Who is Leading in Social CRM?: Page 2
Richard Hughes, director of product strategy at BroadVision, thinks that this field is so new that no one is leading in social CRM so far. His logic is straightforward. Social CRM vendors have mostly come from one of two directions — traditional CRM vendors who are adding Social CRM capabilities, and social software startups who center upon customer engagement.
Hughes doesn't think this is the whole picture, however. "I don't feel that either category has all the pieces in place yet," he said. "Traditional CRM vendors lack the customer community capability; social startups lack the enterprise-level integration capabilities to link the customer community back to enterprise systems."
Who is going to win? Hughes is betting on the social specialists, as they are not trying to squeeze a new engagement model into a system that was not designed for it. But they will need to integrate to CRM systems already in place.
"All the big CRM vendors are lagging behind. The social startups are closest to achieving true social CRM," said Hughes.
Until the market matures, he thinks that plenty of confusion will bounce around the marketplace — lots of hype and an abundance of clashing and confusing visions and definitions.
"Customers need to be very clear on what they're looking for from vendors," said Hughes.
SAP gets social
Meanwhile, the major CRM players are not sitting quietly waiting to be gobbled up by this new raft of startups. In fact, the opposite is likely to happen. Gartner expects plenty of market consolidation. The strongest of the emerging crop will merge and the likes of Oracle, SAP and others will acquire to give more social breadth to their portfolios. And the big boys are turning to a wealth of internal developmental resources as they play catch up.
"Our software brings unstructured data from social networks into the CRM system," said Renee Wilhelm, SAP's CRM Solution Manager.