I’ve been reading a lot this morning about Google’s latest announcement: the release of Google Wave to 100,000 developers for testing. I’ve always considered Google something of a dark horse in the world of IT, as they don’t compete directly with enterprise application providers but whose tools are always complementing the business processes providers like ourselves are looking to automate and facilitate.
With Google Wave, the idea is to provide a user with a Web 2.0 collaboration platform where users can collaborate via email, IM, photos, documentation, files, etc., in real time, edit that content, and track those interactions across a single “wave.”
From a business/CRM perspective, I could see how Google Wave could change the way businesses interact in big ways. In terms of collaboration, the platform could have a big impact on how employees communicate and interact with each other, lending to the model of dispersed employees and home-based call center agents.
From a customer service perspective, the options and benefits are nearly limitless, as the idea of tracking multiple Web 2.0 communications and interactions across a single “wave” really gets to the heart of what social CRM is all about. For example, a customer in need of support could use Wave to start a dialogue with an automated support system, which can auto populate contact and account information back into a CRM system. If the service interaction requires escalation to a live rep, the customer can request a CSR, who joins the interaction and has streaming video, documentation, IM, unified communications and a host of other tools at their disposal to resolve the issue.
The fact that Google Wave is open source certainly helps from a developers standpoint, and I think the idea of Wave as a platform on which users can extend into specific applications is the grander idea. From a business perspective, it certainly bodes well. In addition, I’ve heard rumors that Google is mulling the prospect of a “wave extension store,” according to an official blog post, through which applications could conceivably be sold.
That said, Wave is clearly a work in progress, and certainly not ready for enterprise primetime. But as is always the case with Google, it will be interesting to see how the proverbial 800-pound gorilla throws its weight around and influences the manner in which businesses operate and interact with their consumers. When it comes down to it, and just like a CRM system, whether Google Wave is a big hit or falls flat on its face will come down to the user interface and end-user adoption.
But enough talking on my end. Here’s a quick look at some of the top features Google is currently embedding in Wave: