I have been looking at examples of companies building social technologies into their Web properties, and software applications the last couple of weeks and I am really impressed. For those that use Salesforce.com, the addition of Chatter was the first sign of things to come. Now Salesforce has purchased Radian6 so they can provide a listening system for people to monitor any mention of their company, competitors, or customers. This makes a lot of sense as the concept of SocialCRM blossoms. Right on the heels of this, I looked at a demo of a CRM system called Bluecamroo.com. I have to say that I am normally not impressed with software at first blush, but I was impressed with Bluecamroo.
This application has the tightest integration of social tools that I have seen, and in ways that makes sense I might add. You can add clients and prospects to the CRM system and it creates a monitoring window so you can see in real time what your contacts are discussing. You can also set alerts on keywords so if they happen to mention that they are “looking” for something, you will get notified immediately. You can even break your contacts down by distance from a lat/long address so you can make the tracking geographic. If you are interested in CRM systems, check it out.
I then had a discussion with a client who has a SAAS software platform they license. We were brainstorming how social tools and concepts could be imbedded in their application, and a thought dawned on me. Nearly every piece of software must be rearchitected to add social concepts. I am not talking about the basics of adding the ability to chat with other people who are using the application but the more advanced concepts. In fact there should be a checklist of sorts that software designers should be able to ask themselves to make it easier. The ideas below are an example of what I mean…
- The capability to forward content or information directly from the application to any contact on any social service
- The capability to see other co-workers that are using the application at the same time and send them a pop-up 140 character message.
- An ability to have a user profile on the system so when a user shares information, the receiver can click to see who sent it
- The ability to link content from social media sites with content inside the application
- The ability to connect a persons records within an application to the things they publish on social networking sites
- The ability to create custom flows of information (delivered as RSS feeds) so that users can add windows or headings to NetVibes, or Google Reader in order to monitor information coming into the application.
Before anyone says this to me, I understand that security issues need to be taken into consideration depending on what the application is doing. Connecting people is not always possible in high security apps. For the rest of the world, there is a lot that can be gained by socializing current software apps.