What This Means for CRM - Customer Relationship Management

I know this isn’t the standard view of Enterprise 2.0,nor do I mean it to be.I’m sure if you’ve investigated the issue what you typically read is that social software tools are the Enterprise 2.0 thing.But when it comes to how you engage your customers,the primary resource remains what it always has been,21st century or not,and that’s people.The kind of culture that propagates throughout a company is a key determinant in the effort to make that customer engagement fruitful,to the point of creating a customer relationship that is both delightful and extraordinary,à la Zappos.

It’s now time to head over to the new business model chapter but not before we hear from Dion Hinchcliffe,who will walk with you over there.

Mini-Conversation with Dion Hinchcliffe
Dion Hinchcliffe,CEO of Hinchcliffe and Company,is an internationally recognized business strategist and enterprise architect who works hands-on with clients in the Fortune 500,federal government,and Internet startup community.He has been a leading thinker when it comes to Web 2.0 in the enterprise with at least two blogs:ZDNet and the Web 2.0 Blog .He is extensively published in leading industry periodicals and publications.Dion was founding editor-in-chief of the respected Web 2.0 Journal and is current editor-in-chief of Social Computing magazine.He has been quoted in BusinessWeek,CNET News,Wired magazine,and CIO magazine,among others.He keynotes major conferences including Web 2.0 Expo,Enterprise 2.0 (naturally),and CeBIT,and is founder of the Web 2.0 University .He can be reached at dion@hinchcliffeandco.com.

The credentials go on and so could I.But enough of me.Take it away,Dion.

Key to Enterprise 2.0 Strategy
As more and more organizations begin to apply social media and emergent collaborative tools to operate more efficiently and effectively,successful best practices and techniques for adoption have started to become clear.Here are three of the most important considerations for an Enterprise 2.0 strategy today.These have been culled from the analysis of a number of Enterprise 2.0 projects in the Fortune 500 and medium-sized businesses:

  • Engage the organization vertically The best Enterprise 2.0 initiatives have early engagement at a number of levels in the business from top to bottom,including senior management,middle management,and line staff.One leading success factor is when several high profile managers begin using blogs and wikis publicly within the organization.Another is when line employees receive requests for their work to be delivered in social media form such as reports,project status,and recruiting notes.A third is when all workstations in the organization have desktop shortcuts and Start menu items added to their computers,right next to their existing productivity tool links,providing a broad,easily accessible “onramp” to the tools.All of these drive the use of their platforms and adoption through viral engagement and distribution.Thus,the end strategy of horizontally engaging the organization seems to begin when a vertical slice through the organization is effective in Enterprise 2.0 uptake and spreads out virally.
  • Use the right platform Many organizations attempt Enterprise 2.0 initiatives using the tools at hand,often older generation IT solutions that are already amortized.The tremendous success of consumer Web 2.0 was driven by very different application models that are much simpler,more open,and have specific design features that have been proven on the World Wide Web to foster high levels of participation.However,consumer tools often lack enterprise context around security,governance,and other considerations.Fortunately,a generation of enterprise-class tools have recently emerged that combine the successful aspects of Web 2.0 with the needs of enterprises today.These tools are particularly potent in effectiveness and more likely to create the desired outcomes based on the number of successful outcomes so far.
  • Connect it to the business While Enterprise 2.0 tools are designed to encourage unintended outcomes and can be opportunistically applied to business issues,many successful rollouts begin by focusing on a specific business challenge in some part of the organization.This can be to address knowledge retention in high staff turnover areas of the business,to address business agility around content management,or to create better and closer collaboration between far-flung business units or external partners or customers.

The full extent of the possibilities and business application of Enterprise 2.0 applications is still just being understood,but the business world can already reap significant benefits by focusing on the key considerations above to ensure good return on their Enterprise 2.0 investments.

The result will be products that are more effective than ever before,customers who are more demanding than ever before,and a software vendor ecosystem that will rise to the occasion-or be passed by.

The software industry is being reborn-yet again. Enterprise 2.0 will bring massive innovation to business computing.I stand by the assertion I wrote last year:in five years,we will look back and not recognize the software company of today.

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