Companies today are under increasing pressure to change the way they interact with customers and community management platforms like the one provided by Lithium Technologies can be an important part of that initiative. With customers insisting that companies interact “when, where and how” the customer chooses and not, as in the past, only where the company chooses, customer support is more important than ever. Because of this, many companies are opening up social channels to their customers. Now these Social CRM efforts are definitely business critical, but in my opinion there’s an associated issue that some companies are overlooking, their own siloed organizations. As I often tell audiences, just opening up channels to the customers without making sure their own employees can actually collaborate with each other is a recipe for disaster. I’m not saying one initiative is more important than the other, but they are in fact halves of the same process. Building a collaborative and connected business is more than opening up the conversation with the customer.
Last week during Lithium Technologies’ Annual Conference LiNC a partnership with VMware’s Socialcast was announced. Socialcast, an enterprise social network product I’ve written about a few times (here and here), provides the platform for connecting employees. Using Socialcast’s Reach integration platform customer conversations and interactions from Lithium communities can be brought inside the Socialcast network, allowing employees to interact with customer ideas and feedback. Combining the enterprise social graph with the external customer social graph brings customer insights to internal experts to drive real time business decisions. This starts to move systems of relationship together with systems of decision to elevate the ability to make critical business decisions. Since Lithium communities connect out to public social networks like Facebook and Twitter, the enterprise network that is created by the two integrated graphs has very broad reach and is one step closer to becoming a networked business.
Tying companies together inside-out and outside-in is a key part of becoming a social business. Integrating the two platforms is a good step forward to doing just that, and should provide considerable business value. Socialcast enterprise social networks bring employees together with content, data and enterprise systems, Lithium communities bring customers together and open up a real time conversation. Bringing the customer conversation into the enterprise social network provides critical information that can lead to better and more timely business decisions and a more effective and innovative business strategy.