Software continues to evolve from point solutions into integrated suites. From the early days of SAP or Oracle or Salesforce they have acquired and extended their reach into further and further corners of their original domain whether that be CRM or ERP for example. They now offer integrated suites, or platforms. Social software is inevitably heading the same way.
Why integrated platforms?
The reasons core offers expand are straightforward. Customers want to have systems which share data and processes and allow people to collaborate effectively across the solution domain. And, they want to get deep reporting and insights, and apply analytics to the data to help with future decisions. They also want governance across the whole chain of processes and especially the customer interactions.
What do we see in social solutions at the moment?
We see social listening in one corner, publishing in another corner, content management in another corner and calendaring and planning in another corner, and reporting simply unable to bring it all together.
Furthermore we see publishing happening in many forms e.g. native, mobile native, mobile app, Hootsuite etc. with no ability to map campaigns and performance and of course zero governance.
How do you manage such disparate publishing when a problem occurs – when your telco’s network fails just as Marketing is launching their new “most advanced most reliable” network campaign? You cannot manage it, you can only panic and flounder. With an integrated enterprise social platform it is simply a one click kill and the campaign publishing is on hold. In addition the social service team is notified through the platform about the campaign and that there may be negative inbound and to tag these customers for followup after things get back to normal.
When things go wrong and Public Affairs and Marketing and Legal have to swing into action a system of checks and balances and tiered approvals needs to be in place in order to ensure that everyone knows and agrees with how it is being handled. This can never happen without the underlying structures in a well designed enterprise social media management platform. And of course real time monitoring has to feed into this management process, and potentially be managed by a rules engine to triage the issues and to alert the right groups.
It is clear that even using the simple examples above that most social software fails the requirements of an enterprise platform.
Where does an enterprise social management platform sit?
An enterprise social management platform is only one piece of a jigsaw puzzle, commonly known as the enterprise IT architecture. It just takes care of the social interactions. But in saying that it has to integrate with all the other major components of the architecture.
The call centre systems, email and marketing automation systems, CRM, ERP, ecommerce, web and data warehouse systems are all still needed. The enterprise social system handles all social interaction points between a brand and its customers, and links that into the data flow and processes as defined in the architecture.
Typically clients start with an enterprise social platform by implementing modules which help them reach their customers in social, engage with their customers, and listen to their customers. This is build on an enterprise social governance capability and integrated data flow, process flow, reporting, alerts and notifications.
Then they add content management, campaign management and social advertising. Being on a common platform with integrated processes means that the training burden decreases as modules are added, and the value generated increases.
The ultimate value of an integrated collaborative social media management platform is that it provides a robust set of processes and data management which enables the CIO to confidently endorse its place in the overall customer experience architecture. This enables the CIO and the CMO to focus on the wider processes and data flow and integration across the enterprise without being distracted by point solutions in social popping up everywhere.
If your organisation has aspirations to transform itself and organise itself around the customer – to become truly customer-centric, then a enterprise social media management platform has to be part of that mix.