Social CRM and the Enterprise Social Spectrum

By Richard Hughes on May 23, 2011

One of the questions I am often asked about Clearvale is “does Clearvale support both internal and external networks?”

At one level, it’s an easy question to answer… YES! But part of me always wants to shout out “what’s the difference?”. I have always been a little bemused about the way the Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM worlds seem artificially separated (see Who Needs Convergence Anyway?). I’ve never seen this as a “black” and “white” question. Many internal company networks have some external members, and most external networks have several company employees (or at least, they should).

So there is a spectrum of different types of social networks – from purely internal on the left, to purely external on the right.

There are organizations using Clearvale most of the way across this spectrum, and I am often asked “is [customer name] doing Social CRM?”

This is sometimes a difficult question, because there are so many different forms of Social CRM. My favourite enumeration of these is Gartner’s Top Use Cases and Benefits for Successful Social CRM, which lists applications in marketing, customer support and sales. And if we are using this definition, then Social CRM covers a wide part of the spectrum, from partner networks on the left to very lightly moderated customer communities on the right.

It’s a useful reminder that while Social CRM has been talked about for a long time, there still isn’t a commonly understood definition of it. There has been a tendency recently to use Social CRM as a synonym for Social Media Monitoring. But there is so much more to Social CRM than that, with applications all across the Enterprise Social Spectrum.