More than a decade ago, CEOs and business leaders realised that they didn't have a system that put customers at the heart of their enterprise. The resulting CRM deployments enabled businesses to measure customer lifetime value and then transact with them. However, CRM was not deployed as customer facing – customers were just records in a database.
Here we are, ten years on, and these customers have burst out of these databases and are on the web; they're vocal and they're ready to engage. The new challenge is that of the social enterprise.
Organisations have evolved into highly networked, collaborative eco-systems. These enterprises interact with their customers through social channels, which requires the tools to listen and engage with these individuals in real-time.
These same organisations are matching this social integration for customer communication with collaboration for employees, who are using these social networks everyday in their private lives. This collaboration gives employees a whole new range of tools and opportunities to be more effective.
The pressure to move into a Social Enterprise comes from internal and external sources, so providing social channels for outside audiences to engage with internal stakeholders is equally important. Salesforce.com recently launched the third iteration of its Service Cloud – a tool that engages customers on social networks including Twitter and Facebook. This is strengthened by the recent acquisition of Radian6, which gives more powerful eyes and ears to an organisation's Social CRM activities.
One company using this approach and embracing a transition to Cloud 2 is Belfast-based recruitment agency CPL. Using Jobscience Recruiting, an application from a salesforce.com partner company, CPL's employees can access applicant, recruiter and industry information through any device – from their desktop to their smartphones.
Paul Bacon, Managing Director at CPL said: "The level of collaboration that this new social enterprise environment creates has significantly increased our efficiency and improved the level of service to our clients.
"Collaboration for us means being able to share information and opinions on candidates and applications across the business in real time. This enables quick, effective decisions to be made that directly increase the quality of our work.
"Using tools such as Chatter means that our individual recruitment consultants can specify people or cases to follow and then receive any data, communication or documentation that's relevant to them.
"Externally, the ability to monitor hot topics and trending issues on sites such as Facebook or Twitter means that we can incorporate relevant information into our processes and quickly respond to any issues or opportunities."
The Social Enterprise is the evolution of functions that companies have been fulfilling for decades – increasing speed, efficiency and quality because of a much greater level of collaboration.