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CRM and Enterprise Micro-Blogging: Made for each other?

Great philosopher Aristotle once rightly said that ‘Man is a social animal’. Communication and Collaboration among fellow human beings has become an integral part of the society. It opens the door for voices representing unique and diverse population in a community to be heard. The more voices, the better are the chances of developing viable solutions and strategies to the problem that face our community.

In our workplace, how many times does it happen that we have a question and we don’t know who to ask. How many times does an arbitrary discussion, which may be of value to others in an organization, is lost because it is not captured in a systematic way, thereby leading to wasted time and efforts. Information on-the-go, information in real-time are some of the buzz words doing rounds these days and the need of the hour is to have a collaboration platform where people within an enterprise can collaborate in ‘real-time’, anytime, anywhere for:


  • Effective internal operations.
  • Agility of the workforce.
  • Efficient and Smart decision making.

Portals, Wikis, Forums, etc do provide a collaboration platform within an enterprise. However, with the rapid ascension of micro-blogging tools like Twitter (and facebook to some extent) in public consciousness, innovators in Enterprise 2.0 space are encouraged to foresee enterprise micro-blogging tools as extensions to existing collaboration platforms. Such convergence will redefine the future of enterprise collaboration platform, making it more effective and useful. Analyst Jeffrey Mann predicts that “by 2011, enterprise micro-blogging will be a standard feature in 80% of the social software platforms in the market.”

Real-time, on-the-go collaboration solutions are more relevant within CRM community. One of many use cases is that of a sales representative at a customer location. While pitching a product to the customer the sales representative is bombarded with many questions, of which some answers are not known to him. He immediately uses his mobile device to post a question, making it visible to his colleagues across geographical locations (many of them he doesn’t even know personally). Within few seconds, someone with an answer to the question comments on his status and provides the necessary information. Similar use cases are applicable for a service technician or a marketing manager who need access to quick and real-time information.

The time has come when the power of micro-blogging applications at enterprise level cannot be ignored. However, the question remains whether we have hit “bull’s eye” with such an integration of micro-blogging tools available in the market with present enterprise collaboration offerings or is it just the tip of the iceberg?

The objective of a collaboration platform is to simplify life and as stated by Blair Pleasant, President and Principal Analyst, COMMfusion:

The less the people have to do, the better it’s going to work

With that note, I would like to end my blog. It would be great to know your thoughts on this topic. Kindly remember, your feedback will help us develop next-generation CRM.

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  • ‘The less the people have to do, the better it's going to work' sounds to be right for those posting the question, but how about hundrends of those who are getting the question, and need to interrupt their work if not for answering, than at least for reading and understanding?

    E-mail was a great tool to generate another wave on books on personal productivity and time management topic, i.e. how to cope with e-mails flood. I just see yet another wave of the books coming on how to cope with real-time all-the-time micro-messaging flood. 🙂


    • Hello Vitality,

      Your concern about bombardment of questions is absolutely correct and this is one of many reasons why some of the available micro-blogging applications in the market cannot be blindly integrated with our current enterprise applications.

      What we need is the flexibility to choose the information we want to receive. If I choose to receive information on 'Product X' (just an example), then I should receive information related to the same product. Much like your e-mail rule engine.

      But on the other hand I should also have the flexibility to look into the other discussions in my spare time, because some information is always 'good to know'. These are some of the parameters which are required to be taken care of when we are talking about enterprise micro-blogging  application.

      As per the usage of a micro-blogging application is  concerned, I believe it has many use cases apart from just posting a question, like sharing some news within your group, sharing a good article you came across which might be of interest to others in your company, sharing your experience about a customer visit you just had, etc. Like in Twitter or facebook, you can share anything you feel might be important for others in your company.

  • Sounds like a good concept.. apart from Vitaliy's concern around time spent on these activities - either voluntarily or involuntarily impacting users productivity, there could also be drawbacks such as quality and reliability of information provided - how can one rely on information provided by someone you don't know and in reference to the example, in the blog, how can you pass this info to the customers ?

    Agree that people are willing to help others but they cannot be held accountable for any incorrect info. that they may spread. Unless the information user has got the means to verify the validity/correctness of the info. the info. will not be of much use in my view. To me the source of the information is very important and thats why would rely on people who are already known or known to the known ones.

    • Hello Nitin,

      This is a good point you've brought. The source of information is very important and that is one the reasons why micro-blogging applications available in the public domain will fail especially while dealing with internal sensitive information. But what if I confine the usage of my enterprise micro-blogging application within my company's firewall and the users of this application are the internal employees of my company?

      Let me give you a small example. I am a sales guy, a new kiddo in the organization who is visiting a customer in next couple of hours. While preparing for my presentation I came across a question in my mind for which I don't know the answer. I take up my mobile device and ask this question in the common forum and within few seconds the product manager of the product X (the product which I am pitching in front of the customer) replies. I am now confident that the information is correct as the guy who answered, I see is the product manager of the same product.

      Hope this answers your question.