The effort to bring Facebook into the enterprise continues with more services using Outlook as a gateway to extend a contact network and use as a foundations for a CRM environment.
SenderOK is one of the latest effiorts to give more context to email by showing a picture of the sender in an email message. Too bad it only works on Windows XP or Vista. Ugh.
But let's take a look at the service as we are seeing more services that use email as a foundation for a social CRM environment.
SenderOK compares itself to Microsoft's Outlook Soclal Connector and Xobni, an email plug-in that provides a search and profile element for Outlook. But we hear a lot of criticism that Xobni is a memory hog and slows down computers.
As one reader said about Xobni in our last post concerning Outlook plug-ins:
"Interesting article, although I have my doubts about Xobni which I used for several months but had to uninstall as it had gotten to the point where it was nearly impossible to use (too slow). Harmony sounds promising; sharing documents in place of merely sending them as attachments (hence overloading the network) is becoming critical if one wants to keep only one copy and not scatter several around."
To be fair, Xobni is the leader in this space compared to other services. They have a loyal following. It makes sense that companies like SenderOK would go after this sector of the market.
SenderOK features include a smart mapping capability to give a view of the person's unread email across multiple accounts. It will also prioritize the email.
Our interest stems from the SenderOK "business card" feature. Email includes an image of the person and their profile information in the header of the message. In Outlook Social Connector, the image of the sender blocks out the message. In Xobni, the image and contact information appears in a widget.
We expect these services to proliferate as more startups turn their attention to Outlook as a way to build a user base. Xobni has proven that this approach works.
Further, Google Apps now integrates with third party applications. Services such as Zoho CRM and Intuit are leveraging GMail integration to offer hybrid applications.
Perhaps 2010 will be the year email is viewed more as a foundation than a nuisance to be eliminated.