After about the ninth demonstration of the latest mobile application or social network or collaboration software you have to ask: where have all of the top technical minds gone? They are not in business software. Picture sharing on an iPhone? Really? Social Search turning up more flotsam than is pushed by the North Pacific Gyre into the Pacific Trash Vortex. Usually I criticise myself as being out of touch, and as a sanity check I turn to my Monday/Friday carpool of 15 year olds. I know what you are thinking: sanity check and 15 year olds is mildly oxymoronic – ok, so I will weight the responses. Early this week we were easing onto the highway when one of the young women said to no one in particular: “Did you see who Facebook bought? I guess they will wreck that, too.” Now rule one of being carpool driver is that you do not exist. You have the Claude Rains role of Dr. Jack Griffin in H.G. Wells’ film, The Invisible Man.” Stoically I sat and listened. And it was interesting. “Yeah,” came a retort from a mop of blond hair in the corner, “remember when the stuff they added was cool and let you do neat things? Now it’s just for them to make more money.”
The early morning musings of plugged in High Schoolers should give all of us pause. Think of your own “Social” projects. Are you considering and making explicit the benefits to your customers. The ‘explicit’ part is very important. One of the main impediments to ongoing success is that customers have media fatigue symptoms. Which site to trust, and which to rely on, and which has the highest value as value is defined for the specific interaction?
The other issue is innovation. Most of the projects we are seeing are ready to catch a second wind. The Doldrums are every sailor’s nightmare, but equally for Marketing. And Customer Support does not have Digital Marketing savvy or access to resources. Think about the many incredible analytics tools out there that help slice and dice the needs of a particular customer or prospect based on their location, psychographic, browser path, search strings, and past history with you. These ‘Big Data’ – or blended strings of structured and unstructured bits of information – are the DNA that will spark important and profitable mutations in the customer/business relationship. But getting right requires technology – not just good will and process. Over and over and over is the consulting Mantra: it’s all about people and process. That is so much whistling past the graveyard. No one in astrophysics or surgery or engineering would ever agree. It is only ‘business leaders’ who spout such hokum.
Ah! I nearly forgot: we published the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centers today. If you are a client it is at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1982718 . After about 120 hours of work, the average time reading it maybe be seven minutes. But it keeps us very close to end users working with the various systems, and helps us advise you as best we can.
Off to a call.