A look at Enterprise 2.0 through Social CRM

Current national or multinational corporations use a a wide-spread organization model, involving several layers of employees. Generally, this extension is governed by the top-to-bottom rule, which works by disseminating information on a need-to-know basis from higher levels of management to lower ones. In this way, normal average workers function according to a set of basic information, without ever grasping where the overall company is headed, or even why. Consequently, people in higher positions of management spend their time planning and processing info, mostly oblivious to trends and actual customer preferences, that could have been easily understood by engaging workers and customers into actual conversations.

Enterprise 2.0, although a bit science-fictional in its denomination, is a rather useful concept for the modern day corporation. It refers to the adoption of various social communication environments and their integration into the company, through which leaders can acquire in-depth info and an accurate insight into customer demands. Usually, CRM strategies are responsible for this part, and more and more companies are using software programs, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in order to help them improve their sales and marketing performances. But social software is an aspect also needed in order to bridge the gap between solid state corporations and the ever flowing consumer preferences, which hype up the web.

In general, social computing extends to all collaborative parts of online interactions. Tools of social computing include blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, Twitter accounts, all social networks and every open development community. This loose definition can also be applied to the concept of Web 2.0, which is in fact closely related to that of social computing, the latter being actually triggered by the available frameworks emerged in the Web 2.0 era.

In a business environment, social computing or social software can benefit the organization by giving access to employees to means of expressing ideas and managing group work. Microsoft SharePoint is an example of this type of social software, which groups together a document management platform, several process management modules, collaborative functions that work inside a browser-like platform and many more. All these features enable employees to optimize their creative resources, but an actual contact with customer opinion is fully achieved only through Social CRM, which brings together not only workers, but also workers with their trade partners and their customers.

Crowdsourcing is a research tool for marketers, but they can tap into customer issues more easily and effectively if they use a form of deliberate social networks, aimed at helping and improving the customer experience. Unlike formal CRM, which is basically a form of customer support by email, social CRM can enable all technically-advised workers to respond and engage customers. In an era where competition is always ready to snatch customers away, and where individuals are able to find out any issues with a company’s products or services, the ability to stay in touch and respond immediately and efficiently to any issue is crucial to a business who not only wants to survive, but also to thrive.

All these directions will shape the new delivery models of SaaS, fixing virtual trends like cloud computing into a definite reality. In this way, the new Enterprise 2.0 will focus on key business areas such as community management tools, microblogging, social CRM, and social software. Social CRM is just a part and a tool of the new model for successful enterprises, and bridging the gap between formal and informal means of marketing will bring faster, more effective results. Going social doesn’t mean going informal, as an unofficial way of addressing customer issues, but making more familiar and accessible the communication portal. Customers need to be engaged by the workers themselves, who need to create a consistent community around the company brand. Not opening up to this huge potential for marketing strategies means literally falling behind, which affects brands and products. As such, it looks like the success of organizations will lie heavily on the marketers’ and management’s ability to facilitate the communication between the three tiers, workers, trading partners and consumers.

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