Cumulus Partners

18. October 2010 14:25


The cover has landed!

18. October 2010 14:25 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

Well, the nice folks at Wiley have finished the cover design for our new book, and you are the first to see it:

    Enjoy!

9. September 2010 03:15


The new name game ... CRM, VRM, SCRM, etc ...

9. September 2010 03:15 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

Don Peppers and Martha Rogers wrote a post the other day about CRM, SCRM and VRM. The gist of their argument is that SCRM (social customer relationship management) is an oxymoron, and that VRM (vendor relationship management) is the next big thing in the expanding universe of relationship management.

It's a great post, but lots of us still have faith in the basic idea that SCRM is the logical extension of CRM. I think you can make a pretty good case that the convergence of cloud, mobile and social computing is simply enabling the "next generation" of CRM, and that some of us are calling that next generation "SCRM," perhaps for lack of a better term.

Then again, maybe the term "SCRM" is too silly, and we should just call it "CRM II." 

8. September 2010 03:09


Catching up to the 'new' economy

8. September 2010 03:09 by mike barlow | 1 Comments

Chris Brogan writes a great blog, as most of you probably know. I recommend today's post (Looking for Work) and the many excellent comments that it inspired, especially if you feel like a refugee from the post-modern economy.

Chris touches on an important and very under-reported topic. And by the way, it's under-reported because most mainstream journalists (those who are still employed, that is) are working for huge corporations. As the global corporate economy continues evolving into something resembling the Matrix, more and more of us will have no choice but to rely on our entrepreneurial skills to survive. So my question is: When will the education system catch up with this? When will "mainstream" society figure this out?

The world has changed and the vast majority of those cushy corporate jobs have vaporized -- and will never return. Those jobs were the byproducts of the post-WWII U.S. economic hegemony. From 1945 until 2008, we operated as a virtual monopoly (We had a scare in 1973, but everyone forgot about it when the economy recovered in the 1980s). Now that we've got serious competition (the world *is* flat), the fat times are truly over. I'm not complaining -- I'm just amazed by how many people are still out there hunting for plush corporate gigs that no longer exist.

5. August 2010 15:11


Put a fork in it ...

5. August 2010 15:11 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

OK, we've finished writing THE BOOK! Yes, the manuscript for "The Executive's Guide to Enterprise Social Media Strategy" has been submitted to our wonderful editors at John Wiley & Sons, and they are checking it now to make sure we didn't sneak any bad words into the text! But seriously, it's moving through the editing process and that means it's on schedule! Whoopeee!!!

13. July 2010 02:28


Just read excellent post by Valeria Maltoni ...

13. July 2010 02:28 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

I guess I must be the last person in the world to have read Valeria Maltoni's excellent post, Customer Service is the New Marketing. She wrote it way back in 2007, but it's even more relevant now than it was three years ago. One of the nice things about researching a new book is finding or rediscovering all the cool stuff that other people have already written. It's also fun chatting with some of these people to see how their opinions have changed, or not changed. Have a great day!

21. June 2010 04:47


Thoughts from Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston

21. June 2010 04:47 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

Spent last Wednesday listening to panels and keynotes at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference up in Beantown. Lots of good stuff, especially from the shock troops on the front lines. Said "hello" to Andrew McAfee, who was autographing copies of "Enterprise 2.0," one of my favorite books on the subject. As with other recent conferences, this one seemed to highlight the gap between users and vendors. The vendors are all breathlessly pushing enterprise solutions; the users are struggling with adoption, relevancy, senior-level buy-in and proving the business value of collaborative social media initiatives. Reminds me of CRM back in the 90s. My hunch is that once again, CIOs will find themselves out of the loop as vendor sales reps head straight for the users, even if it means sacrificing the big bucks. We shall see ...

15. June 2010 01:35


'Enterprise' vs. 'roll your own' social media solutions

15. June 2010 01:35 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

I'm heading off to the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, and wondering which approach to social media strategy will eventually prevail, the vendor-provided "enterprise solution" or the "roll your own" model in which you basically say, "Hey, all I really need is an interface that feels like Facebook or LinkedIn and everyone will get the drift. Why do I need to buy an "enterprise solution" from a big-league vendor and pay big-league prices for a social media platform?"

So the big question gets down to "features and functionality," which sounds pretty 1970s, if you ask me. Clearly you're going to get a better ROI from the do-it-yourself model, but the enterprise model will likely come with more bells and whistles. The enterprise version is likely to address concerns over security, privacy, confidentiality, regulatory compliance and other sticky issues which are extremely important if you or your business partners (or channel partners) operate in any kind of regulated envionments.

Looks like the the jury's still out. I'll keep you posted on what I learn up in Beantown. 

22. May 2010 07:16


Updated Social Media Revolution is worth watching!

22. May 2010 07:16 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

Erik Qualman has updated Social Media Revolution. It's definitely worth watching. And for anyone who thinks the battle is already won ... well, I just returned from a high-level, invite-only CIO conference in Chicago, and there didn't seem to be a lot of genuine understanding about the potential business value of social media. Believe me, there are still lots of people out there in the corporate universe who still don't get it. But then again, there were also people at this event who were arguing over the value of cloud computing. If I think hard enough, I can remember similar arguments when client-server systems replaced mainframe computers, when PCs replaced dumb terminals and when email replaced the inter-office memo! Stay tuned -- and don't touch that dial!

5. May 2010 01:06


Great column by Andrew McAfee looks at why social media projects often fail

5. May 2010 01:06 by mike barlow | 2 Comments

I just finished reading a great column written by Andrew McAfee for Forbes.com about why social media pilot projects often fail. He's an advocate of social media, so I was interested in hearing his take on the subject. The column is definitely worth reading, especially if you are the manager of a corporate social media initiative. Here's my takeaway: Too many companies are treating social media like some new flavor of CRM, which is a serious mistake right off the bat. Next, it seems as though many executives expect social media pilot programs to show results after a couple of months. The best analogy I can think of would be if you were disappointed because your four-month-old child hadn't already been signed by a major league sports team or hadn't been admitted to Harvard. Imagine what it would sound like if you started complaining, "Hey, what's wrong with this kid? Maybe we should bring him back to the hospital and exchange him for a better model. Or maybe we should just rethink this whole kid thing and get a dog instead ..."

But sometimes I hear comments just as absurd by executives who ought to know better. Here is the stark reality: Social media is in its infancy. In fact, every aspect of information technology is in its infancy -- every platform out there is young! And social media is certainly one of the newest, and therefore one of the youngest. I think we need to give it a few more years before we begin judging the real "value" of social media to the enterprise.

2. May 2010 16:49


Reading "The Wealth of Networks"

2. May 2010 16:49 by mike barlow | 6 Comments

I interviewed Don Peppers last week for my upcoming book on corporate social media strategy and I wanted to pass along Don's recommendation of Yochai Benkler's great book, "The Wealth of Networks." Benkler offers a detailed analysis of the economics driving the "networked information economy" and it's worth reading for anyone involved in Internet-based publishing. As an old newspaperman, I was especially fascinated by his explanation of how the Internet has fundamentally replaced the printing press and why the concept of "intellectual property" is already dated. I find the book absolutely brilliant. Don, thanks!