Seems like we’ve heard about the promise of the paperless office for about 10 years now, but in some circles of business, we’re not much closer to the reality of this than we were back then.
I think a couple things have slowed the crawl to this 1) people just don’t do a good enough job using the vast array of file saving, file sharing, and digital collaboration tools out there with ready access on mobile and portable devices. If you think about it, we don’t need much paper. 2) there’s still a desire for something tangible that only a physical document or magazine can bring. You can’t touch or smell digital documents so that makes them less real. I think this human need will make the creation of physical products, marketing kits and magazines a necessary part of the marketing world for some time.
Now, the businesscardless office on the other hand is, in fact, growing nearer and nearer. The roladex you need is on your phone, a device that allows you to call, email, or text your contacts with the push of a button. Services like Plaxo, GMail, Salesforce.com, ACT and Outlook have all made desktop and online address books very robust and fairly easy to update. (Need to add your twitter ID to your digital business, poof, it’s added)
But, I’ve always felt like the missing ingredient was the ability to take a business card, awkwardly exchanged at a networking function, (for those that still possess them) and presto, zippo, bang, it’s on your phone or CRM. Cardscan has performed this function for years, but it feels a little like a fax machine these days. I come back from most conferences with a stack of dreaded business cards waiting to be keystroked.
I think that’s about to change with the release of a new service dubbed, um, DubMeNow. DubMeNow offers users the ability to text or email their contact info directly into your mobile device. Of course, you have to accept the message for it to actually move into your phone database. Depending upon your particular set-up this info syncs with your desktop CRM or contact management software when you perform the next sync.
And here’s the ultra cool thing – anytime someone that’s given you their contact info via dub makes a change, it’s automatically updated on your phone.
You can also create DUBIDs for products and services and allow anyone to request to have more information sent to their phone just by sending a text to the DUBID you create.
There are any number of ways to use this tool, and like other innovative technologies, its usefulness will grow with adoption, but DUB already syncs contacts and updates with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Siebel On-Demand and SugarCRM and says it has Facebook and LinkedIn integration in the works.
My DUBID is ducttape if you want to send me an invite.
One final thought – I still want your business card, I love the snap of it, the smell of it, the feel of it, but I no longer care about the factual details, I’ll get those digitally. Your business card is now free to become a visual expression of what you stand for. Make it a piece of art I might want to hang on to, let it give me a glimpse into what you care about, what your brand promises – let it be your first remarkable impression.