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So Much Happening in CRM

It has been a busy couple of weeks for followers of CRM, Social CRM, and all that goes along with it. I haven’t got my head around all of it yet, but I’ll provide a handy link-dump at the end of this post to give you some starting points. It’s good to know that even when there’s more happening than I can reasonably cover, I can always link to my friends.

I’ve just returned from BPT Partners‘ Social CRM Summit (search the hashtag #scrmsummit to see some of what went on) where I had a great time refreshing and expanding my skills. Paul Greenberg—friend, mentor, mensch—was at the helm as usual, and it never ceases to amaze me that he always has something new to say on the topic of social CRM.

I don’t want to say too much about the specifics, since this is professional development and I need to be able to sell the result of what I’ve learned instead of giving it away, but there was a lot of emphasis on usable business strategy. A few years ago, social media strategy for business amounted to, “Get involved now, because this is gonna be huge.” It was good advice in 2006, and it’s still good, but we’ve had a lot of time to refine our techniques since then. With the addition of social media monitoring and analytics, it’s possible to make a really solid business case for SCRM adoption.

Catching up with friends and meeting new ones is always a benefit at events like this. Brent Leary even showed up—the trip from his neck of the woods to ours wasn’t trivial, even if it was in the same state—to say hi and let me talk smack about his alleged free throw skills. There was an escalation, and something tells me we (along with Mike Boysen, Mitch Lieberman, and others) will be putting it on the line to shoot from the line in the near future for bragging rights. I don’t care how bad I do, since basketball is my anti-sport, but as long as I outscore Brent I’ll be happy.

A few days before heading down to Atlanta (actually Kennesaw, which is near Atlanta in the same way that Northampton is near London), RightNow Technologies held a launch event here in New York for RightNow CX. I provided a lot of my thoughts on the company’s new social platform in October, but I want to reiterate that this looks really good. While history may show that CRM got the most traction among sales professionals, today’s customer-driven social CRM has a natural starting point in customer service and support. RightNow, with its contact center pedigree, is definitely one to watch here They’ve got some great customers, including CBS Interactive, Match.com, MySpace, and Aircell (the gogoinflight people), that show off what a natural fit SCRM is when grown in contact center soil.

A few days prior to that, I took a call with Clare Dorrian of Sword Ciboodle to discuss the company’s direction and new offerings. Ciboodle is more of a traditional CRM vendor (which is fine), serving larger enterprises. It also has strength in the contact center—I love the look of Ciboodle One, its new unified agent desktop—and is further building out its work flow and Web self service capabilities to capitalize on that. I just got hold of some of Ciboodle’s customer case studies, so that should give me some fun reading over Memorial Day weekend. (That’s not as sarcastic as it sounds; I have genuine interest in some concrete examples of how the company is helping businesses.)

And now the link dump. Actually, it’s more of a shout-out to two of my friends, but since they write so much and so well, it can serve both purposes.

Denis Pombriant (previously mentioned here) has been extra-prolific with his blogging lately, with a lot of coverage from Sage Insights among other things. Wish I could’ve been there, but this is the next best thing.  See all of his May content here.

Ray Wang, now of Altimeter Group, got to see what was up at SAPPHIRE 2010, the big annual SAP conference that I would also have loved to attend. He’s also been banging out a lot of news coverage, especially where acquisitions are concerned (SAP and Sybase, IBM and Sterling Commerce, Lithium and ScoutLabs, Attensity and Biz360). See his blog here.