[kwlug-disc] General Thunderbird development ?

Insurance Squared Inc. gcooke at insurancesquared.com
Fri Dec 19 14:33:59 EST 2008

I don't think so.  I just want to track emails to clients as part of the 
database.  I'm in the financial services sector so I need to dot my i's 
and cross my T's, and having emails attached to client records is 
definitely a nice thing from compliance - it also lets me keep a record 
of what's going on so when the call me next year I've got an easy way to 
get up to speed on what they're talking about.  In fact one of the 
reasons I'm striking out on my own instead of 'fixing' our current 
opensource CRM product is that they've got acres of code that I'll never 
use; it's just easier for me to build from scratch than it is to crank 
open some one else's monstrousity :).

unsolicited wrote:
> Is this another case of (a) wonderful functionality out there; (b) if 
> you don't do it the 'one true way', or customize it, you end up with 
> perpetual aggravation and irritation; (c) you must adapt to it, it 
> will not adapt to you; (d) no, it / the flow / the interface / doesn't 
> make sense, unless you sink yourself into the programmer's mindset, 
> then back your way out to how the user has to do it?; (e) there's far 
> richer functionality in there than you want or need, and you must 
> degrade the user experience just because it's there.
> Time and time again I see this.
> E-mail, contact management, MICROSOFT OFFICE / Open Office, Firefox, 
> Palm, support tickets, probably CRM and groupware too.
> Paul Nijjar wrote, On 12/19/2008 12:48 PM:
>> --- On Fri, 12/19/08, Insurance Squared Inc. <gcooke at insurancesquared.com> wrote:
>>> What I'm trying to get is the simplest and least expensive way to
>>> get the integration done.  I don't want to reinvent stuff that's in
>>> thunderbird and I want to stay as far away from the complexities of
>>> mail as I can.
>> I think one issue with having a Thunderbird button is that your users
>> have to remember to press the button for the database to see what is
>> going on. For that reason you want to make sure you have to press the
>> button as few times as possible for a client. 
>> I respect your desire to keep as far away from the
>> complexities of mail as possible, but in the long term you may have to
>> twiddle with it a bit. 
>> I am thinking along the lines of John's original solution of tagging
>> the e-mails as they go out and having the mail server silently send
>> them to the CRM server. Maybe Thunderbird's button could simply be
>> "Mark as Customer". That would then trigger Thunderbird to do the
>> following for all e-mails sent to/from the customer:
>>   - Silently BCC the CRM system on outgoing e-mail
>>   - Silently bounce a copy of incoming messages to the CRM system when
>>     they come from the customer 
>> This way the CRM system is never polling the mail server explicitly,
>> and it has the data so that you can explore customer interaction
>> histories (via the web interface, I am guessing). 
>> Perhaps a more robust option would be to get the mail server to do the
>> mail interception. When you press the "Mark as Customer" button on
>> Thunderbird, Thunderbird sends a "register this user" signal to the
>> mail server, which maintains a list of e-mail address interactions to
>> intercept and silently forward to the CRM system. The advantage to
>> this is that this approach is robust over many different mail clients,
>> but the disadvantage is that you could be getting your hands dirtier
>> with e-mail server configuration complexity. 
>> That's all idle speculation, of course, but it is not that different
>> from how other systems (I am thinking of RT or even Mailman) deal with
>> e-mail input.
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Glenn Cooke
Insurance Squared Inc.

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