Altimeter recently published a report - written by Ray Wang & Jeremiah Owyang - called Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship Management and it is an ambitious attempt to define Social CRM and place and rate vendors according to 18 business use cases they have defined.
I am a big fan of frameworks as I think it helps people segment and define their needs so despite being a bit of a mouthful, the Monitor-Mapping-Management-Middleware-Measurement breakdown is a great way to look at the role of different technologies within the SCRM landscape. I also thought having concrete definitions for each use case is a really helpful approach to guide the conversation between IT professionals and business professionals.
Jeremiah & Ray also evaluate the maturity of the technologies that support each of the 18 use cases. I loved this approach but I did find the criteria and presentation a bit confusing although still think this is an immensely useful first step in separating out what companies should focus on from an IT-enablement perspective.
One thing that I am sure we'll see more conversation about is how Altimeter defines Social CRM - which includes collaboration and product innovation/development. I don't have a particularly strong opinion one way or the other (not being a CRM expert) but from my perspective it does expand the boundaries of what was traditionally considered part of CRM.
Overall, it's a great document in assessing the social software landscape and determining where to focus one's energies given the current maturity of the market - and paired to the business use cases which is critical for companies. I highly recommend a read:
View more documents from Jeremiah Owyang.
In related news, Radian6 just announced its Engagement Console which greatly helps to consolidate some of the fragmentation between information on the open web with internal CRM data structures. I expect to see a lot more technology deployed in this area to help companies rationalize and respond appropriately to the highly unstructured data coming into the organization from the outside.