Blu Banyan

What is bluChat?

bluChat is a powerful, chat and team collaboration application designed specifically for NetSuite-based companies.  As the only NATIVE NetSuite collaboration tool, bluChat uniquely supports “on record”, channel, group and direct message (DM) communications between authorized staff, partners, vendors and customers.  With bluChat, users can quickly and easily come together to work on any project, make comments, share files, assign tasks, and resolve issues without ever leaving NetSuite, or having to use an external chat application. Because bluChat is available on all writable records, including custom and SuiteApp records, it can immediately improve company productivity across all departments.

What are bluChat's key features?

In bluChat most work happens directly “on record”, through collaboration on the NetSuite record that requires attention, as well as “off-record” through Channels, Groups, and Direct Messages (DMs).  Users can send formatted messages, share any NetSuite supported file type, and create, schedule, and assign a task, all from within bluChat. A history of all chat streams is always available for review and auditing. For more general ongoing discussions that are not tied to a specific record, users can easily create a public Channel or private Group workspace, or simply send a DM to a specific user.

Differences between on-record vs channel/DM chat

Most collaboration in bluChat occurs between users chatting on a specific NetSuite record about issues and activities related to that record, such as responding to a customer complaint, following up the status of an invoice or product delivery, account reconciliations, etc. There is no limit to the number of authorized users that can participate in a given chat, and it is easy to tag users that there is a new message for them.

In addition to on-record chats, there are 3 kinds of off-record chat.

  • Channels. These are typically “public” or organization-wide channels about general topics (e.g. Accounting, Marketing, Customer Support) that any user can create or search for and join.
  • Groups. These are private workspaces, typically for smaller groups of people or teams that are in regular communication with each other about broader issues than a specific record. Participation is only by invitation of the channel creator or an Administrator.
  • Direct Messages. DMs are used for 1-1 discussions on any topic, and any user can search the company staff list and invite another user to a direct discussion.

Who can participate in a chat?

The ability to chat on any given record is determined by whether the user already has authorization to access that specific record, including users external to the company, such as partners, vendors and customers. Team collaboration and messaging in bluChat happens both on-record, where the full NetSuite context is available, and also off-record, in Channels, Groups and DMs. These off-record message formats are best suited for more general concerns, such as product launches, marketing promotions, coordinating a staff retreat, or simply making lunch plans.  For the fastest issue resolution of a given problem, on-record chat is generally the preferred path, since the full record context is available, and all authorized stakeholders can directly engage with the issue.

How does bluChat work?

By default, bluChat appears as a menu bar in the lower right-hand corner of every writable record.  Clicking on the menu bar brings up a resizable chat window for that record, and a toolbar for formatting, file attachment, bullet points, emojis and task creation. Users can enter text, drag and drop files, and tag another user from a pop-up list of authorized staff or stakeholders to alert them to a message. Users can assign tasks to themselves to generate dashboard punch lists to help drive projects to completion. In addition, users can communicate “off record” by creating or joining a public Channel to discuss topics that are not related to a specific record, use a Group Channel for private chats, or send a one-to-one Direct Message to another user.

Best practices for creating and naming channels

Since any authorized user can create and participate in a company-wide public Channel, it is important that companies establish naming conventions to facilitate user searches and to ensure appropriateness.  It is also useful to standardize Channel prefixes to help users easily find the right Channel.  While most teamwork and communication in bluChat happens on specific NetSuite records, most teams also make use of Channels, and especially Groups, where teams can discuss work and share messages and files. By creating bluChat channels aligned with your company structure and using clear, predictable naming guidelines, you can ensure your workspaces are organized, on topic, and easy to navigate. This will help people ask questions in the right place, find information quickly, and work efficiently.

  • For organizations just starting to use bluChat, begin with broad public Channel topics (e.g. Company Policies, Accounting, Marketing, Customer Support) that anyone can search for and join, and get more specific as the need arises (e.g Marketing Assets, Project Deliverables, etc)
  • For direct staff discussions that are not record or general topic related, or are about sensitive or confidential topics, teams and users can establish private Group workspaces that can only be joined by invitation.  Encourage the initial use of Channels to help users learn to navigate bluChat and its features, and to find the discussions and group members they are searching for.

Minimum requirements for deploying bluChat

There are no minimum hardware requirements to use bluChat, beyond those for the company’s deployment of NetSuite itself.  Browser-based use of bluChat on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets follows the interface and features of NetSuite on mobile devices.