Is Social A “Meatball On The Spaghetti” Or “Layer In Your Lasagna?”

Ok, I realize this post’s title may qualify for the most ridiculous I’ve done yet…but bar with me. I promise it will (kind of) make sense in a bit.

I was talking with Mitch Lieberman (@mjayliebs to most of you) and we were discussing how for many analysts and consultants – social is seen as a silo, or simply something you drop on top of an existing IT infrastructure and then go to town. In short – a “Meatball on top of the spaghetti” – the spaghetti being the complex IT systems, apps etc. in your organization.

For many, this is how it is done, sadly. The ease of use, and perceived lack of any need for process or data integration has many people thinking they are embarking on a killer social media initiative – but in reality they might be setting themselves up for big problems later.

Instead, I argue people need to think of social media initiatives as an important layer in a tightly integrated IT stack – like a lasagna instead of a plate of pasta.

Social data, social interactions and social channels are the future – and simply throwing policies, campaigns and users at the issue just begs for problems. Instead, people need to think about how the data will be collected and analyzed. Also, how will social interactions be tracked and measured for effectiveness, reach, and most important the positive or negative net effect on customers?

I think there are a lot of great consultants out there who understand the need to integrate social channels into traditional CRM and other internal/external processes in a very immersive manner. However, I am also seeing a lot of “gurus” and other types spread what I see as dangerous messages and quick-fix strategies towards social.

So, ask yourself… “Am I making more spaghetti or layering a lasagna?”

Martin Schneider is Director of Product Marketing at SugarCRM. In his role, Martin handles competitive intelligence, marketing positioning and analyst relations. Prior to joining SugarCRM, Martin held the position of senior analyst with technology industry research firm the 451 Group, headquartered in NYC. Martin covered the CRM landscape for the 451, analysing and consulting on such topics as Software-as-a-Service, business intelligence and open source applications. Martin also covered the CRM space as news editor with CRM Magazine in New York.