Things are crazy busy here at Sugar HQ – which is always a good thing, even if I am increasingly envying the European summer work ethic.
But I did have a chance to see that Lithium Technologies has expanded its scope as a social community building tool to become a social CRM player. This is an interesting move. While I think Lithium is wise to cash in on the social CRM buzz – it should tread carefully. Just mentioning CRM in a product name ushers in a lot of preconceptions – namely around process management, data sets and a whole world of issues and decisions.
In short, social CRM cannot be added to an organization in a vacuum. Sure, companies can and should be doing things out there on the social web; building communities and expanding their touch points and communication channels. But from a true “CRM” perspective, all of these engagements must ideally be tracked towards and end. Just throwing stuff out there into the social realm will not guarantee any success.
To Lithium’s credit, they have included a concept in this social CRM release they call “CRM Connect” – this allows users to merge the data and processes of the social realm into traditional database-centric CRM systems. This can aid in cross channel and cross-initiative reporting, and place social media interactions and data into a traditional business results context.
It will be interesting to see where Lithium goes with the concept, and more interesting to see how customers utilize the tools.