Recently, I outlined the top 10 CRM trends in 2010. The big takeaway: While technology has its place, making the most of CRM requires thoughtfulness, expertise and always focusing on that next small step that delivers maximum business-result project bang for buck. With that caveat in mind, let’s look forward at what’s likely to happen with CRM in 2011:
Remember Napoleon’s disastrous retreat from Moscow, having entered Russia with a seemingly unstoppable force? Likewise, Siebel was an unstoppable CRM juggernaut. At least until it got lost in the woods — metaphorically speaking — several years ago, when Salesforce.com first began routing it, then finally threatened to push Siebel completely out of the game.
Salesforce.com changed the CRM world by iterating its software three or four times per year. Not to mention giving things away for free, such as Chatter. Originally, that social networking technology was supposed to be Salesforce.com’s Trojan horse for breaking into new accounts. But now, companies will be getting it for free. Can anything stop Salesforce.com?
Oracle CRM FusionDon’t underestimate Oracle. Because when it comes to CRM, Siebel remains a big, big platform. At the beginning of 2010, analyzing who would win a CRM smackdown, on-premise Siebel didn’t even rate against the modern capabilities and interfaces offered by Salesforce.com, Oracle CRM On Demand or for the life sciences crowd, Cegedim Dendrite. Accordingly, the question was: If everything is moving to the cloud, why bother with Siebel, even though it’s still the world’s largest CRM platform?
Oracle, however, could alter that formula. At OpenWorld, Larry Ellison announced that rather than denigrating the cloud, he would now embrace it. In fact, Oracle has a plan: Oracle CRM Fusion. Can a $1 billion business — Oracle helping people migrate from Siebel to CRM Fusion — be far behind? With Oracle CRM Fusion set to debut in the first quarter of 2011, stay tuned.
Social CRMSocial media will continue to dominate 2011 CRM discussions. Just think: All the news you can tweet to customers. Learning how to combine social networking platforms with customer service and sales operations. The impending dominance of Facebook messages. For 2011, also expect organizations to add Facebook and Twitter to their call center queues, treating them no differently than voice or email communications.
Now for the reality check: Google “social CRM” and you’ll see that the term doesn’t even register. Accordingly, social media is a trend. But don’t believe all of the hype, at least not yet. Because when it comes to CRM, everyone is still trying to figure out — besides the one killer use for social CRM that we have so far — what else it’s good for.
Sure, everyone has lots of ideas for social CRM. But honestly, none of them get me out of bed in the morning or make me pump my fist into the air.
The Platform Shift WarsEveryone loves a tussle. And for 2011, we’ve got already Salesforce.com and Oracle set for a showdown. But also expect an escalation of the social media war between Google and Facebook, which will have repercussions for which social media platforms organizations use to communicate with customers.
In the platform shift wars, we’ve also got the Oracle versus HP war. Or really, Oracle versus everybody else war, as Oracle’s management has decided that their company will play in every business.
Also of interest: the Apple versus Google war, aka the battle of the manicured garden (iOS) versus the jungle (Android). From both a technology and social perspective, the rapid 2010 evolution of smartphones has been nothing short of astounding, even if business uses for the related devices haven’t been pacing the change in raw technical capabilities. Will that happen in 2011?
iPad In Every StockingFor starters, the mobilization of CRM will reach new heights in 2011, especially as tablets continue to take hold. Already, the iPad is transforming enterprise IT, especially for field-based people.
Interestingly, some leading-edge organizations actively pushing the envelope. Most notably, in November, the Financial Times gave every employee a £300 ($480) rebate toward the purchase of an iPad.
Explaining the move, FT Group CEO John Ridding said it was to “encourage all our staff to be expert and experienced in using…tablets.” He’s backing it up with workshops and master classes for all employees to learn how to get the most from their tablets.
What’s the killer CRM use for the iPad or other tablets? Recommendation to marketing, field sales and service organizations for 2011: take a page from the FT and find out.
Learn MoreWant to translate 2011 CRM potential in to practice? Technology will only take you so far. Until someone builds a Matrix-style chip where you can upload the new technology into your brain, as much as the technology can improve, our ability to absorb it remains remarkably the same.
In other words, for CRM success in 2011, go ahead and enthuse over Twitter, but don’t forget to start with the marketing, sales and service basics.