If you put a consultant, an analyst, a vendor, and an end user client together in the same room and ask them to explain or discuss social CRM or social business (or pretty much anything else), you will get very different answers and explanations. Nothing is ever one-sided so why bother trying to look at things from one perspective? At the Attensity panel I participated in a few weeks ago, one of the attendees asked “what is social CRM?” to which I replied, “it depends on who you ask.” That response got a few chuckles from the room but I was actually serious when I said it. There are multiple players in the space that do different things and approach social CRM differently.
If you ask a consultant, you will get a response that resonates (or should resonate) with various clients that may or may not even include the term “social” anything (this can also mean that there isn’t really one answer). Chess and Metz have a series of use cases and social customer scenarios that we walk clients through. If the use cases and scenarios resonate with the client, then we call it social CRM (internally). Analysts will most likely come back with a complicated answer that is based on their research. The problem with their answer is that it is not always practical and is not something that clients can understand (trust me I have tried dozens of times). Vendors will explain things in terms of how their product works or what it does, and are oftentimes frustrated with analysts because it’s a lot easier to write about social CRM than it is to actually build a product around it (but then again, if you are a vendor you shouldn’t be building a product around a buzz word now should you?). Clients can actually care less about what you call anything as long as you can solve their problem.
Clearly there is a lot more that can be said here and every perspective has its pros and cons, but the point is that when talking about anything in this “social” ecosystem, it’s important to understand where the viewpoint is coming from because that’s going to shape the conversation.
Just my 2 cents…maybe 3