It’s funny, but also very compelling:
It fuels the discussion: “How old could we become” and if we get much older how would we deal with it in a society that we have today? Read more
It’s funny, but also very compelling:
It fuels the discussion: “How old could we become” and if we get much older how would we deal with it in a society that we have today? Read more
An amazing story, and amazing way to educate… got to see!
Thanks Michael Green for discovering it.
In the 80’s people discussed replacing Mainframes with PCs. It didn’t happen – now 30 years later the mainframe business is as vital as it was in the 80’s.
In the 2000 people talked about replacing on premise applications with SaaS. 10 years later it didn’t happen. While the ASP/MSP/SaaS/Cloud industry has nicely grown to a Billion $ industry, traditional IT is a Trillion $ industry (1,000x the size).
By looking at the evolution pattern you may recognize the future trends: Read more
Facebook will become the next Google which is the next Microsoft.
Microsoft never innovated any product. Windows was innovated by Xerox PARC, and so was the mouse. Word was invented by Wordstar and Excel like PowerPoint was acquired. Google didn’t invent anything anything either but built the most robust business model of advertising distribution, displacing traditional media. By accident it happened around a search engine. Also Facebook didn’t invent anything but took whats out there to the next lever, very similar to Microsoft or Google.
The next non inventor is probably 12 – 16 years old today and will build something on a technology that is out already but in an infant stage.
Like most others, it’s probably a high school drop off, a crazy guy, a nerd, whatever.
By the time Facebook is celebrating it’s 1 Billion’th user – probably in 2 years or so – Facebook will be the single most active software application ever built. By then open graph will help to make the Facebook ID the ultimate person identifyer to login anywhere and replace email as username. In five years from now people who argue about security breaches and privacy issues will be retired and no longer discussing things that an openly connected world just doesn’t find that relevant.
Microsoft wanted to be on every desktop. Check – done.
Google wants to distribute every conceivable bit of advertising. Pretty close.
Facebook wants to be the utility for every networker on the planet. Getting there
??? will be the application every human being is using from birth to death
What will it be? I have no clue, so we will see. But the pattern is already there. When will we see it? 2020 isch – I guess.
Dick Lee asked recently in LinkedIn: “We rarely see people as enthused as they are over social media. Among those recent rare times are: when the high-tech balloon popped; at the height of the housing bubble; just before the market crashed; and when Sarah Palin was nominated for VP. Hey, exuberance can be headiest just before the fall.”
I’d say YES – the social media bubble is about to burst. People are recognizing already that the endless hours of watching the incoming streams from Twitter and Facebook or all the status updates on LinkedIn are hours wasted. All the paid tweets and people or agencies, who have been hired to tweet are not going to contribute to the bottom line. And the fan pages people build to get “fans, followers, connections” are just hopes that it will do something for the business – but it won’t.
Yet, there are businesses who not only survived during the economic down turn but actually showed significant growth. What did they do differently as most are also associated with the rise of social media? The answer is SO SIMPLE that most people will reject the truth and continue to look for the hole grail. The answer is “The become more social with their customers”. Socializing is work, it takes time and focus, discipline and a clear understanding what to do and what not to do. And as 80% of humans continue to look for getting the job done automatically and get rich instantly, they will leave the social web because they just learned again and again – there is no free lunch.
Is that bad? Not at all – the Internet continued to thrive after the bubble burst. The housing bubble burst in the US – and today the US has the cheapest real estate in the developed world – it is only a matter of time when it goes back to normal (you get a mansion in California when you sell your 1 bedroom apartment in Nagasaki).
The biggest benefit of social media is to do more business with more people in a grander geography and in less time than ever before. But it comes at a price. And the price you pay is to be more open, more social, more connected, more interactive, more helpful and more conversational than ever before. And that means you cannot much longer be busy just slicing and dicing your data and aggregate information for even more knowledge about your demographics or aggregate more information to even better target your mail shots and advertising – NO you got to get out there and have a dialog with your customers. No time to do that? You will have a lot of time to think about it when you are fired or your business ceased operations. Being social is work – one customer at a time.
Can you automate?
Automation is sand in the social gearbox.
The “new enterprise” as I call it is a network of highly engaged individuals or groups of individuals that may constitute the most successful organizationism in the future – organization + organism = organizationism. However it will be quite challenging to build the first of such “new enterprises” as many potential customers may require an organization they used to deal with: a big company. Only time will tell how this part of the business shift evolves. Here is an article from Gary Hamel “Three forces that will transform management” @ the McKinsey Blog that I highly recommend reading.
Let me share some vision for a structure where innovative leaders may create a company in the following way: Read more
“Seven years ago, in spring 2003, Konstantin Guerke, one of the LinkedIn co-founders invited me to join LinkedIn. I had no idea what he was talking about – but my instinct told me: “go – this is interesting”. My LinkedIn ID: 8573. I wasn’t too embarrassed not understanding the full scope because he didn’t either! But after a few exploratory meetings with Konstantin I got it. This was the birth of a new era. It was so much more than a new technology – we were on the verge of a new society. A year later I was quoted in Forbes Magazin as we started to hire people via the new media instead of expensive recruiter; I saved approximately $50,000, $30,000 on one search alone. Read more
Please listen carefully to this menu as the menu has changed. Your call is important to us but please leave a voice message. If you need more information go to www – dot – whatever dot com…
The intentions were good – yet the results are telling us we made huge mistakes. Automation didn’t really bring any progress in our business processes but alienated our most important asset – our customer base. Read more
I am finally replacing my old website and merge my personal Blog that resided on Blogger.com since 2005 with my Social Relationship blog I recently started.
No I don’t envision moving back to caves or living in trees (nice idea though) – No, I’m taking tangible business results. I’m talking about the consequences we suffer from an overly automated business relationship development.
Since 2003 I’m on LinkedIn, blog since 2005, tweet since 2007 and do this all while running a business as a CEO. I’m neither a blogger nor a twitterholic. But what I learned from the past experience of 5 years social media – businesses alienated their most important assets: CUSTOMERS – through total automation.
The day we may tell our family: “Sorry I can’t go on vacation but I outsourced my role as father and here is a friendly guy joining you…” that day I trust is the right time to outsource your customer engagement to call centers, automated voice systems, email blasts….
I’m the first to admit I’m as guilty as everybody else. The only difference, I had the opportunity to learn for the past 5 years how much different and at the same time more effective it is to stop automation and find smart ways to personally engage with an even larger number of people.
So under the new umbrella
I will continue to post about thoughts, experience and my vision on Social CRM, Social Relationship Management and Customer Experience.
This week we introduced our first Social CRM solution, Xeesm/Edge!. A powerful social relationship management system with a touch of sales process. Are you confused? I guess so. And to be honest I’m not sure where the market will take us. Xeesm is a crowd source based product. And as such I’m sure the crowd will come up with a definition that is right for the product and understandable for the user.
Now let’s look at Edge!. It has all aspects of a CRM system. There are customers, there is the concept of an account, sales process, forecasting, closing deals… But architecturally the system and the way it is used are VERY different.
Xeesm/Edge! is Social Relationship Management at its best. The system is architected around people – not accounts. It is structured in a way that an opportunity can easily be shared with partners outside the four walls – even with customers to truly collaborate. And while there are still processes a person or team may consider following. the engagement and the system is dominated by relationship strength. The relationship strength then goes into forecasting in form of a predictive model. And if somebody is saying sales is all about relationships – here is your system.
So far so good. Now lets look at a B2B sales process: First of all it is more than ever before dominated by the buying process. In addition, not only sales people but project managers, engineers, experts and all kinds of people may be involved. This is where your traditional CRM system begins to rumble and steam and is just no longer good at it. A Social CRM or Social Relationship Management system is now firing on all cylinders. Xeesm/Flights! is a unique technology we developed that allows all involved people to work on a project, stick to objectives and ensure a great social connection.
In other words the line between SRM and sCRM will become very blurry. I guess only time will tell how this all will develop.
Social CRM has two major and very different aspects:
As CRM is under huge pressure from the open and collaborative social media space, CRM vendors (first was Oracle) decided to promote the idea of “Social CRM”. Even so there is no real product and no real product definition, it is the vendors interest to close the gap between the wide open social space and the very close enterprise software space. Other than integrating twitter streams and other social chatter, nothing has materialized, where an enterprise sales or marketing organization would fall in love with.
Consultants in the sales and marketing field understood the need for a change. Not just an upgrade but a significant shift in the customer interaction model. sCRM sounded like the bridge between those tangential drifting continents. As such the definition is eroding more and more every day. To some it is a future product solution, to others it is Twitter, Groups and communities done right, yet to others it is just a “strategy” and again others see multiple facets of the above – and then there are groups who see it emerging without being able to exactly articulate what it may be in the future.
If $100 Billion in aggregate (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and about 20 other CRM vendors) now promote sCRM and do nothing but bolting the “s” in front of the CRM – the vision of the SCRM strategists will be overshadowed and no way of creating a more social business relationship with customers, prospects and partners will remain a dream.
If instead we work with a new vision, new business processes and as a result completely new products, we may see where the new world leads us to.
SRM – social relationship Management is an attempt to make that shift. As we define SRM and build SRM products, we also define new business processes. Not driven by efficiency or automation but driven by customer requests for a better business relationship with their respective vendors.
See the Definition of SRMAxel
(my social map)
I just read a few articles about sCRM. One was a post on a blog where the blog doesn’t allow comments (very social). The other was talking about Ajax enabled technology that revolutionizes CRM (OMG) and yet another one described the advantage of getting Twitter streams and Facebook wall entrances all feed into the CRM system for better customer information (yes more data). Another system suggest that it takes everything a sales person ever needs so they never have to leave their CRM system (wow – how about leaving the company to actually deal with the customer?). The worst are the ones who still promote the “low touch sales model”. Automation is still the big word. Didn’t we automate already to death so that the customer doesn’t want to speak with us any longer?
NOW – CRM was always a hard nut to crack. Mostly beloved by executives to get data and hated by sales people who (in my personal opinion rightfully) prefer to deal with customers not with data administration and data analysis. I joined – really just for the fun of it – three sCRM and related presentations and was shocked what a sales or marketing person would have to do to “leverage” all the wonderful options of triggers, automated nurture programs, forecast granularity adjustments and a gazillion other options. Social CRM now feeds even more data to an already overwhelmed sales person. There is no word about the actual customer relationship – zero – nada – nothing. Is that how we bring the economy back?
A friend of my (a sales person): “Axel, that is today’s reality. We are customer data admins, not customer relationship managers. We manage the theoretic aspects of the relationship but I am about 10-20% of my business hours with a customer – at best.” What do you do all day long? “I try to reach customers based on a suggestion list, call and call and typically leave 10 voice mails – I know nobody will listen to, in many cases don’t even get to voice mail and one or two people I may be able to talk directly. If I’m on the road I prepare my trip, travel optimization, planning, arranging meetings which is a just an enormous task in itself and so forth. Weekly forecast review, weekly planning for the review meeting, again data into and out of the CRM system – the whole nine yard.” OK and 1 out of 8 hours a day with customers? – “As you can see now – AT BEST. Other activities are reviewing the lead process, the nurturing process, we have very sophisticated processes and it takes a lot to actually go through them every day”.
Bolting an “S” onto the CRM seem to make it harder not better. Of course in the days of Social Media companies need to do something. But sCRM seems to be the opposite direction. sCRM seems to be accelerating the disaster we have on the sales side. Not only because if the incremental information flow but also because of the farther automation instead of the social engagement. Living in a CRM system – that’s what CRM vendors like to see. But don’t you want to see the sales person be with the customer and spend only a fraction of the time with ANY system?
I love Brian Solis statement: “Take the C out of the sCRM”. As our networks grow exponentially, we also may need a good tool, but we need a tool that helps us with the actual relationship – not with the data we aggregate.
Social Relationship Management as it is is currently defined may be a solution to the problem as it focuses on the relationship – not at the data.
I started Twitter early 2007 see my first tweets. Like many I had no clue – stopped using it for a few weeks, came back, liked it a lot and people laughed at me “Axel, are you out of your mind”.
In the coming two years I followed probably 20,000 people on and off and got to 53,000 something follower over all – now down to about 5,000 after I did some twitter hygiene.
I used Twitter to converse, get news, chat, inform, provoke…
Twitter is evolving. It is going to be the world’s most important NEWS platform. Twitter already became the leading publishing company – without being a publishing company.
And as such I will continue to tweet, but not about how my sailing trip was or that I have lunch with another CEO (well maybe once in a while) – but rather changes that may be of interest to more people just than my inner circle.
Like many things in our social media industry is evolving. People who hate change, don;t want change, will be disappointed – others will sour with the evolution. “Fly with the eagles or scratch with the chickens.”
After discussing and consulting with probably 100 executives in all industries the number one reaction has been:
“I get it, I know we gotta do something – but where do we begin?”
It can’t be “Hey everybody go on Twitter” – or “Lets quickly do a fan page” or any of the other helpless social media marketing tactics. This is NOT going to work in an enterprise.
So what is it then?
The answer: “Find out what your customers do in the social web”.
The biggest fear: “They are probably NOT using social media”.
The response: “Find it out”.
Two simpler steps:
1) Make the first move to more openness and tell your customers where YOU are in the social web. You can leverage a free tool called XeeSM and share your LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, website, and other groups or networks. Tell your customers: “Hey this is where you can find me – would be great if you could let me know where you are”. The key word: APPROACHABILITY
2) Now ask your customers again to share their social networks, groups, sites with YOU. Ask them to put it up on their XeeSM (which they will like for themselves) and share it with you. Now you know.
Total surprise 1: “I had no idea that they are all over the map”
Total surprise 2: “I get to know them so much better and faster”
Total surprise 3: “We can chit chat without them feel being “sold” or “marketed”
OK where do you go from here?
1) You know first hnad that this “social media thing” is for real
2) You experienced the relationship building with your customers, prospects and partners for yourself
3) You recognize the importance of getting way beyond a brush up of your profile.
You no longer ask “Where do I begin…” Instead, you will ask “help me focus, I have so many ideas”. Trust me – it’s like a 3 year old enters Toys-R-Us for the first time.
Andrew Baker, a fellow XeeSM user inspired me to do that. I thought it’s interesting enough to share it:
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