As some of you know by now, I am leaving Switzerland after three years and moving back to my original stomping ground in the NYC area. Noo Joyzee to be precise :) I’ll also be leaving my position as Social Media Strategist for Autodesk in the process.
There are several reasons for this. Not the least of which is a woman who understandably got tired of riding the Newark/Geneva/Newark pond shuttle every couple of months. I hope United stock doesn’t tank on this news :)
The other reason is a NYC company called Sprinklr. Sprinklr is a Social Media Management System (SMMS) vendor. And as they shepherd a community of enterprise social media practitioners, I gladly participated in the recent version of their Social@Scale best practices eBook.
I first met Sprinklr early last year in the context of an evaluation pilot my social service team was driving. I could tell you a bunch of stories about their efficiency, straight-talking, and relentless 24/7 support. I could go on about Sprinklr features, usability, metrics, and all the usual jazz. Yeah, they had all that. Most vendors in this category have a pretty extensive set of social bells and whistles.
But what really made a difference for me were two things. One, during a crisis point early on, their CEO Ragy Thomas got personally involved and gave me his private cell number to use anytime I needed. Then calmly, he made us a promise. And his team went out of their way to deliver on it, and on time. I don’t know too many CEOs who do this kind of stuff except this one of course :)
Second, Sprinklr listened to us from day one. I know this sounds like a “duh” moment, but it’s amazing how many vendors actually don’t. Many places talk up a lot of “partnership” benefits. But if you don’t listen well, and act on what you learn, you can’t become a true partner. And what I was looking for went beyond a feature-loaded tool. I was seeking a social media partner to evolve and grow with. Someone we could rely on. You help me out, we’ll help you out.
Because a really effective social-enablement partner in this business must have the right technology and features, the right listening culture, and the right vision for being - not just doing - social at enterprise scale. And in my book, Sprinklr has the magic three.
There’s a real proliferation of social platform vendors in the market right now. Picking and choosing is almost more art than science. And part gamble. Talking with peers on a regular basis, our community is almost always abuzz with asks and recommendations for the “right” social platform.
Confusion, uncertainty, and doubt are frequent. What works for one industry doesn’t necessarily work for another. Social channels proliferate then evolve and change almost weekly. Vendors get bought or taken out. What’s a social practitioner to do? Me, I tend to focus on the following things.
Adaptability: how quickly can a vendor handle change? Add features? Add channels? Languages? BRIC support? The next social channel API?
Versatility: Can the platform serve multiple corporate groups or is it geared towards a specific domain - like Marketing or Support? Can it listen, engage, and publish? At the same time? Will the platform help “glue” the business? A platform should drive internal unification and cooperation. And remain cost-effective. It’s what I call the “one umbrella” principle.
Ease of use: how long does it take to onboard the platform? Is flying it rocket science or can anyone drive? How intuitive is it? How fun is it to use? How customizable is the user interface? Is the design intuitive?
Performance: Velocity is key for social engagement. A slow or unreliable social platform is not useful.
Metrics: How customizable are they? And does the platform create the “illusion of simplicity” when it comes to generating and interpreting metrics for multiple business divisions?
Scale: Can the platform absorb massive growth in both traffic and internal users without a hitch? And within budget?
Failover: What’s the strategy - and technical implementation - for catastrophic fail over? Are real-time global network statuses reported?
Support: does the vendor provide 24/7 support? How quick are reaction and resolution times? Is support provided over social channels? - You’d be surprised :)
Over months of working with Sprinklr to fine-tune and tweak the product for our needs - both generic and specific - how many times did I think to myself, “Man, if I were building this thing, I’d sure love to have this and that feature. This or that capability. How cool would it be if…How unique if we could do this…Why didn’t anyone else ever think of that?” — Well now as Director of Product Management for Sprinklr, I’ll get to influence the product’s growth and evolution.
And short of going out and starting my own company to roll out what I consider a “perfect” social media management platform - the product I wanted to have! - this is about as good as it gets! :)
And that’s why helping a company like Sprinklr build the ultimate Social@Scale product for my peers and friends in the industry was an opportunity I couldn’t pass by.
Helping really large companies stay social my friends. And making a ding in the universe. That’s where it’s at! :)