Why Social Media will drive adoption of SaaS CRM

SaaS CRM ( Software as a Service) has been around for a while. Salesforce.com, one of the largest service providers in SaaS CRM space has been around for more than ten years and has been listed on NYSE for almost six years now. I can still recall the day Salesforce.com was listed on NYSE, having seen a giant banner with the letters “CRM” (ticker symbol of Salesforce.com) on NYSE building on that day on my way to work in lower Manhattan, where I was working as a CRM Program Manager for a Fortune Top 10 client (on how many occasions you get to see “CRM” banner on NYSE building!)

But inspite of the fact that SaaS CRM has been around for a decade, it is not as popular or widespread as what some might have expected it to be by now. I think this is about to change. As I noted in my previous post, four independent trends, namely Social Media, Smart Phones, Predictive Analytics and SaaS are now converging to bring about a Paradigm Shift in CRM.

In particular, Social Media will drive adoption of cloud computing/SaaS CRM going forward. Some of the key reasons why I think this is likely to happen are as follows:

* Social Media channels (like Twitter and Facebook) generate tremendous volume of user generated content created by millions of users. Not possible for CRM system to import/store the data “locally”. This is unlike “traditional” CRM, where data was generated by few users and stored in “local” database. SaaS Model makes it possible to store information in the “cloud” (shared space) and access it from (Social) CRM application “on-demand”

* Social Media space is changing and evolving rapidly. New Social Media channels and tools are being added almost every day. Very difficult, if not impossible, for any CRM vendor to incorporate all new channels and feeds “locally” for every installation of CRM system. Under the SaaS model, it is not difficult to add new Social Media channels/feeds to the “hosted” (Social) CRM application and make it available to users “on-demand”

* Service Oriented Architecture and Cloud Computing not only make it easy to integrate applications, but also facilitate “plug and play” modules and add-ons that can dramatically reduce time and cost involved in extending functionality of the application. This can be of great help in Social CRM as Social Media space is changing and evolving rapidly.

CRM and Analytics application vendors such as Oracle, SAP and SAS should take note of this trend towards SaaS and should extend their service offerings to include CRM SaaS.

What do you think? Please do share your thoughts and comments on impact of Social Media on SaaS CRM.

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