SugarCon 2011—Bigger and Badder than Ever

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Live from SugarCon 2011: A Communications Revolution is underway.

With something for everybody, SugarCRM’s 5th annual world wide customer and developer conference got underway today. The confab takes place in the beautiful neoclassical Palace Hotel in San Francisco. (Just a dig at everyone on the east coast, the weather here is beautiful, crisp and mild.)


Social, Mobile and Global…

If Social, Mobile, and Global sounds familiar, it should. These are precisely the same themes given voice at last month’s Magento Imagine conference. And this is no surprise. From Shopping to Shipping, every part of the business value chain is being disrupted by more and more and more social innovations online.


Something for Everyone

In addition to the usual keynote addresses, the conference comprises 8 different tracks, for a total of 48 breakout sessions per day. Despite the plethora of options, however, the conference theme definitely has to be the ongoing social business revolution. One of the standout thought leaders at the show, however, Paul Greenberg (author of “CRM At The Speed Of Light”) points out that this is not a business revolution. Rather, it is a communications revolution that continues to impact every institution in the world.

Whatever you want to call it, all agree, that a tectonic shift is underway—and will remain underway—for the foreseeable future. Everyone rightly disavows any knowledge of what the communications revolution will have wrought 5 years from now (remember the hype around DIGG 5 years ago?). But all agree, companies can either get on board and take advantage of it, or let their competitors take advantage of them.

This is not a business revolution. Rather, it is a communications revolution that continues to impact every institution in the world.

Like Web 2.0, “Social CRM” is one of those amorphous buzz words bandied about by the industry cognoscenti. With an enduring New York matter of factness, Paul Greenberg defines Social CRM as “The programmatic response an organization makes to customer control of the conversation.” He boils this down into two simple facts:

1) Customers have the ability to impact your business. (He pointed to the infamous “United Breaks Guitar,” YouTube-fueled PR debacle and estimated that instead of the $1,000 it would have cost United to just replace their customer’s damaged guitar, they ended up incurring $180M in marketing costs trying to repair the self-inflicted damage of shoddy customer service. It is this threat of things going viral that really scares companies today.)

2) Customers communicate on channels that you don’t control.

“We don’t have a Social Media strategy, we have a relationship strategy.”

So should you!


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