Michael Maoz

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

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Will you get the ax when the Social and Cloud CRM projects are called out as sham?

by Michael Maoz  |  May 30, 2012  |  1 Comment

On a call with a client today I heard a refrain that is all too common of late – the SaaS/Cloud solution that the company is about to sign on for is ridiculously expensive in their minds, but they are likely going forward anyway, without challenging the price tag all that much. Why not, inquiring minds want to know. “Because company X brought in all of its leadership and completely overwhelmed senior management.” Shock and Awe. Wait until the board and investors eventually get a rundown on this. We’ll remember the Night of the Long Knives.

What I am yet to see is a meaningful correlation between the rollout of some of these new Sales and Service Automation systems and business growth. Instead, the best that can be said is: our sales and service people don’t mind these systems as much as the ones that they replaced. It’s all of the enthusiasm that delegates had for Harry S Truman when he was running for the US Presidency after FDR. At the 1948 Democratic Convention they held up signs that read, “I’m just mild about Harry.” It was a play on words from a popular song sung by Judy Garland.

What I am not hearing is that the new generation of enterprise-class CRM application is intuitive, or powered with real business intelligence or business process modelling or real time decision support. Just that they are a replacement for outdated Client/Server.  These apps are fortunate to be pitted against the equivalent of  Thomas Dewey. That is: there isn’t much stiff competition.

There is a similar kind of pusillanimous thinking going on with many social CRM initiatives. Why swing for the fences when you might walk the plank? Alright, forget the mangled metaphor. We could settle for a lot of singles and doubles. Yet what passes for social in most organizations is isolated to analysis of Facebook and Twitter posts. I’m working on a piece that talks about staffing the next generation Customer Engagement Hub – or Contact Center 3.0 I suppose. Directors of Customer Support are struggling to find the resources and budgets to improve customer processes, while Marketing is rolling on. Why not stop the madness? This past Monday was Memorial Day in the US. During the fierce battles of The Great War there was a deeply cynical song sung by soldiers that went, ‘We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here.’ What they were saying was: ‘Why are we here? Is there any point?’ And that is not a bad question to pose to the head of Social Media Initiatives – if you have such a coordinated nerve center.

The latest mini-trend that we are observing is for the first generation of Social Media leaders who made early headlines have fled their companies. Yes, it has been spun differently: they have accepted new positions with new companies to build on their prior successes. However, scrutinizing the results from these companies will show a shell game: overall customer loyalty and buying and profitability have not improved. Maybe the waves and eddies of negativity are somewhat harnessed, but the tides still rise and fall, and corporate profitability and shareholder value do not seem to be improving. C-Level executives are somewhat engaged, yet their focus is not yet sharp enough to create a corporate-wide program.

Has YOUR company demonstrated growth and profitability that can be causally linked to your Social Media / Social CRM initiatives? Write me and let me know!

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