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The “SMMS” Misnomer – And Why It Drives Me Up A Wall

by Jenny Sussin  |  September 6, 2013  |  2 Comments

SMMS supposedly stands for social media management system. I’ve said it once, and I will say it again – there is no such thing as social media management system.

Using the term “SMMS” proliferates the complete misconception that businesses work with one application versus the, at minimum, 3 to 5 they’re actually working with. I’ve spoken with companies using at least 8 different social media applications to support CRM – and this isn’t rare! There is not one all-in-one application in the market right now. How could there be?! Is there one “Customer” team in an organization? That customer team does marketing, customer service and sales from within the same reporting structure? They all use the same legacy application to do their day-to-day jobs? So how could there be one social solution to plug into one tool which, quite frankly, doesn’t exist.

It’s the same problem that has happened with the word, “social.” Sure we’re collectively moving past the hump, but you know how many people still confusedly think all “social” is the same thing? Do you know how many people parallel Radian 6 with Facebook? It’s scary and yet, it isn’t their fault. It’s the market’s fault for feeding into a hyped up misnomer and not clarifying which aspect of “social” they meant. Everyone just wanted to fit in – but that led end user organizations into this giant jumble of a world where HootSuite, Yammer, and Bazaarvoice are on the same shortlist.

Social solutions are not just social solutions, they’re solutions which complement a business process. Social solutions for marketing, social solutions for customer service, social solutions for sales, etc. So sure, if you want to #smms you can go for it, I’m not stopping you. At least do me a solid and say what you’re actually looking at, purpose wise, when it comes to “managing” social media.


Gartner clients, we’ve got a reading list for you:

There Is No Social Media Management System

The Preposition Makes All the Difference When You Go From Social CRM to Social For CRM


Jenny Sussin
Research Director
6 years with Gartner
7 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a Research Director in the ITL Enterprise Software group of Gartner Research, with primary focus on social for CRM. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on The “SMMS” Misnomer – And Why It Drives Me Up A Wall

  1. […] The "SMMS" Misnomer – And Why It Drives Me Up A Wall […]

  2. Joshua March says:

    Absolutely – many of our major customers have come to us after they have tried to implement an ‘all-in-one’ social solution and it has just failed to deliver on all fronts (usually, they can deliver on marketing or PR/listening, but not on customer service). We’ve noticed that the more ‘socially mature’ a company is in terms of their social experience the more likely they are to realize and accept the different operational requirements of different teams and departments and ensure they get the best tools for the job. As such, I believe the general desire for an all-in-one solution reflects the relatively early stage of the market, and will change rapidly over the coming years.

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