I saw an E-Commerce Times article online yesterday talking about the state of social CRM. On the whole, it was pretty spot on, save for one major area with which I took particular issue.
The author of the piece stated that:
In most cases, applications like CRM systems were designed to work with structured data, information that could be stored a certain way in a database. The information generated in the social networking sites usually is generated in more haphazard manner and therefore is difficult to capture and make sense of.
Now, the premise is fine. Yeah, CRM systems tend to deal natively with the kind of data that fits squarely in the neat columns and rows of a relational database.
BUT…lately the cloud and web services has made two things easier: viewing external data (regardless of format) in a CRM system, and importing data without the heavy lifting tools of the early ETL days.
SugarCRM has worked hard to create Cloud Connectors, as we call them, to bring any data set into the CRM user experience. Gone are the days of “if it isn’t in the system, it doesn’t really exist.”
Like Paul Greenberg says in the article about companies understanding that this data from social networks and the social web is valuable, it will not take too long (hopefully) before organizations start understanding the true flexibility of web-based CRM systems like SugarCRM.