Lessons Learned at the SCRM E2.0 Conference

Funny thing happened to me this week.

I attended the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco and an SCRM conference showed up.

It all started with the keynotes on day one:

  • Tammy Erickson from nGenera delivered the opening address (she did a great job) talking about the differences between traditional enterprise and Enterprise 2.0:  changes in society, people wanting to collaborate more and work together, using social tools to act on tasks and focus on the best way to achieve the expected outcomes.  She discussed the necessary changes in leadership and mentality of the users, how it was no longer sufficient to just do something – it had to present a challenge, provide satisfaction for a job well done, and deliver an innovative solution. She did mention users and leaders as the antagonistic characters in this play (replace user with the word customer, leaders with the word company — and we have SCRM)
  • Rob Tarkoff from Adobe said he was going to talk about — wait for it — Customer Interaction Solutions.  I was slacked-jaw, speechless, and teary-eyed at the same time: can the good people of E2.0 really care about the customer? He did make a pretty good case for mashing up SCRM and E2.0 (of course, without calling it that) and very much aligned with what I have been trying to say with my darn, polemical pivot-point.  His conclusion? Enterprise 2.0 is about serving customers better – not users working together better (good, controversial for the audience).

    At this point I looked at the name of the conference inscribed in my badge to make sure I was in the right place. These are the issues we’ve been discussing: customer(user)-centricity, fulfilling and surpassing customer(user) expectations, using collaboration with customers(users) to accomplish the goals, and changes in leadership and mentality to adopt this evolution of the social customer(user).

    Other sessions I attended (even if you don’t count two panels in the last day talking about how to do customer service better) all talked about the same issues but without mentioning customers.  Apparently, Enterprise 2.0 is not done for customers’ benefit – just for internal users to work better together.

    The Customer is the red-headed stepchild in the family — no one wants to talk about them, but you cannot ignore them either.

    There was, however, a key difference: most of the conference was centered on tools and deployment, approached from an IT perspective.  We talk about strategy, from the business stakeholders’ perspective.

    This is the gap we need to cover. Convergence must be our new battle cry.

    Issues are very similar, if not the same, and technology is the same, if not very similar.  There are just two “thingies” to fix:

    users versus consumers – we need to remove that invisible shield that separates IT and Customers.  Customers are willing to work with us if we let them, and (most) users understand that it is about customers.  The talking heads in the middle (yes, I am as guilty as the next one) are muddling an issue that should be very clear: one company, one solution.

    strategy versus tactics – we need to get past this mental barrier about what it is that we need to do.  It is not about buying a tool and deploying it – we tried that with regular CRM and failed.  It is also not about crafting an awesome strategy and never implementing (ibid, CRM).  It is about customers and users creating together solutions that focuses on what the customer needs and what the users wants to accomplish. Then, get it done. We must change the mindset to make things happen; we are all after the same holy grail: happy users and customers.

    Were you there?  What did I miss?  What did I get wrong? Tell me how we can make it all work…

    Related Posts – you must read Nenshad’s summary of the conference.  He nails it.

    12 Replies to “Lessons Learned at the SCRM E2.0 Conference”

    1. HeyEsteban,

      This was a logical evolution,the sentiment was building that it was not enough to just patch some channels onto CRM tools 🙂

      IMHO customer centricity is the compelling reason for e2.0 & scrm implementation. E2.0 and sCRM tools are means to an end which is to help organisations become customer-centric by facilitating ecosystem collaboration so as to understand and work towards meeting the customer desired outcomes and satisfying customer jobs.

      .-= Mark Tamis´s last blog ..On Social CRM Options =-.


      1. Mark,

        I believe we all knew it, but the part that shocked me the most was seeing how different we are. And I am not trying to differentiate groups here on them versus us, rather in the discourse and the lengths of recognizing how this is all about becoming a social business. I don’t think I heard that term (or a similar description) one single time in the entire time I was there. To me, and I have written countless times about this, SCRM is about making the social business deal with customers.

        I hate to call it customer-centric as well, I don’t want to give the impression it is all about the customer either. It is about customers and users working together to deliver the best solution to customers while making the organization work at the most efficient level. win-win, if you must call it something.

        Thanks for the read


    2. Esteban: Interesting observations. I believe what you saw (me too; I attended E2.0 Conference) is the beginning of the convergence of two initially separate use cases for enterprise social software — one external only (Social Media: customer and partner facing) and the other exclusively inside the firewall (Enterprise 2.0).

      That the two terms have often been used interchangeably is telling. Jive Software and Dachis Group have similarly, but independently, framed them together as “Social Business”. Regardless of what term is used, software-supported business interactions between people must be viewed holistically. Some colleagues and I modeled these symbiotic internal and external interactions 10 years ago as the “knowledge chain”, in which external customer feedback drives internal conversations, which lead to innovation, which result in new products and services. The latter triggers a new round of customer feedback, creating a continuous loop.

      So the point is, there is little new here. However, it is good that the people involved in, and watching, enterprise social software are beginning to realize that customers and employees are equally important in the success (of failure) of any given organization.
      .-= Larry Hawes´s last blog ..The Impending Enterprise 2.0 Software Market Consolidation =-.


      1. Larry,

        Thanks for the read and the comment. Yes, it is the beginning of the convergence. I wrote about social business being the ultimate goal, and the joining of SCRM and E2.0 before. I believe that we are just killing time until the concept of social business receives a better name that people can rally behind and then we will see a significant convergence. As it stands right now, unfortunately, neither side is in the CEO’s mind.

        I agree with you that there is little new here in the sense of models and theories, I even wrote about it long time ago, but there is some new sense of wonder that can lead to adoption. That is the tipping point that I am interested in – not the how it could or should work, but the how it will work and it is working.

        Thanks for making me thing, great comment!


    3. Esteban,

      Thank you for the notes & especially Nenshad’s post! Am yet to go through it, but a quick glance has told me that its not something I can just browse through! 😉

      WRT the vendors & how they have muddled up E2.0 & SCRM … well, I agree with Larry’s comment above. Even though McAfee was clear that it is triggered by technology and that that technology is both inward & outward facing, the vendors (except for Jive) & most analysts/consultants (baring the Dachis group & most from the #scrm AC) have always looked at the internal & external functions as something very disjointed.

      Coming from a BPM (workflow automation) & CRM background I have always seen the flow (knowledge, information) across the boundaries separating the employees & customers. It is but natural for me to assume that even after the introduction of social technologies the flow will continue, may be even increase!

      Am glad to see that the vendors are also making amends & trying to embrace the internal & external aspects.

      Your pivot-point or the social railroad switch is indeed the needed component that needs to be built by someone (any entrepreneurs &/or VCs interested? 😉 ) for the full potential to be realised.

      As I have claimed before (in my “E2.0 & SCRM : Tango or Fight?” post), efficient employees lead to effective customer experience.

      Either consider the customers as internal & external or the users as internal & external, the vendors need to cater to them both! 🙂
      .-= Prem Kumar´s last blog ..Simple strategies for Social CRM implementations =-.


      1. Prem,

        Thanks for stopping by. I think that Nenshand has done an exceptional job of — how can I saw this — meet us half-way there. We talk about the same issues but we never tried to reconcile it all into a social business model. If we can combine both the research and work he has done on optimized performance, and the work we are doing on effective delivery we have the two halves of the social business. I am looking forward to doing that sooner rather than later. That is probably going to be the easiest way to move SCRM forward — take it away from MKT or SLS or even CSS and put it into the CEO’s office for a strategic move.

        I am never worried about vendors, either E2.0 or SCRM, since they are just running their 15 minutes of fame and at the end they are going to end up holding just one small piece of the puzzle. That is the way it has always been so far — with very few exceptions. Vendor hype dies a quick death once it meets reality. They all have exceptional value to deliver, just nowhere near as much as they promise or expect.

        Thanks for the great comment!


    4. Esteban,

      Enterprise 2.0 is comprised of three simple elements: Communication – Operation – Customer. The requirements of all Enterprise 2.0 solutions include the rules: 1) Do no harm – in no way impede or disrupt the existing business or business systems. 2) Increase revenue and margin in business terms that are measured/proven before full scale investment.

      Social applications are a piece of the Communication segment of E2.0. If they are deployed internally or externally their results should be the same: measurable in financial terms. Until vendors realize the complete needs of Enterprise’s, Enterprise 2.0 will continue to be a catch phrase with no value. We are working hard to overcome that misconception by delivering solutions that address all three categories and strictly follow the rules.



      1. Steve,

        The problem is more in your response that in the real world implementation. Why do we need rules and classifications? when doing social work with customers, outside of the enterprise we focus on the outcome the customer expects, not the rules or the classifications. We try to deliver results, best we can. As far as I can see, E2.0 suffers from the same problems that most other solutiosn owned or sponsored by IT: rules, lockdowns, regulations, ways to work, etc.

        Until the users don’t see how they can use the tools to collaborate and work better towarrds solving tasks at hands (which was a large part of the keynotes and more advanced presentations last week), we won’t move it forward. IT has no business running the systems, nor do they have any biz telling users how to use or what to do.

        Forget rules, collaborate on tasks towards users-defined outcomes!

        Thanks for reading and the comment


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