Paul Greenberg has one of the most prolific and wide ranging minds in the CRM business. He wrote the CRM bible—“CRM at the Speed of Light,” which is now in its third edition and he lectures constantly, educates, and he writes and publishes just about everywhere in the CRM world. Every vendor and analyst respects his ideas and opinions and many of the biggest seek him out for advice. For those and other reasons, I have started calling him the dean of CRM analysts.
Greenberg is also an incredible gadget-head. He has all of the toys you can imagine—phones, game consoles, entertainment, computers, and he plays with hardware and software the way a kid uses legos. So when he told me he had started dabbling in wiki’s it seemed right in character.
A wiki, as you probably know, is a domain where people of like minds go to share ideas. The word itself, I am told, is from the Hawaiian language and means fast. The point in using this name is to highlight how quickly ideas can evolve when many hands (and minds) are turned to a single purpose. Greenberg’s wiki idea has been to launch a discussion of the future of CRM. If that sounds too nebulous it’s really about CRM 2.0, which is what he’s calling it. I can’t think of a better person to instigate this process than Paul Greenberg and I am writing about the effort today because I think it’s vitally important.
Paul and I have kept up an active dialog over the last few years about CRM, where it’s going, and where it needs to go. Many of the ideas that I first surfaced here have gone into our conversations and Paul has now taken the lead in bringing together some of the best minds in CRM together in one spot to plot the future of our industry.
Many people in the CRM business are coming or have come to the conclusion that the CRM that grew out of the 1990s has exceeded its useful life and I am among them. The business climate is different, the economy is different, the types and kinds of products that companies are making are different—in short CRM 1.0 has not exactly kept up with the changing times.
So Paul has decided to convene a congress of the Internet on his wiki to ask the hard question, “What now?” The idea of doing this as a community activity has a lot to recommend it. As Greenberg put it, a definition that comes from an interested community, “…would be universally acceptable so that the mistakes made during the CRM 1.0 period that we’ve just left, a.k.a. 15 million self-serving definitions of CRM out there that left customers confused, wouldn’t happen again.”
Now, here’s the cool part, everyone’s invited to help out.
There are already a number of industry and academic heavy weights involved in the project which you will see when you visit the wiki, but Paul is opening this to, as he puts it, “Vendors, practitioners, academicians, students, consultants, authors, etc. who are interested in truly doing something important when it comes to customers.” If that sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. All you need to do is send an email with your details to Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org and give a short description of why you are interested in helping with the project. In return mail you will get a URL and an invitation to join the community.
I am already involved and plan to post some of the ideas I first expressed in this space over the last year or two in updated form. But there are others like Joe Pine who, along with James Gilmore, first expressed the idea of the customer experience in the 1999 book “The Experience Economy.” As you will see the drivers for CRM 2.0 are diverse, the people who are contributing are many, and the thinking that will go into this effort has been percolating for a long time. Now it’s time to bring it all together.
I expect to report back to you over the coming months on progress and on some of the issues that we might be wrestling with. In my humble opinion this could not have happened at a better time. I think it will be a fun experience for all of us.