In How Service Automation Got Us Out of Email Jail
in Wired’s InnovationInsights blog, Thomas Clarke, Director, Quote-to-Invoice PMO & Performance Measurement at NetApp reaches out to ServiceNow and their services partner, Cloud Sherpas, to try to get a handle on what emails actually are about. Turns out email in and of itself isn’t very good for expressing complains or placing orders or much else. But is “a service automation solution based on a system of conditional logic to automatically analyze incoming emails, extracting key information based on the sender, subject and email text then using this information to populate standard request templates, which were then automatically sent to the right team member using the solution’s built-in workflow engine” really getting at the client services problem or is it just making the best of a horrible situation with a flurry of buzzwords? Like King Canute, the waves of email cannot ultimately be tamed even by “service automation.”

How Facebook Controls the Future of Messaging: “The tech giant is building a huge moat around social interactions with Messenger and WhatsApp” writes Dan Frommer in The Atlantic. It’s in the maths. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has 700 million monthly active users and Facebook’s Messenger has 600 million monthly active users. And it’s in the design. Messenger plans to be a platform play not just an app. Messenger will bring together a number of communications streams for the individual (as Slack does for the workgroup). In it’s platform capacity, Messenger will not only let you send branded GIFs (from say ESPN) but also claim a place (just announced) in the world of electronic wallets and payments. What’s up with WhatsApp then? For the moment, the company and product remain at “arm-length” from Facebook management focusing on being a simple and free/cheap alternative to SMS says Frommer. Possibly a client for Messenger’s platform.

At Medium, Steven Levy’s article, Facebook Messenger Wants to Rule Your Conversations: “Last year Facebook made us install its messaging app. Now it’s recruiting developers to make sure we use it for just about everything,” tells us how Facebook is adding complexities and services to Messenger. In my mind, Facebook has never really gotten mobile. The main Facebook app is nearly unusable on a phone largely because it tries to duplicate the workstation/laptop experience inappropriately on mobile. But Facebook does have a clue about what doesn’t work on mobile:

Facebook has always believed that the asynchronous nature of email was unsuited to the instant, always-on rhythms of the “social graph” that binds us to our connections, and has long tried to offer an escape hatch from the tyranny of the inbox. While Messenger isn’t explicitly trying to kill email, it is trying to wean you off email for many kinds of communication.

Strong words there and accurate as far as WhatsApp goes. Whether that will workout for a bloated Messenger platform or not is yet to be seen.