If you are online today, chances are that you have an account with at least two if not more of the big internet companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft. Yahoo and LinkedIn.
While Google, Microsoft and Yahoo provide primarily email services to a logged in user, Facebook and LinkedIn provides social and/ or business networking. All five though have many commonalities, the biggest being the ability of store a large number of “Contacts” or “Friends” and their details.
Information storage is rapidly moving online and accessed and then stored on multiple devices – mobile phone, desktop clients etc. We need to address the issue of data consistency and remove duplication of effort to keep data updated across multiple platforms.
Our experience with Google Apps
This is a complex task but not impossible. Our experience in creating bi-directional sync between data in Google and our platform has been quite good. We have ensured that you can enter business contact data in one of the two platforms and not only transfer the data to the other platform but also ensure that edits on one platform show up on the other.
So, if you are working on your contact list in Saleswah CRM, if you make a change in a contact record in the CRM (On the Phone, the Desktop Windows 8 App or on the Web) or in Google- whether on the web or on the connected Android phone- you make changes only in one place and have it show up on the other. We were so kicked about it that we wanted to replicate the same thing across all platforms- Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn etc. The first hurdle we faced was from Microsoft.
Microsoft- we like to micromanage
The linking process went through reasonably smoothly. But, for a long time we could not figure out why we are not getting all the information in the Contact Records that I had in my account. Then, after some digging, we discovered that Microsoft does not make available information about the Contacts that Google makes available readily. The most important missing information was that of the Company that my contact (s) worked for.
This was a disaster.
For one, if we found a Contact Record in Microsoft which is already available in CRM, we will not be able to ever sync the information the way we sync with Google- Microsoft will never show the company name and we would show that we do and there will be a mismatch.
Why has Microsoft done this? We sniffed around online and the latest discussion we found on this was pretty old. It was interesting nevertheless, so we are reproducing a snapshot here. Those who want to read the entire thread, can click on the picture and follow the link.
Basically, Microsoft says that it is okay to share email addresses and/ or mobile numbers of a user’s contacts but not okay to share the place of work. Does that even make sense? And by the way, this is information that the user owned and decided to keep in Microsoft for later use only to find that he can’t.
LinkedIn- without a way to contact
If this was not bad enough, we tried linking with LinkedIn and we found that they share everything but the email address of your contact records. Great!
Why would you want to store your Contacts in your CRM without the ability to contact them? Again, it does not make sense.
I am almost scared to try out Yahoo! now. I have a feeling it will not be a great experience.
Why is there such a disconnect?
To be honest, I am not even sure. I would love to get an answer. In the case of Microsoft, it seems like a not clearly thought out policy. In either case, I find there are simply no good reasons for this.