You guys both got to stop perpetuating this myth that Boba Fett is some kind of bad-ass. All right? He has a jet pack. So did the Rocketeer.

Over the last week I’ve been focusing on catching up on my vendor reading and seeing what everyone has been up to. As a creature of habit, I must admit it was tempting to catch up on security news first and foremost, but I also wanted to start looking at new areas of cloud (well, for me anyway), particularly around collaboration and social media.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a cloud event in Toronto which focused on introducing social media to corporations. While many organizations still assume that social media platforms are counterproductive, for just about every company there is great value in looking at new ways to conduct business.

Firstly, I’ve seen my fair share of CRM systems. Many times, organizations love to keep their antiquated in-house system because it’s been around forever, is integrated into everything and well, it’s paid for. But moving to cloud-based systems has significant benefit. For one, it is accessible from any system, any platform and from any geographic region. They can also be integrated into larger systems such as ticketing (for customer service), billing (order entry and payment) and even social media.

While it may not seem like a big deal, but by integrating social media such as Facebook (I know, very un-corporate) and Twitter means that you can catch issues and correct (and improve customer loyalty) any potential negative reactions before it escalates.

Let’s think about this: Your social media feed picks up a Tweet from a customer asking for anyone to answer a support question. Either they can’t find the answer on your site, or maybe they just want an easy response. If you have your social media feeding into your CRM system, you can easily open the Tweet as a case, and you can contact the customer and resolve it through any medium (Twitter, email, phone etc). The issue is resolved quicker than if you used traditional methods to find the issue (if you even found it at all).

There is a lot to say for the benefits of social media and CRM, especially when you combine them in a meaningful way. There are some great solutions that exist such as part of the Salesforce.com suite, and other less integrated options. But regardless of which method your organizations starts to look at, it really is worth starting to rethink your CRM to include social media if you haven’t already.

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