Yesterday Microsoft unveiled what can only be called a Twitter tracker as part of a collection of "solution accelerators" for their midrange Dynamics CRM offering that will be downloadable in the next few weeks. Two of the new applications covered conventional customer relationship tasks – website integration and channel partner lead management, but the third, the Social Networking Accelerator is rather different:
The Social Networking Accelerator allows business professionals to monitor and analyze customers’ conversations on social networking sites, and as a result, provides real-time status updates about their products and services. This accelerator delivers integration with Twitter; other networks will be introduced in future releases. The Social Networking Accelerator can be viewed online at http://crm.dynamics.com.
If you follow the link, you’ll find that the demo is not currently working, but a Microsoft presentation summarizes the functionality as:
What it does:
The SeattlePI also has an instructive video.
Microsoft is not the first to try mining the Twitter vein for contact relationship management – their nemesis Salesforce.com and a start-up named CoTweet are digging into it as well and there is also speculation that Twitter would like to do it themselves. Whether there is actually some gold there is another question but the topic of Twitter reputation management is currently getting a lot of buzz.