Harris and I are back from a trip that started in New York, continued to London, and then went on to Israel and back to New York. But not Harris. No, Harris had to fly on to the West Coast to pick up a complimentary Surface. The client visits were, as always, eye-opening. There were meetings with 32 companies from nine countries, including clients from Finland, Sweden, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Israel. One of the first impressions in Europe, beyond the shell-shocked faces of many, is the entire lack of hype around any business concept. Not Cloud and not Big Data and not Software as a Service or general issues about Social. There was a curious lack of interest in technologies.
Specific use cases for Social CRM (though NOT referred to as Social CRM) and the use of business intelligence were two recurring themes. There was also very high interest in what might be called ‘walled-garden social’ – that is, a disinterest in Facebook-like interaction, but in creating and supporting smaller, private groups along the lines of the wildly-infectious Path. See https://path.com/ if you are not already completely caught up in this application.
As a complete sidebar, I was caught completely off guard by how fundamental the application Waze is in Israel. See http://www.waze.com/ to play with it. It seemed like just about every driver in the entire country was swarming around using the tool.
All around (and I will dive into some of the details), it seems very clear that for consumer-facing businesses there is a feeling of uncertainty about the value of placing big bets on Social in Europe and Israel, in part because IT cannot fathom how to get its arms around the issues. The lines of business – marketing primarily – are already utilizing social media monitoring. But just about 100% of the IT leaders there know only one definition of “Customer” and that is the business user. That is: the sales, logistics, HR, marketing, branch manager and head of customer service. There is a feeling of complete lack of integration among the C-Level executives, IT, and CRM practitioners.
Perhaps when the devastating economic threats in the EU subside there will be more of a sense of calm within which change to business process can take hold. For now it seems to be ‘wait and see.’ In Israel everything was far more dynamic. The issue with Social and Social CRM there is that, as a nation of IT consumers, they are far more pragmatic and almost entirely immune to hype. Any tool or strategy that is going to be tried there has to be able to demonstrate value. That is almost the reverse of the United States. If Israel is “Startup Nation,” then the US would be Hyped-up Nation. And both have there place.
Off to a big lineup of client calls! Maybe we’ll speak then.
Oh, one last thing: before you wonder too much about Harris, you can find him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Tramp_Abroad
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO Cloud CRM Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags: