Facebook Becoming Ultimate CRM System - InformationWeek
Cloud // Software as a Service
04:39 PM
Jim Rapoza
Jim Rapoza
Connect Directly

Facebook Becoming Ultimate CRM System

The social network's latest messaging features point to a future in which you can contact someone wherever they are with a single click.

Earlier this year, I attended a conference where I saw demos of a couple of products designed to improve contact management within Outlook. Afterward, I discussed the demos with two people who had sat through them and we agreed that, while five years ago we might have liked these products, today we couldn’t see using them.

Why? Because all of us had stopped using contacts within Outlook and had moved our contact management to social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn.

For me, this has been useful. Now, when I meet someone, instead of having to take his business card and enter it into a system at a future date (if I ever get to it), I would add that person as a friend in Facebook or to my network in LinkedIn. When I need to make contact down the road, I know I can find him, and I’ll know that all of his information is up-to-date.

This solves lots of problems. No longer do I need to wonder if I still have the correct phone number, or email address or if the person even still works at the same company. Now I know what the person’s current situation is and I can even contact him directly through the social network’s messaging or chat system.

This has worked well. But when I saw Facebook’s recent announcement about its planned messaging service, even more powerful uses for these networks occurred to me.

To be clear, what Facebook is announcing is basic and, while potentially useful, it will not revolutionize anything at the moment. But the future potential could be big. I see the potential for a system to become the single point of contact for reaching people, no matter where they are and what means of communication they have.

Think of it like this. You need to contact your friend Joe right away. What do you do? Call or SMS his cell phone? Email him? See if he is available on IM? Maybe you’ll reach him, maybe not. Now imagine you simply click a Contact Joe icon in a social network or application. It knows how to reach Joe via phone, SMS, chat, email, or social network messaging system and is smart enough to use the most method most likely to succeed.

With a system like this, you can get ahold of people without having to access all of their numbers, chat handles and email addresses; you just say "contact Joe." Of course, as with anything, there are potential gotchas. First, the announced Facebook system doesn’t have this capability, and if it did (or eventually does), Facebook’s track record in privacy and covert feature changes would probably make many wary of fully committing to the system.

But a system like this doesn’t need to come from Facebook. With the wide availability of APIs for communication systems, many companies could build a similar system. In fact, Google, with Google Voice and Gmail, is closer to providing this type of functionality than Facebook is (without the key feature of the social network).

Still, whoever comes up with a system like this will have a potential customer in me.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll