IM v Email

We’ve seeing the tide turn in the last decade, with mobile now firmly outpacing the desktop as the computer of choice for most people. But what of messaging; is handset instant messaging killing email; the staple of desktops globally too?

Anecdotally and from my personal experience I’d have to say yes. My daily email traffic has slowed to a crawl while my IM traffic has shot up.

Looking at the global data seems to indicate that my experiences are not far from the norm. And, having said that, I’m writing this article on my phone.

Living in an IM world is not something I’m particularly enamored with, especially when it comes to IM for work…but I find that with technology generally. IM allows for a fast, simpler message to get issued and replied. And if the message is simple and the reply too then it seems like a perfect situation.

My area of interest in business usage of IM is how it interfaces with CRM and ERP; what’s IM’s place in the eco system.

At SuiteWorld this year Craig Sullivan demo’d NetSuite on WeChat, showcasing some terrific features and use cases.

From my perspective, I see IM being applied in CRM and ERP as a conversation within the general processing of data. Seems elementary, perhaps even obvious. Approvals come to mind as a simple application of this dialogue.

System: Hi (supervisor), (employee) has raised P.O. #097765 to (vendor) for $Xxx. Would you like to approve this P.O.? (Reply#yes) Or would you like to see more details? (Reply#details)

Supervisor: #Yes

System: P.O. #097765 has been approved, thank you.

But with thought other kinds of prompts are conceivable.

How about suggesting customers to order normally purchased but recently not items seems reasonable. Additionally, with the progress occurring in chatbots the extension of these notifications and reminders into actionable outcomes seems not too far fetched.

The dialogue might be something like this, and run across the clients preferred IM channel (SMS, WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber, Facebook Messanger, Skype etc) direct from your CRM or ERP Dashboard.

Vendor: Hi (customer), I noticed you haven’t purchased any (item) recently, have you discontinued it or would you like us to add (normal quantity ordered) to an order for you? #Yes / #no

Client: #Yes please.

Vendor: Sales Order #12345 has been opened. It’s total value is $xxx. Normally you order; Xqty of Yitem, Rqty of Gitem, should we add these items to your order too? #yes / #no.

Client: #Yes

Vendor: Sales Order #12345 has been updated. It’s total value is $yyy. Would you like us to dispatch this today? #yes / #no

Client: #Yes please.

Vendor: Sales Order #12345 has been dispatched with (carrier) the tracking number is ABC09875 , it should arrive (date). Check your email for the invoice. Thank you for your business.

No doubt, for the right WD, or Ecommerce or discrete service provider this kind of automated and auctioned dialogue could be very helpful for vendor and client alike.

I suppose my bigger thought is whether the future of ERP is really just an IM dialogue with an appropriate stakeholder which keeps the wheels of business moving. It’s Unlikely to be a 100% replacement, but having seen the rise of mobile and IM I have to say it’s seems like a reasonable bet.

I’m interested in your thoughts whether it’s pipe dream crazy talk or inspirational visionary let me know what you think.