRMBuyer. “In 2013, we see that the CRM market is really goingto shift to thinking about leveraging best-in-class platformtechnology.”

Socializing CRM

Microsoft’s acquisition of the enterprise social networkprovider Yammer is one key step in the direction of makingCRM more social.

“Our company’s recent acquisition of Yammer has led to anexciting moment for all of us,” Reuben Krippner, technicalproduct management lead with Microsoft Dynamics CRM,told CRM Buyer. “Yammer is a big bet for Microsoft as it ispositioned to be the conversation layer across the Microsoftportfolio.”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be incorporating Yammer intoits suite of services starting this month, putting internalsocial networking at the center of its offerings.

“The Microsoft Dynamics CRM December 2012 serviceupdate will deliver the first phase of integrating Yammer asthe social layer for Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” said Krippner.”It will help us redefine a user’s experience, and bringthe CRM industry an unmatched social and collaborativeoffering, as it is designed with business success priorities inmind.”

Microsoft’s Yammer will be competing with Salesforce.com’sChatter, which is a leader in this arena.

Salesforce Chatter combines “thefamiliar human experience of a Facebook-style communitywith the robust, scalable and productive capabilities of atrue cloud Platform as a Service,” Peter Coffee, VP and headof platform research with Salesforce.com, told CRM Buyer. “Legacy vendors are overdue in acknowledging the need todeliver comparable function, and far from being able to putit in customers’ hands.”

What sets Salesforce Chatter apart from its competition,said Coffee, is its emphasis on two-way communication.

“It’s dangerously easy to adopt new forms without changingactual behaviors,” he pointed out. “If a company usessocial media to talk, but not to listen; if it fails to identifyand cultivate new and nontraditional influencers in themarketplace; and if it fails to invest in customer delight,relying too much on inertia to keep a customer, then thatcompany will find itself made irrelevant with startlingspeed.”

Microsoft, in other words, will have to work to establish itselfin the social enterprise CRM world.

“Yammer is competitive with Chatter, but it all depends onhow Microsoft positions it,” Jim Steger, principal and cofounder of Sonoma Partners, told CRM Buyer. “Maybe theycan start to re-engage their customers. Chatter has been aleader for a while, so it’s a more mature platform.”

Moving Forward

Mobility is another key trend in enterprise CRM, withcompanies working to ensure that data, information andcommunications are no further away than an app or mobilewebsite.

“With regard to mobile, people have ever-increasingexpectations around how they access systems andinformation through new generations of devices to provideanytime, anywhere access to information, processes andpeople,” explained Microsoft Dynamics’ Krippner.

“Microsoft Dynamics CRMwill invest in capabilities that deliver modern, familiar andcompelling user experiences, including mobile devices andscenarios.”

Salespeople and other business representatives on theroad expect — like their customers, clients and constituentsdo — to be able to access data and do their work withsmartphones and tablets, and enterprise CRM networks areincreasingly taking that demand into account.

“These are people who often don’t want to be in front ofa laptop, so we’ve provided them with a mobile interfaceso they can get on with their job,” said Blackbaud’s Crumpton. “We’vethought about how that experience and workload needs tobe defined.”

These moves toward social and mobile capabilities get atthe heart of what enterprise CRM is: a system of providingcomprehensive tools across multiple spheres and platforms.

“Enterprise social is transforming the way people work,”said Krippner. “We envision a world where social is woveninto the apps you use every day. As we look ahead at howcollaboration and communications continue to evolve, webelieve that the tools you use today — email, IM, voice,video conferencing, social — will come together and bedeeply integrated into your apps in ways that will speedcollaboration and truly transform the way people work.”

Freelance writer Vivian Wagner has wide-ranging interests, from technology and business to music and motorcycles. She writes features regularly for ECT News Network, and her work has also appeared in American Profile, Bluegrass Unlimited, and many other publications. For more about her, visit her website.

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