Weeks after Paul Greenberg’s thought-provoking post on ZDNet, the debate continues as to whether Twitter could/should evolve into a Social CRM or remain a channel/medium (read: a “non app”).  This on-going conversation in the Blogosphere & Twittersphere, have actually done a lot to bring together the social media crowd and social CRM (“CRM 2.0”) proponents.  There’s also some promising talk of collaboration between industry pundits Paul Greenberg and Brian Solis.

One of Paul’s central arguments here is that Twitter is not (and should not become) an application, but rather remain “just” a channel / medium (albeit it a powerful, extremely trendy, and perhaps transformation one.)  Most of the reader comments agreed (no shocker there… Paul has a pretty loyal following, and he has a nasty habit of being right most of the time.)

One particular blog comment from “kotharia” struck a chord.  The gist was that while leveraging Twitter as a listening & communication channel is a good start, “these emerging channels have a potential to generate a huge volume of conversations (unstructured data) which cannot be harnessed easily.”  Hmm, this problem sounds familiar.  They went on to suggest that “One would need effective tools to harness & synthesize the data to enable better decision making.”

BINGO!  One thing is guaranteed… just like all other media, traditional and social, Twitter will exacerbate information overload. We happen to focus on solving this problem specifically for sales & marketing professionals but really the principles are applicable across all knowledge workers.  You need a layer of intelligence / analytics operating on top of Twitter (along with all other potentially useful data sets and information sources) if you want to make it relevant and actionable.  SalesView is focused on doing just that for sales/marketing/support professionals, WITHIN their CRM.  Call it social CRM, CRM 2.0, socialprise, or just plain cool… the bottom line is that it has a huge impact on sales productivity.

Twitter ups the ante in terms of volume and frequency, but the challenge is not a new one. Before our current love affair with Twitter, most organizations had not yet figured out how to filter & analyze the thousands of online news sources, much less the hundreds of thousands of business blogs out there. So we can’t assume that Twitter is “noisier” (as measured by signal to noise ratio, not volume) than any previously available media. It’s just a bigger fire hose!

Here’s the approach we’ve taken to date with the InsideView Smart Cloud platform.

Basically we look at channels / media / content as plug & play. Blogs come along, plug it in. Twitter comes along, plug it in. Rest assured that in the next 6-12 months, some OTHER shiny new thing will capture the hearts & imagination of sales & marketing so what then?  Just plug it in. After all, the next-next-big-thing promises to accelerate the commoditization of content and worsen information overload. Unless, that is, you have tools that can filter & analyze data in the cloud to identify only the relevant & actionable information.

That’s where we think things are going. What do you think? Reply here or Tweet us at http://twitter.com/insideview.

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