What is Cerb?
Cerb is an automatable collaborative inbox for your team. It has continuously evolved for more than 16 years based on feedback from thousands of teams.
Back when we first started working on Cerb in 2002, it was common for team communication to take place between personal email accounts. The conversation history of a team became fragmented in all of these individual inboxes. If a team member was unavailable, their part of the team’s knowledge was also unavailable.
Teams attempted to solve this problem by using mailing lists. New messages were sent directly to the mailing list. Every team member received a copy of every message that was sent or received. This was better than personal inboxes; but now everyone on the team had to read every message, and multiple people could draft long replies to the same message without being aware of each other’s duplicate efforts. Now the team had a shared history, but they had introduced more work and clutter.
Starting in early 2002, Cerb’s first mission was to bring team email to the web so everyone could collaborate with a shared history from anywhere on any device. New messages were delivered to shared inboxes and routed to the best group or worker. Only the appropriate people were notified. Everyone knew what everyone else was working on. When someone became unavailable, any other team member could pick up right where they left off. Teams functioned more efficiently – there was less junk email, less duplication of effort, and customers received faster replies. This was a big improvement.
Fast forward to today, and this web-based method of working is the new normal. Many traditional business processes have moved online. And in a way, we’re right back where we started. Only now, instead of fragmenting email in personal inboxes, we’re fragmenting business data in too many web services. Support, sales, marketing, billing, development, operations – all with their data in different services; each having just one piece of the overall picture.
Integrating these applications is an entire industry. It involves consultants who have to review your particular use case and build a personalized solution. To most people it’s an arcane process, and one that all too frequently costs more than promised, and takes longer to deliver than expected.
Cerb’s new mission is to embrace automation and give teams the tools to build new features with nothing more than a web browser.
When you first start using Cerb it’s a blank slate. At its core, Cerb is a digital record keeper. It collects your team’s data and distributes work to the right people – things like email, calls, projects, and tasks.
You can create new kinds of records, and add extra fields to any record, to keep track of every important detail. Records can be annotated with comments for sharing notes. When records are related, you can link them together for future reference.
Team members can create their own shared workspaces and dashboards to collaborate as needed, focusing on what’s important for the task at hand.
Common workflows can be automated with Cerb by building virtual team members called “bots”. Bots can respond to email, create and modify records, start chats to gather information, exchange data with third-party services, send reminders, notify people, monitor metrics, and do practically anything else that a human team member can.
Cerb can also be quickly customized to meet your needs through the use of “packages” – shared blueprints for importing a set of pre-built records and bot behaviors.