Big in 2010: CRM Collaboration

If this past year was all about social networking in CRM, 2010 will most definitely be met with the rise of collaboration products in business suites. Salesforce Chatter, despite being dubbed the “Facebook for enterprise,” is positioning itself as a CRM collaboration tool. Not to be outdone by Salesforce.com, SugarCRM announced Cloud Connects and Social Feeds, which will provide collaboration capabilities for their users. Each of these new products offer collaboration abilities, but there’s a reason why they are being considered Facebook-like platforms—they offer the ability to create personal profiles, status updates, and the like.

SugarCRM and Salesforce.com offer CRM platforms for companies of all sizes, but it is very likely that those companies using their respective collaboration/social networking tools are medium-to-large enterprises. In the next year, we are probably going to see more CRM collaboration tools like HyperOffice’s Collaboration Suite, which caters to SMBs. Collaboration Suite is a SaaS platform, and allows users to create personal and group environments, and touts a UI that is very like that of Microsoft Office. Its features have been described as basic, but we have to keep in mind that it is a product for small businesses, and they rarely require the same level of sophistication that larger businesses need.

There will be an influx in CRM collaboration tools, and they are going to offer a range of sophistication levels. Not all services will offer Chatter-like features—specifically, the Facebook-like ones—and maybe this is a good thing. We always want to see greater innovation and complexity in each product iteration, in any technology segment; but when it comes to Web 2.0, sometimes the sought after innovations are just noise.

Personally, I’d like to see more collaboration tools that take the simple approach tibbr offers with its status updates. Not that Salesforce.com and SugarCRM’s products aren’t valuable for a number of business environments. They do offer a number of important collaboration abilities, but all that is currently shrouded in marketing that focuses on their social media aspects. It’d just be nice to see more CRM applications focusing on productivity, instead of the razzle dazzle of social networking.

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