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Business Transformation, social CRM, E2.0 & ACM

22 Nov , 2011  

Forget all this talk about “Social Business”, “Social Enterprise”, “Social Organization”, “Social XYZ” – your business already is “Social” because by its very nature it consists of people interacting with each to get work done. Collaboration is already happening within your ecosystem – between employees, different departments, suppliers, channels, buyers, customers without the need to add the “Social” prefix. Adding the word by itself does bring attention to the idea that we need to change, but it is overly used (and has been hijacked) by certain vendors to mean the toolset rather than the mindset and thus risks diluting the message.

Being Social is human nature, even though decades of Taylorism and Business School Teaching would have us believe there is little place for this in our organizations… but we are reaching its limits because in the pursuit of efficiency  we are losing in effectiveness in understanding and helping customers in their jobs-to-be-done.

We are experiencing a Communications Revolution – what has changed is the way technology is used to communicate, to find and connect with likeminded individuals and groups regardless of distance, together with an evolution of expectations on how, when, where and why and with whom we choose to do so. As the “Social Customer” wakes up and becomes aware of the pressure he can bring to bear individually or through collective action, companies need to adapt their approach to ensure the sustainability of their business.

Customers are voicing their opinions and ideas  hrough Social Media and turning to their peers for information, feedback and support – and are also starting to expect that companies treat them as business partners rather than the subjects of a sale who are pushed through a funnel to the close of the deal. You know – like they’re human beings whose opinions and expectations are taken into consideration.

When I first started looking at social CRM a couple of years ago, I stated in my Twitter Bio that I was excited the potential of Social CRM as an organizational change agent. My level of excitement has grown ever since (although the dark cloud on the horizon is that many believe it is limited to Social Media + CRM).

Why do I believe it is exciting? Because it will generate many new data points that we can use to motivate and pilot our organizations. These data points need to be converted into actionable insights for that to happen – not onlyabout what groups of customers and prospective buyers expect in order to do business with us, but also what they expect from the whole ecosystem, including competitors.  This will require altered or new capabilities to make the organization more agile and pro-active towards their customers.  And that means moving from Fear of Change to creating Value with Customers.

Various frameworks and guidelines exist to help deal with change and which identify the success factors (such as this one by Dr Graham Hill) but here I’d like to refer to this HBR article from1995 by John P. Kotter in which he identified eight stages in the transformation process:

  1. Establish a sense of urgency
  2. Form a powerful guiding coalition
  3. Create a vision
  4. Communicate the vision
  5. Empower others to act on the vision
  6. Plan for and create short-term wins
  7. Consolidate improvements and produce more change
  8. Institutionalize new approaches

Without going into the details of each step, I believe that social CRM is ideally suited  for kick-starting the first step, which is the sense of urgency by creating awareness about customer needs and expectations – and givedata  the organization straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. This, together with an understanding of how competitors are faring with their customers can be used to motivate and really drive the organization down the path of change. It starts by creating better customer listening capabilities, which can be thru Social Media because the reach is just incredible, but more more traditional methods such as surveys and focus groups should not be neglected.  And following that a move to deeper interactions which are opportunities to learn more about the expectations of your customer segments as well as individuals in increasing detail, so that you can then better identify the capabilities you need to perform better.

In the same way as technology is giving customers the tools to make themselves heard, not only by the company but also by their peers, employees are bringing their own devices to the workplace to connect with others inside and outside of the company in order to get their work done.Whereas before the company vision would be communicated top-down through email or newsletters, the tools and methods from Enterprise 2.0 can be put to good use to promote the appropriation of the vision by employees and keep it vivid between them (and at the same give it with an extra layer of purpose for it to gain more traction…).

As a last item in this post, I’d like to mention Adaptive Case Management. The relationships with the Social Customer  is putting strain on established processes and procedures as more scenari arise in which the nature of work is becoming less predictable and wherein more agility is required within the context and experience expectation of the customer. Such flexibility and agility can be achieved by empowering Knowledge Workers to decide on and carry out tasks in line with the desired outcomes of both the customer and the company, and ACM has the potential to support this. These decisions are supported with access to other employee expertise,and  data and insights that we have gathered through digital capabilties (from our CRM systems, ERP, BI etc. which I won’t elaborate on here).

To conclude – changes in market conditions, especially concerning how new forms of communications and interaction habits are reshaping customer expectations on how they want do business with you, are putting pressure on companies to align closely with these expectations. Dissociated efforts can lead to departmental gains, but without a coordination effort the results will be sub-optimal. To fully realize the potential the organisation will have identify and work on the capabilities it needs and procede through a transformation process to meet the challenges of doing business with the Social Customer.The digital capabilities that are now available are a crucial impetus and then a support tool to drive a business transformation that aligns the company with the various jobs-to-be-done and making it a more attractive business partner to customers.

Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono

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10 Responses

  1. […] Business Transformation, social CRM, E2.0 & ACM Forget all this talk about "Social Business", "Social Enterprise", "Social Organization", "Social XYZ" – your business already is "Social" because by its very nature it consists of people interacti… Source: […]

  2. […] Business Transformation, social CRM, E2.0 & ACM Forget all this talk about "Social Business", "Social Enterprise", "Social Organization", "Social XYZ" – your business already is "Social" because by its very nature it consists of people interacti… Source: […]

  3. […] Continue reading here: Business Transformation, social CRM, E2.0 & ACM « Social CRM … […]

  4. […] Business Transformation, social CRM, E2.0 & ACM Forget all this talk about "Social Business", "Social Enterprise", "Social Organization", "Social XYZ" – your business already is "Social" because by its very nature it consists of people interacti… Source: […]

  5. While technology enable companies to deliver the best products and services that a customer could have, technology on the other hand enable customers to reach out to their providers. Not only that. Stakeholders in general too are able to voice out their expectations, concerns and comments.

  6. sea says:

    Hello Mark: this is a very refreshing post. Thankyou!

    In my experience what +35 or maybe +45 people consider “social CRM”, younger generations lingo as CRM. The social channels are norm.
    Social CRM = CRM
    depending on your age.

    so I would like to share some alternative thinking
    to one has demonstrated ability to see thru the crud.
    i hope this is ok in your blog comment. apologises for length

    1: Communication Revolution Impact on “customer relationship apps”
    its just all the software companies were laggards.. so they need to create a word, to sell the features.. these are in order of app maturity for basic social crm (what I call pretend social crm .. to now we are talking about collaboration)
    a- bunch of links to the online communities (sugarcRM)
    b- chat tool embedded so you can dialogue, follow “things” e.g. opportunity, a contact, an activity ( Chatter)
    c- chat is the core.. and the “Transactional” is the things you go an acquire.. just like in a game. the interaction is core and things you acquire (e.g. contacts, leads, opportunitys, quotes, projects, doc.. all help you win your goal of “new BFF, aka customer”
    d- virtual workspace tool, teams form, autonomously, to solve the problems, and these teams some are your organisation’s guys and some are the prospects.. and as C.. then you solve together.. win together.

    think as in a game. not as a sales process.

    2: Multi-channel strategy – seamless across all – can we route ? do we want to route?

    I have observed choice of channel is being driven by “depth of info”, in addition to whom your speaking with “preferred channel”
    e.g. depth
    twitter — quick snippet
    community forum, wiki or email — for more depth pondering

    e.g. most of my buddies are not into twitter. so we use email like twitter, as they can get to it when they please. we have an email account for our group just on that. as often sharing too. like our own community.

    3: Is there more than 1 revolution going on — Communication + Sharing is contagious?

    not sure if you have stumbled on these 2 great info-graphics on this “revolution”

    1) timeline of the revolution in terms.. of skype.. intro.. to now..
    Sharing Is Contagious: An Infographic on the Rise of Collaborative Consumption
    “Sharing is Contagious” charts how the digital revolution has enabled sharing behaviours and marketplaces to spread across sectors.

    2) infographic on “rise of collaborative consumption”
    drivers (one being, P2P, which is communication revolution you to speak).
    CC is based on:
    “access is better than ownership“ – “I don’t want the DVD, I want the movie” —

    3 systems result
    a- redistribution (e.g. I want to gift my unused apps from iphone to my friend, or a bucket in the sky for anyone… apple’s not listening)
    b- collaborative lifestyle (e.g. i have spare capacity so i donate consulting time to local business to help them grow)
    c- product service systems (e.g. I wasnt using my car, so I sold it, now I book a ride in the share model)

    CC examples:
    new business models
    new products
    … and a significant growth rate

    4: dialogue awaiting – Whats the Impact of the “communication revolution”? When did civilisation last have a communication revoluation? Has it ever had one before?

    e.g. now I can translate any language to a reasonable good level automatically online, for free.

    What people are not talking about at the moment is the impact of this “communication revolution”.
    In my humble view, they are still mudfuddled thinking its either..
    – technology revolution (disruptive technology movement) or
    – social revolution (we now hang out in communities online or in an online game).. or, suprisingly some still think its a
    – fad, and it will pass.

    so I have been pondering.. appears another revolution going on, in parallel to the “communication revolution”. That is “sharing is contagious”. Or maybe it is better languaged “resurgence of community” as in the infographic. or maybe you have another suggestion since you have ability to cut to the chase.

    I dont know..
    but I do know.. the amount of tiny very specific apps… is way more add-value than the CRM beast (background is CRM consulting for 8+ years). I am thinking of the app Im building now in that allows the consumers to gift their unused product to a friend or the bucket in sky, allows them to manage their portfolio of purchases with the company how they desire.

    I am thinking these apps, which I believe Jonathan Sapir in Unleash the Force is languaging as situational apps.. are really where the “juice” is. CRM traditonal core, contact management for mulitiple channels. I can see this always existing. But even the traditional sales process (lead qualification thru to close… tonight I pondered.. I can see that going. I do all my own research. so its all about resource provision… and situational apps. Sure there will be a relationship manager. But not a sales person. I once was a TAM at Siebel. That is the person who is the “customer”, within the software company, Siebel. So I am thinking sorta like that but TAMs were in profesional services organisation with utilisation target. So not that. Or maybe its like Customer Success Managers. They focus post sales. Anyways.. all ponderings…

    cause this thought, “communication revolution” is SPOT ON!
    thankyou for your great post

  7. pure says:

    mike: what if change is changing?
    so like you say, we have always been social, that is not new
    WHAT-IF, what is new – how we are responding, coping to this communication revolution.. is really the key

    kotter’s approach is inside-out change model. (linear)
    the change going on.. hence lingo of revolution.. movement… is outside-in (spiral)

    i am trying to think of things that are static. not requiring adaption.
    well — I still eat, I still follow same hygiene… — so things very close to me or things that require touch (hospital)… are static. Ive sold my car even. TV gone, now online.

    But processes… models… all changing/changed.
    processes… models.. are derived from a mindset, a way of thinking. As consumers have the mega-phone now, the realisation their voice matters (power shift).. then “all those assumptions” a consumer had to put up with… gone…

    the moment they get that — possibility to create — to make a difference — to make your own decisions, to think for yourself. exists again. (yes, for some, it was never lost, just put-up-with the corporate engine)

    Sense of Implications:
    1 I feel the middle-man has been taken out. Consumers direct to Providers. So its back to direct model we had in 50’s but the direct model anywhere anytime. Hope this make sense.

    2 I feel common linear business processes except for the GL, AP, AR are gone. yes that lead to cash we all know.
    and what stays is
    – the true back-office is pure financial until we ax the concept of a Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Statement as the tool to communicate value.
    – bank reconciliation as the tool to check my i’ve not missed anything
    – distribution arm.. too as physical products still need to be relocated no matter the business model. Though less packaging is happening and more digitialised products e.g. no cds, no dvds. but books are still here.. yah!

    3 What is replaced, still processes, still repeatable steps but NOT linear… What.. to then?
    That is where I am currently deep-diving. I think of heart system (interaction, context) and then actions (jobs to be done) spiralling out… Last gig I did was shift from hierachy team to self-forming autonomous teams. They did not follow a linear process at the lead-to-cash level of detail. They came up a level – exception – brainstorm – solve. More at level of segmentation rather than level of action.

    My observations on implications of Jobs/Roles/Getting the Job Done:

    1 salesreps — are they required? really? more like a customer service, hand-off person now. Currently many BDM are in a struggle as accessing content on web site, is NOT a lead… just someone learning.. exploring.. playing.. so old process meets new interaction/expectation = bad experience

    2 implementation consultants – are they required? I was one. Not in my experience as applications are very intuitive if its any good, rod-bots to teach installed as part of app implementation. seriously. if it is any good. different if smaller business does not have spare capacity to deploy.. but 1hr max to deploy.. up and running.. highly configurable. so now, more like providing the 20% top-up of what the customer couldn’t work out. excellent. much better quality consulting. So implementation consultants become specialists or data management gurus. still pondering on this one…

    3 marketing / marketeers – are they required? — well for me, i’ve never liked marketing. I prefer to be treated as an intelligent human being. That aside — marketing are the new journalists. they pump the echo-chamber.

    4 content is required + tool to empower the connected consumer — online communities/Blogs are the new pre-sales engine/eco-system
    – whether you ask a question in the sky (Quora).. or spot another question that has intrigued you… and you ponder by yourself…
    – or Blogs sharing insights with people who like the same juicy conversations (very specific dialogue).
    – Books form still are one my greatest thought-formers. All short vids.

    5 speed is now possible with device + web (new funky lingo of cloud)
    – say device (as could be mobile, ipad (tablet) or some other thing)
    – notice how the lingo is much more intimate, literal (e.g. cloud), its up there in the sky…. somewhere… versus the old lingo of web (with the emphasis of what it could do.. web of connections…)

    6 business models still required, but very different.
    – life of a product or service extended through re-distribution systems are in (sharing, gifting..etc.)
    – access is greater than ownership — products & services (e.g. zipcar.. airnb..) or the application subscription models of SaaS providers (sugarCRM) or even application development of PaaS providers (

    7 offices — are they really required?
    Yes if collaboration required. Google closed 3 of their offices, as even with the technology, collab is best face-to-face, no matter the technology. They did this as their “speed-to-market”, agility” is a key value of their org.

    8 shopfronts — are they really required? — dependent on country/veritical
    web presence, online shop front is growing.
    I think the tipping point has been reached in some areas in some countries
    e.g. clothing, books, media. My country is really internet savvy and has been always. We are small and our lands are so beautiful, we prefer to be out in country-side.. rugged mountains.. than shopping… yeecks! (NZ)

    I just hope my local butcher, green-grocery… stays put. Back to the 50’s.
    So now I am very intentional about supporting local shops.

    sorry for very very long post. I do get carried away. 🙂

  8. pure says:

    i meant mark:

  9. pure says:
    This infographic is helpful except replace the word Social with Connected or my preference is Empowered Consumer.

    Connected – as consumer has mobile device that enables “in the moment” action. when they want to interact, they can.
    “Connected Consumer” is enabled thru technology
    = mobile + cloud (web, internet) + streaming APIs

    Empowered – as consumer can use their connected device to do something helpful/useful to them
    e.g. access content, dialogue in an online community, purchase, provide feedback, bring awareness

    “Empowered Consumer” is enabled thru the pull of consumer megaphone/amplification , and shift in thinking around information
    – before information was hoarded, now information is to be shared, more it is shared, the more powerful