According to IBM … “It’s no longer a BtoB or BtoC relationship. It’s PtoP”
Once considered a lagger when it comes to providing enterprise ready tools and services, IBM is now one of several leading consulting services firms who are looking to rapidly get in front of the Social Media curve. As with their push in the Business Process Management (BPM) space over the past two years, they are quickly providing offerings; combination of services, software, tools and assets, designed to help an organization operationalize their use of social media.
IBM joins companies like Infosys who have been providing comprehensive solutions for engaging with consumers, influence their purchase decisions and provide post-purchase assistance online. While the marketing organizations with many companies are looking for ways to harness the power of social media to improve their brand online, product and sales teams are looking for more effective ways to deepen engagement with customers to both foster innovation as well as monetize the interaction. To do this effectively the platform must have the ability to spans multiple channels and provides a seamless experience across web browsers, mobile devices and tablets.
Customer will soon realize however that an application or SaaS solution that provides a series of API’s to Twitter, Facebook and the growing number of social networks is not sufficient. To effectively implement a comprehensive social media strategy, an company must also address the organization impacts these tools will have on existing business processes and operating procedures. Communication to customers which was once limited to only a small group within the organization is now in the hands of a larger number of employees. Business must come to grips with the reality that hundreds of employees will have the ability to engage with customers through these platforms. Education programs and clear editorial guidelines will need to be established to ensure “the right” message is maintained across the organization. Additionally, social media like most online transactions happen 24 hours a day,7 days a week. The traditional, “we’ll get back to you in 48 hours” is a recipe for failure for a business looking to conduct a larger portion of their business via online channels.
It will be interesting to see how IBM and others address this challenge over the next 2 years.