OK, this may be crazy or just out of scope for Fibery, but… I’m thinking about the potential future here, building on its strengths and directions so far, working with strong integrations and flexible data model that provides the “mirroring” approach to integrations. And I wonder if there is a big opportunity here (probably along with big challenges though ).
What would it take for Fibery to become a true CRM and/or support tool? You need to be able to have conversations with people outside your organization, conversations that are separate from “comments”. What if we had an Extension for “Conversations”, that worked very similarly to the existing “Comments”, except it could connect to one (or more!?) external communications systems (email being most obvious, but also through the Intercom integration, and maybe more). OK, so that is no doubt multiple big feature requests: new “conversations” extension, bi-directional sync/update, email integration, and more. Let’s just focus on the “conversations” extension idea for now, because I think it’s very useful on its own.
I use the Discourse integration, and it’s great to have, but I find some frustration with it in how it mirrors/represents the data, specifically for the actual topic content. Since Fibery has no concept of a “conversation”, or a “field” that will have multiple rich text “items/entries” that are related/sequential, it becomes difficult to effectively represent things like a forum discussion. The way it works currently, Fibery just updates a giant Rich Text field with all topic discussion/replies, concatenated together. I imagine the Intercom integration works similarly.
This is messy, for one thing, and perhaps more importantly it loses some valuable info such as date of a specific post, as well as convenience like being able to click on the author of a post to see more info or update something. There is a relation that shows a list of participating users, but no links in the actual topic text in the rich text area. It’s just a poor representation of a forum thread (or other conversation). Perhaps more importantly, long-term, it is not possible to act specifically on one message (e.g. to reply). Basically it seems like co-opting of a general purpose field (rich text) to make the integration work, which is cool because it didn’t require any new features/dev, but is hopefully considered to be a short-term/stopgap approach.
I mean, woulldn’t a “Conversation” extension handle all this much better? It would essentially work similar to (and perhaps even be able to “piggyback” off of the development of) the existing Comments extension. Except it would represent conversations or other sequentially updated data from external systems, within a single field. You’d then be able to have the conversation updates mirrored 1:1, including the User, the Date, and more, all linked properly, plus overall much better and more readable formatting. I mean just take a look at the comparison between native Discourse view and Fibery view of a forum thread:
Looking further forward, along with my bi-directional sync request, ideally you could then reply to a conversation within Fibery, just like you can with a Comment already. It would then be pushed into whatever system the conversation is integrated with (e.g. Intercom, Discord) and be posted to that system as a normal, native “message”. This latter part may be a tall order, I realize, but could really be powerful and would truly turn Fibery into a full-blown CRM and support system. Or at least a key component of one. It would allow product teams to centralize and integrate so much, and keep more people within Fibery.
I’m particularly interested in feedback on the core idea, separate from the additional ones or “stretch goals” like email integration and sending, etc. Would anyone else find such an Extension (or new field type?) useful in how they interact with integrated data? Or see any other use for such a thing?