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Are real-time collaboration tools beginning to displace older ways of communicating?

Vivek Kundra, EVP emerging markets, Salesforce

“Making a phone call, sending a fax, sending an email. These ways of communicating with companies are broken,” says Vivek Kundra, who served as the first chief information officer of the United States and is now executive vice president of emerging markets for Salesforce.com.

Kundra shared a variety of case studies in companies engaging their customers on the social Web during this morning’s keynote at Salesforce’s Cloudforce Chicago event.

While more companies are now responding to questions and complaints from customers on Facebook and Twitter, most have yet to deeply enmesh this behavior into core business processes, Kundra told the event’s 3,000 attendees. But companies that use social collaboration tools internally to crowdsource customer questions and quickly surface the best answer from a team of employees are reaping big efficiency gains in customer service. Kundra thinks that in 5 years, all companies will be doing this, but those that pounce in the next 18 months will have an advantage.

In Salesforce products, much of the social listening technology is integrated from the Radian6 platform, which Salesforce acquired last year. Having used Radian6 since 2008, I think it’s cool to see social engagement begin to manifest itself inside of enterprise business tools for customer relationship management, customer service and even human resources tasks like performance reviews. (Content from Radian6 is also available inside the CisionPoint platform.)

But what really struck me about Kundra’s presentation was that some forward-thinking companies are beginning to recognize the limitations of tried and true communications tools like email, which has barely changed since the 1980s. By using collaboration tools that allow anyone with relevant information to respond quickly, companies are discovering that this whole “social” thing isn’t about looking cool or even attracting a tech-savvy workforce; it’s fundamentally about information quality and efficiency.

I can’t help but draw a parallel to the Seek or Shout community that Cision has launched this spring. Here, we’re fostering a relevant exchange between public relations professionals, journalists and influencers who need to find sources and information quickly on deadline.  It’s a lot easier to find an expert source to interview on short notice when you leverage the power of a strong community, rather than a few friends or colleagues on an email thread.

Look around. How do you see social technologies changing established ways of doing business?

 

 

Tags : social media

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