Before I push out my Forecast for 2010 (next week some time), I have a few short observations that are honestly somewhat random:
Facebook Does It Again – Not So Privately
All Facebook members received a message from Mark Zuckerberg this past week that effectively said that Facebook was going to make it easier on people to handle their privacy settings for their particular situation. They required each member to accept some new settings (meaning that the member could certainly change them, but they had to do something.) or they would be prevented from using Facebook at all
But Mark Z. did it again. Fresh off the final court settlement re: Beacon – disaster #1; the ads without permission – Disaster #2; the terms of service change – Disaster #3; he pulls this new change in privacy settings – by making the default all information available to everyone – not friends or friends and friends of friends but everyone. Which of course is in the interest of Facebook even if to the detriment of their members. Rather than maintaining the integrity of the original choices or setting the privacy settings by default to the potentially least intrusive, they were set to the most intrusive, proving once again, that Facebook, as cool as it is, as important as it is, remains as clueless when it comes to the relationship to its members as it ever has been. They continue to astonish me – that a giant of their magnitude when it comes to impact has NEVER understood their customers/members and continually puts the members in harms way in the interests of….of…..what?
For a post that reflects pretty much what I also think, Jason Calcanis on Facebook Privacy Changes.
Musings on the Enterprise Analyst Diaspora of 2009
The world of enterprise analysts was shaken up in 2009 – more than any other year I can remember. First multiple (informal) surveys were showing that independents had gained equal footing with the giant analyst firms. This actually wasn’t that surprising since its always been the case that the individual analysts including those who are employed by the analyst organizations are the ones trusted, not the companies per se. In other words, at Gartner, let’s say, in CRM, people trust Michael Maoz and Ed Thompson, not Gartner, though the Gartner gravitas counts for something. If either of them or both of them left Gartner, so would a significant chunk of business and level of trust.
What was apparent to me is that the leadership of the bulk of the major analyst organizations doesn’t seem to understand this. The results of “no comprendo” has been that their best analysts – at Forrester in particular – left the house. For good reason.
This year saw the beginning of a realignment toward independents and boutiques on the one hand and the continued consolidation of the 800 pounders on the other. Some of the leave taking at some of the analyst firms was attrition due to recession. There were 13 firms who laid off folks in the beginning of the year. AMR last month was acquired for around $68 million, by Gartner, consolidating the market even further. That move is not something that will be bad as long as Bruce remains as deliciously independent as he has been and Chris retains his rights to CRM insight in his own voice. Which is likely.
Perhaps the most significant move all year was the move of Ray Wang, Jeremiah Owyang, and Deb Schultz from Forrester to ex-Forrester analyst Charlene Li’s Altimeter Group. This is HUGE. For one, Ray is perhaps the foremost enterprise analyst in the world and a helluva guy. Second, Jeremiah Owyang is among perhaps the three most influential social media-focused people (not just analysts) in the world along with Brian Solis and Chris Brogan, neither of whom fit the analyst mode at all. Deb Schultz is a world class analyst and consultant in innovation. Not a whole lot of others in her world are worth the trust that she engenders. To me, this was the move of the year and I’m not only saying that because of my personal regard for the people who make up the organization. These are superstars in their own right and the Altimeter Group is going to be among the most important analyst organizations over the next few years as they continue to grow. It does my heart good, too, to see that they are moving ahead quickly in Social CRM as one of their opening efforts and are in the midst of aggregating who the potential players are on the technology side of the house. I have a stricter view than they do about who qualifies but I will say that with this group, their work in Social CRM can only be a huge benefit to the industry and their exist a huge benefit to business as a whole.
Here is a list of the analysts that I trust the most when it comes to covering the CRM or enterprise space – not saying there aren’t others but these are top of mind but in no particular order:
(UPDATE: I inadvertently left off the Forrester analysts that I read religiously. Sorry. They are added below)
- Denis Pombriant - Independent
- Brent Leary – Independent
- Esteban Kolsky - Independent
- Mike Fauscette – IDC
- Michael Maoz – Gartner
- Ed Thompson – Gartner
- Ray Wang - Altimeter
- Sheryl Kingstone – Yankee Group
- Bruce Richardson – AMR/Gartner
- Josh Greenbaum - Independent
- Vinnie Mirchandani - Independent
- Michael Krigsman – Independent
- Ian Jacobs – Datamonitor/Ovum
- Jim Berkowitz – Independent
- Dennis Howlett – Independent
- Bill Band – Forrester Group
- Natalie Petouhoff – Forrester Group
There are some not in the list because they don’t cover the enterprise or CRM space primarily – guys like Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group, who is a consumer side social superstar, or Bruce Temkin of Forrester who covers the CEM space.Those two would be there if I included those domains in this list. Sometime early in 2010, I’m going to publish a similar list of those I trust in the social space as analysts – which is a work in progress for me at the moment. I’m still trying to figure out what and who. Also these are not people who are strictly bloggers but those who have rendered strong researched opinions on vendors and trends in the enterprise world – also who have shown some real depth and original thinking and are willing to criticize those who could also be their clients at the time they are criticizing them. That integrity is part of what makes this list my trusted analyst sources. Insights and creative thinking is another part.
One Last Time But Never in 2010
It amazes me that there seems to be this concerted effort to get rid of the name Social CRM or the acronym SCRM and replace it with something else. Sometimes the reason seems to be for self-promotion in kind of an alpha male “I want to rule the roost” way; sometimes its supposedly to remove the “taint” of the association with that“failed” approach called CRM. That one strikes me particularly ironically because the implication there is that this $13 billion business has been a failure – and that businesses somehow are stupid enough to keep throwing money after it – though it always fails. Guess what? The value to business apparently has been sufficient to make it one of the areas that grew during the recession. Businesses are just not as stupid as those calling CRM a failure seem to be implying. Get over Gartner’s 2002 55-70 percent number. That was 2002. This is 2009 and the success rates tend to be in the range of 55-70% at this point.
Other times, it seems to be because there seems to be an actual difference in approach and methodology with advocates of Social CRM. That part is great. The debate and discussion around serious differences in how to construct the right business models only moves the new world we live in forward. But the part of that I don’t understand is why not just live along side Social CRM? What’s the reason to have to exterminate Social CRM in order to replace it with something else? Seems there’s plenty of room for differences in thinking and methodology. Whichever businesses are interested in, they will adopt, and that will be on a case by case basis. There doesn’t seem to be a need to get rid of Social CRM to have a “Social Something Else.” Just develop and mature the “Social Something Else”, as part of the pantheon of business choices available including Social CRM and let the games begin.
What I do know is this. Social CRM is a term that has been accepted by a significant chunk of businesses and those in the CRM industry (naturally). My guess is that its not going to go away no matter what efforts are out there to denigrate it. Obviously I’m an advocate of it as are many others. Shoot, I just wrote an 800 page book on new models, frameworks and outlooks associated with Social CRM. I found case studies everywhere on it. I found experts who could write to an area of it (around 70 and that just touched upon the amount out there) and I found companies that were implementing aspects of it and calling it “Social CRM”. So there is a certain amount of popular acceptance that’s pretty undeniable.
But honestly, I don’t care about the debate over who calls what what. If you’ve got a different framework, put it out there in the business world and let the companies decide which they want to use – or what parts of each they care to use – unless of course they are incompatible. Call it whatever you want. I just wish we could get past naming conventions and start presenting the frameworks and models so that businesses have their choices in front of them. That would be a real discussion. Differences in approach, not differences in acronym.