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More Ciboodle, More SAS

So I took another briefing with Sword Ciboodle yesterday regarding its SAS-powered CRM suite for mid- to large enterprise. That makes something like four in the past two months. These folks really want to get the word out—when I worked at CRM magazine, we typically didn’t have editorial staff meetings as often.

I’ve already discussed Ciboodle One (the agent desktop) in this space, so I won’t repeat myself except to say that it’s probably the cleanest and best example of its ilk I’ve ever seen. I haven’t had as much time in front of the other elements, Ciboodle Flow and Ciboodle Live, at least until yesterday. Seeing the components working together made a better case for integrated CRM with top-flight analytics than anything I could say. Ciboodle gets it.

Ciboodle also treated me to a demo of Ciboodle Crowd, the last link in the chain. [Warning: Link contains unfiltered marketing content. Caveat lector.] Crowd is the social platform. More to the point, it’s the environment for companies to manage their participation in social CRM. Looks good, and it clearly isn’t dependent on any specific social media, so it can adapt as old players drop out and new ones appear.

All this is good for CRM, good for Ciboodle, for SAS, and also for consultants like me. SAS was smart enough to partner with Ciboodle to provide applicability and usability in CRM, and Ciboodle was smart to recognize the value of powerhouse business intelligence. Together they provide a suite with a lot of possibilities built in. And to their credit, the companies provide the services to back it up, so that the customer isn’t purchasing six-figure shelfware. Capgemini appears to be helping to achieve this end.

But vendor services can only take you so far. There are still too many potential buyers of Ciboodle’s suite who have only a vague idea of what they want from it, or who haven’t put their organizations through the sort of cultural and process evaluation needed to get the most out of the purchase. Mistakes can be made with those tools even when they’re used correctly, at least in a technical sense. A hammer and chisel work really well together, but you probably shouldn’t use them to defrost your freezer unless you’ve carefully considered how to do it and understand the risks involved. (I have done this, and despite due consideration managed to wreck a freezer by focusing on individual hammer blows instead of the big picture.)

When somebody decides they want to become an astronaut, the first step in that journey is not flight training and mission briefings; it’s learning about the job, the dangers, and the potential benefits. Ciboodle and SAS have built a mighty space vehicle, and they are providing top-notch training to anybody who enters the program. I get to be the career counselor who makes sure it’s a good fit, and I can definitely live with that.