Key Technology Challenges in Social CRM Initiatives

Key Technology Challenges in Social CRM Initiatives

By Barton Goldenberg

As I mentioned in my previous post, the technology issues involved in Social CRM initiatives are extremely complex. This is, in part, due to the ever-expanding number of technical options in the marketplace. I also described two distinct software vendor camps competing for Social CRM business: 1) dedicated Social Media platform vendors that produce the tools used to create Social Media communities, and 2) CRM vendors that are adding Social Media functionality to their platforms. Regardless of approach, there are several key social crm technology challenges that organizations must manage and that Social CRM technology vendors must address. Two of these are Social Media monitoring and filtering, and integration of social insight into Social CRM customer profiles.

Social Media monitoring and filtering

Social Media monitoring is the process of following the chatter in Social Media about an organization, its products/services, its industry, etc.  Social media filtering involves monitoring tools that use rules-based filter searches on specific criteria, such as a specified group of customers, or a comparison of brand sentiment for an organization against its competitors.

In the CRM software camp, for example, Salesforce.com has integrated Radian6 functionality into its CRM solution.  In the Social Media platform camp, application vendor Lithium has purchased Scout Labs and integrated Scout Labs functionality into its application. More recently, Microsoft has announced that it is integrating Lithium into its Dynamics CRM offering. I expect to see continued consolidations and acquisitions over the next few years as the Social Media monitoring industry matures.

Integration of Social Insight into Social CRM customer profiles and elsewhere

The technology challenges here involve finding the best way to integrate insights gathered from public and private Social Media Communities, from blogs, and elsewhere on the Web. There are currently three general approaches:

  • Most vendors offer standard APIs to achieve this integration.
  • Some vendors have created business process flows and programmed social insight integration directly into their platforms.
  • Other vendors have written software to reach out for filtered social insight and pull it into their Social CRM applications.

While both vendor camps are developing integration tools, there is currently no open standard for this critical piece of the Social CRM framework.  As the Social CRM industry evolves, I see open integration standards emerging to make social insight integration simpler and more intuitive.

In my next post, I will discuss a third key technology challenge: customer engagement.

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The Definitive Guide to Social CRMBarton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM Inc., customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. As a CRM leader for 30 years, he was among the first three inductees in the CRM Hall of Fame. Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. Barton is a popular speaker on “maximizing customer relationships to gain market insights, customers and profits”. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.