The Enterprise 2.0 conference comes to Boston next week. I am working the event as the chair of the sales and marketing track, so consider this full disclosure.
The idea of E2.0 has long made me wonder about its place in the market versus CRM. Is it a competitor or another way of saying much the same thing? Or perhaps is it the anteroom to CRM? Is it the thing that takes in and civilizes ideas before they hit the more mainstream CRM world?
My first experience with E2.0 a few years ago was that it was more social than Paul Greenberg or certainly CRM in general. Every kind of social tool and vendor was there but significantly none of the vendors I saw thought of themselves as a CRM vendor. They felt they were different. But with the rapid uptake of social by CRM in the last few years, it will be interesting to see how much of that attitude still prevails or whether more mainstream CRM vendors have taken up the E2.0 idea. Will major CRM companies have booths, for instance?
There is certainly good reason to think that the two ideas are moving together. In my estimate E2.0 came out of the seminal work of the Cluetrain Manifesto whereas CRM was simply the brainchild of pragmatic software developers who wanted to make a buck rationalizing backward front office business processes. And maybe that’s it — the intellectual inquiry into the future of business against a relentless effort to normalize and economize work in the front office.
Both needed to happen and it was a bigger job than a single industry could perform. But is it time for them to come together? It is clearly one of the greatest “your chocolate got into my peanut butter” moments in technology. And more important, outside of CRM Magazine’s CRM Evolution show in August, there are precious few CRM shows outside of vendor conferences and hence few places to sample ideas not previously vetted by a vendor.
So in our track we will have sessions on business-to-business social marketing from Gerry Murray, Research Manager and Joe Ferrantino, Research Analyst both from IDC; a discussion of revenue from the marketing side by Phil Fernandez, CEO Marketo; plus a session on leveraging the social graph to attract and select new customers by Jerek Sygitowicz, CEO Smartupz; and a session on how virtual agents will revolutionize eCommerce from Pam Kostka, CMO of VirtuOz.
It looks interesting to me, but I picked the agenda so what do you expect I’d say? Seriously though, the sessions are a bit heavy on marketing and its increasing reach and influence but that’s to be expected. In a socialized world, where everything quickly reduces to communication and analyzing its output, marketing becomes the go-to idea center almost by default. That also means that selling is an extension of marketing and service becomes a way to capture customer input and a true marketing opportunity.
There are nine tracks in all including one on unified communications, which I hope to attend in my spare time because I think it has a huge future. For my money if you want to get an inkling of what to expect coming into the CRM suite or front office computing over the next few years you won’t do better than to take a look at Enterprise 2.0.
And no one paid me to write this.