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Blog 4: Why Social Relationship Management is more than just a CRM topic

Major elections in global economic powerhouses including the US and Germany are marking the news right now. As a result of the ever increasing attempt of candidates to win hearts (votes) and funding for their campaigns, Social Media in turn is experiencing another big boost. After all, being close to voters is as “en vogue” for politicians as it is for companies to be close to their customers – also known as customer-centricity.

And with Facebook breaking the 1 billion user mark, there are some significant social relationships that can be established or managed on social networks. Established or managed? What is the difference and why should we care? Actually, there is a big difference.  The context of the interaction is extremely important.  This is where Social CRM provides help. Are we dealing with a customer or is this a prospect? In fact, last week’s CRM Expo event in Germany was a perfect showcase for the proliferation of Social CRM – well I’d even say for Social Computing at large. Yes, it’s probably a fair statement that Social Computing is one of Silicon Valley’s most hyped topics currently.  Nonetheless, there’s tremendous innovation happening: in Consumer as well as Enterprise IT. Let’s quickly point at some significant developments we are observing at the intersection of both IT worlds.

Given the relevancy of Social Media for customer-centric processes, it is not surprising to see CRM being one of the key Enterprise Application areas that strongly buys into the concept of Social. Social Media has certainly reached mainstream adoption in many parts of the world and with it companies have become increasingly open to Social Media activities. This has, however, opened the door for new operational challenges. Companies are now interested in monitoring and analyzing such activities (e.g., via SAP Social Media Analytics by Netbase).  They are also interested in integrating social customer data back into their CRM systems to allow for a 360 degree view of their customers (e.g., via SAP Customer OnDemand). Lastly, they want to directly engage with the customer (e.g., via SAP Social Customer Engagement OnDemand).

As mentioned, this is what customer-centric companies are fostering – being close to customers which also requires direct engagement. Software vendors and consulting service providers alike are now helping (B2C and increasingly also B2B) companies to manage such operational Social Media challenges. However, true productivity will only result from context-rich interactions. This is because high quality engagements require the right context.

It must be clear what we are trying to achieve and who is it that we are dealing with. This concept is not only applicable to Social CRM but to social activities at large, such as HR, R&D or supplier activities. Therefore, Social Computing also reflects the ability to foster collaboration at large – internally and/or externally.

Consequently, the term “Social biz” not only addresses our company’s mindset towards social media and dialogue marketing, but also our openness and IT capabilities around social collaboration technologies. SAP social software offerings provide such cross-enterprise social platform capabilities so we can collaborate as a team, as a division or as a company with our customers and partners. Check out the blog by Esteban Kolsky (@ekolsky).

One potential starting point is to contact the Co-Innovation team at SAP. We hope you’re enjoying the blog series: “march to Madrid”.

See you next week at SAPPhire NOW!  Please let us know your thoughts and Social Computing activities or ideas.

 

Niclas Otte (@ottenic) and Sven Denecken (@SDenecken)

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