Page 1 | Summer.21




By Mia Papanicolaou

TABLE OF CONTENTS volume 28 issue 2 | Summer.21 |


Two Revolutions in Intelligent Process Automation These new capabilities will have a dramatic impact on your processes


By Richard Medina


Modernization of Document Capture Technology

Change is definitely on the horizon

By Dan Lucarini



Context Is Key to Understanding Otherwise, data without context is useless

By Bob Larrivee


Why Content Needs to Be King (Again)

The top 5 reasons to make it a priority By Mia Papanicolaou


Clean and Simple A philosophy to guide our future customer experiences By Steve Biancaniello


Maximizing Workflows 4 ways to increase productivity and reduce errors with workflow automation


By Stéphan Donzé


Moving Print Infrastructure to the Cloud COVID-19 made it essential for businesses of all sizes

By James Wieser



What the Analysts Say The 2021 Aspire CCM Leaderboard


Letter from the Advisory Board Contributors

08 30

What’s New Think About It


Accessibility and Forms: The Missing Piece of Compliance




Accessibility and Forms: The Missing Piece of Compliance For many organizations, forms are their primary user-facing, web-based content. When we think of web-based content, most people think of the web pages and the content these provide. But documents and forms that are downloaded by customers and users are also considered web-based content.

Perceivable: are the labels and fields on the form easy to see and locate? Is there good contrast between the fillable areas and the background? Is there a clear connection between the label and the field so that it is obvious where data should be entered?

Downloaded forms present several problems for organizations. These problems are often not well understood and certainly not addressed effectively by most organizations. The first problem is the abrupt transition from easy to use, browser and mobile friendly web content to a paper form that the user must print, fill out manually, sign, scan and then email back to you. This is a bad user experience and is not what your users and customers expect from your organization.

Operable: can the user easily move between fields and select elements such as drop-down lists or check boxes? Can the user use the keyboard to navigate the form? Does the tab order make sense?

The second problem is that most of the forms that the users need to download are not accessible even if they can be filled out online. Because you are hosting these forms on your website, they are considered online content. But a form that must be printed does not help users with disabilities complete the form, sign the form, or submit the form.

Robust: does your accessibility process extend to all future forms? Are you using modular content so that changes are implemented automatically and immediately? Do all form owners and designers understand the principles of accessibility? Are you moving to all online forms, with no printed forms in the future?

While many organizations have made their customer-facing websites accessible, they have completely missed or completely failed on making customer and user facing forms accessible to persons with disabilities. Examples of these failures are many:  Images of forms as PDF documents are generally unusable with accessibility tools, and are a bad experience  Forcing users to download and physically fill out forms makes it difficult for disabled users and is a bad experience for any user  Fillable PDF forms are good, but many organizations force the user to download the filled version and print the form, then scan it and send it via email. This forces all users, disabled or not, through unwanted steps and results in a much higher rate of errors  Providing PDF forms that are fillable and submittable online is better, but effective help and field information is required to guide the user through the form completion process

Understandable: can the user understand what is required of them in each field? Is the purpose for each section clear? Is the form purpose clear? Is content only displayed when it is needed?

While accessibility for forms is a requirement for compliance, this is an opportunity to improve your user experience for all users. Moving from paper-based forms to accessible online forms will speed up your processes. Better form design processes will reduce your operational and maintenance costs. And you will gain the flexibility to add new features, such as digital signatures, user personalization and automatic data integrations, which will give all users the experience they want. Eric is Vice President of Marketing at 4Point. He is a technology industry veteran who has helped organizations address challenges in security, process automation, business process reengineering, forms automation, document management and software development. He is an expert in electronic forms, forms automation and enterprise content management with a background at JetForm, Documentum and 4Point.

The primary standards that are used to make online content accessible are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). WCAG defines four key principles that should be used to plan out the changes required to make your web content accessible. Consider each of these and your forms. Do you make it easy for all users, including those with disabilities, to understand, complete and submit the forms?


Opportunities Abound How are you doing? Last year had its ups and downs, and 2021 is uncovering a new set of challenges as decisions about working from home or in an office are tempered by projects to repurpose office and plant space. Nothing is as it was, but opportunities abound. That is what you will find in our pages this month. If you haven’t reviewed your strategy over the past 12-15 months, this is a great time to do a deep dive into your business. Mia Papanicolaou provides worthy guidance on why content is king and why it should be a priority, but remember that content must be managed to derive the greatest value to the organization. The team at Aspire brings us the 2021 Aspire Leaderboard to introduce you to the movers and shakers in Customer Communication Management. Every business, regardless of size, should be creating a business strategy that encompasses all customer touchpoints and creates a vision of how those interactions help the company grow. The Leaderboard can help you identify the most innovative partners. Don’t forget that all the data you gather in your CCM and other production systems is only valuable if you use it. Advisory Board member Bob Larrivee walks us through applying context to data so you can make better decisions. He tells us that data without context is useless. Take that to heart as you also review what data you capture and why.



Once your strategy is set, look at the tools you use. There has been innovation while we have been in lockdown, and now is the time to re-evaluate your people, processes and technologies. Richard Medina has a great review of how Intelligent Process Automation could be the key to optimizing your business and the workflows that live in each department. Stéphan Donzé brings us more great advice on maximizing those workflows to increase your productivity and reduce errors, which saves resources and also reduces your costs. While you are considering your workflow options, read Dan Lucarini’s review of Document Capture Technology. This is an area where we still see manual processes and lost opportunities to tag and capture metadata. As work grows and turnaround times are reduced, optimizing Document Capture can make a huge difference. Rounding out this issue is a philosophical turn from Steve Biancaniello. He turns his attention to customer experiences and how we should be thinking about them. As new generations come into the markets we serve, it pays to think about their preferences and offer more options. Use this article to guide your thinking!

Until next time.


president Chad Griepentrog publisher Ken Waddell managing editor Erin Eagan [ ] contributing editor Amanda Armendariz contributors Steve Biancaniello Stéphan Donzé Bob Larrivee Dan Lucarini Richard Medina Mia Papanicolaou James Wieser advertising Ken Waddell [ ] 608.235.2212 audience development manager Rachel Chapman [ ] creative director Kelli Cooke

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DOCUMENT Strategy Media (ISSN 1081-4078) is published on a daily basis via its online portal and produces special print editions by Madmen3, PO BOX 259098, Madison, WI 53725-9098. All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2020 by Madmen3 All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to DOCUMENT Strategy Media, Madmen3, or its staff becomes the property of Madmen3. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of Madmen3 or DOCUMENT Strategy Media. Madmen3 and/or DOCUMENT Strategy Media expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. SUBSCRIPTIONS: DOCUMENT Strategy Media is the essential publication for executives, directors, and managers involved in the core areas of Communications, Enterprise Content Management, and Information Management strategies. Free to qualified recipients; subscribe at REPRINTS: For high-quality reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider, ReprintPros, 949-702-5390,

CONTRIBUTORS Mia Papanicolaou General Manager, North and South America, Aspire CC Mia works with companies to provide strategy and advice and is a regular speaker on digital customer communication, digital maturity and improving the customer experience. Mia has been named as an email marketing influencer multiple times and is passionate about helping organizations improve their digital communication maturity. Prior to joining Aspire CCS, she worked at Striata for 15 years.

Richard Medina Stéphan Donzé Founder and CEO, AODocs Prior to founding AODocs, Stéphan was VP of Engineering at Exalead, a leading enterprise search company. After Exalead was acquired by Dassault Systèmes in 2010, he relocated to California from Paris as VP of Product Strategy. Stéphan has a master’s degree in software engineering from Ecole Polytechnique in France (X96). With over 18 years of experience in enterprise software, he is passionate about user experience across an organization.

Co-Founder and Principal Consultant, Doculabs Richard Medina ( is a Principal Consultant and co-founder of Doculabs (, a consulting firm focused on helping clients get maximum value from process automation and content management tools. summer.2021


What’s New Catch up on all the news, opinions, and featured articles that caught our eye on

How the C-Suite Views CCM When SaaS Delivers CX

It’s interesting times for customer communications professionals. We are watching two major trends collide as marketing professionals begin to look at customer communication management (CCM) from a customer experience (CX) perspective while operational experts seek to shift applications to SaaS-based platforms to reduce costs. article-3115-How-the-C-Suite-ViewsCCM-When-SaaS-Delivers-CX.html

How COVID Exposed Print & Automation Deficiencies and What to Do About It

In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic erupted. Suddenly, we were faced with a new reality when it came to how we work. Reduced staffs were allowed in production print facilities or offices, but print operators had to socially distance from each other. Manual processes were considered risky because of reduced staff, albeit with the same volumes and SLAs. We have heard horror stories about organizations trying to execute their disaster recovery (DR) plans. Much of this was preventable if the automation principles introduced approximately 20 years ago were in place. article-3125-How-the-COVID-19Pandemic-Exposed-Serious-PrintAutomation-Deficiencies-and-Whatto-Do-About-It.html



Preparing for Post-Pandemic Recovery

While organizations across many industries had been working on creating a more digitalized environment over the past several years, the pandemic gave a sudden and uncomfortable extra push to take another look at the timeline on those efforts. It was a wake-up call for the need for agility in how we communicate and do business with customers, as well as for what it means to be truly prepared for the unexpected. https://documentmedia. com/article-3108-Preparingfor-Post-PandemicRecovery.html

Kick Your Digital Servicing Communications Up a Notch

As organizations have made the shift to digital communications, the practice of leveraging servicing communications for delivering personalized messages into statements, bills and other transactional documents largely has been left behind as a relic of the print world. https://documentmedia. com/article-3109-Kick-YourDigital-ServicingCommunications-Up-aNotch.html

Accessibility and Forms: The Missing Piece of Compliance

While many organizations have made their customer-facing websites accessible, they have completely missed or completely failed on making the customer and user-facing forms accessible to persons with disabilities.


Practicing good security hygiene for internal systems is only half the battle. To prevent cybersecurity attacks from derailing your business, you must carefully vet your security programs and those of your vendors as well.

Where Is Your Content Hiding?

Imagine you are being audited or are under a discovery order to present all materials pertaining to a lawsuit. The question I would now ask is, did you search the hard drives located in your copy machines and potentially, some of your printers?

We will announce the 2021-2022 HOT CX SOLUTION COMPANIES in August!

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These new capabilities will have a dramatic impact on your processes By Richard Medina




et’s start by talking about the unicorn. The unicorn is the combination of AI, IC, task automation with RPA and workflow to create intelligent process automation (IPA) that’s really worthy of the name. One of our clients, a senior IT architect who’s working with these technologies, declared a few years ago in conversation that combining these technologies would be capturing the unicorn. Until recently, intelligent process automation was a joke: most of the tools weren’t very intelligent, they addressed tasks, not processes, and they automated little because they had limited application and required human assistance. That’s changed and today intelligent process automation is truly possible: RPA automates tasks; intelligent capture digitizes content to feed RPA; AI makes both RPA and intelligent capture smarter; and next-gen process automation orchestrates and manages all the pieces in the process. Intelligent Capture Understands Document Data Intelligent capture (IC) software is used to capture the information on documents, categorize those documents and pages and extract relevant data for further processing using AI with technologies such as OCR, NLP, computer vision and machine/deep learning. The primary capabilities for IC are:  Classification is automatically identifying what pages, what documents and what document packages the system is getting.  Extraction is recognizing the data that’s on the pages, and I’ll include possibly enriching it (e.g., by judging sentiment or how angry the customer is given the letter they just wrote you).

 Validation and QA is checking for completeness and correctness of the information and document sets.  Finally, conversion and export is transforming the data into whatever standard format the downstream systems and people need – e.g., converting customer name into ALL CAPS with NO SPACES or PUNCTUATION.

everything (e.g., drawing bigger zones in the template), to where the system can brilliantly improve its recognition accuracy by itself. Robotic Process Automation Tools Automate Tasks A natural place to start digital transformation using intelligent automation is with RPA. RPA tools automate steps of a process by mimicking the manual steps a human worker would take when using existing application software. It’s been highly successful in back-office clerk activities in financial services and insurance, call center and typical swivel chair activities. Examples include document and data download, transaction processing; data entry in high-volume, repeatable, and computer-centric processes; double and concurrent data entry into old and new systems during migrations. RPA is quickly maturing, and best used for repetitive and rule-based tasks. It’s a significantly more sophisticated evolution from macros and scripts. It’s often deployed tactically — as standalone duct tape repair — or more strategically with BPM or case management tools that manage entire processes. So now it should be clear where RPAs are a traditional good and bad fit — and where they are helped by AI and IC. They historically work well with processes that are rule-based, simple or moderately complex, stable, mature and documented. If AI makes them smarter they can do better with less structure and more complexity. They also historically required that the processes be digital with structured

A natural place to start digital transformation using intelligent automation is with RPA. The results are much better than what you got from the older 1990s OCR tools. First, the new tools are better in how they recognize the text — in how they classify docs, paginate pages and extract documents. In a sense, they have changed from how young children read to how adults read. Young children focus on letters, then words, in a slow process. Adults use more context, including existing knowledge, the overall document and page layout and look, what the document’s probably about, etc. The new tools may use computer vision, pattern analysis and other methods to take advantage of more context. Second, the new tools are better in how they improve that recognition — in how they continuously improve the accuracy of their opinion in light of evidence. The learning capabilities range from moderately intelligent to brilliant. They range from the case where a human “supervisor” must do summer.2021


data — and many processes otherwise suitable for automation do not have neatly structured data inputs, making them inaccessible to RPA solutions. But if you attach IC to the front end you now can address the processes that include paper and dumb images. Digital Automation Platforms Manage All the Pieces That leaves workflow or process management — where does that fit in? Well, next-gen workflow emerged from past and current generation process management approaches, including simple work routing, document-centric workflow, business process management and case management. These platforms aspire to include most of the capabilities of the preceding types and are “low code” – they are lightweight and can be configured by “citizen developers.” Digital automation platforms’ most important contribution to the unicorn is in orchestrating, coordinating and managing the various IC and RPA pieces you have — so you have a much more efficient, stable automated process. The Unicorn’s Been Captured This combined-tool approach was envisioned five or so years ago. The job now is to make it actually work in production environments. What’s happening now is primarily the execution and maturation of the solutions. There are a few emerging capabilities that will again revolutionize intelligent process automation – and they’ll be described in a moment. But first let’s look at the incremental improvements:  More of the IC solutions are correcting an early oversite and are driving document scanners and other capture devices. This means that you don’t have to create even more of a Frankenstein monster with multiple vendors.  Both vendors and organizations are applying IPA to collaboration scenarios in addition to more structured transactional processes.



 The vendors are applying and orchestrating multiple understanding engines in intelligent capture, to address a broader and more difficult range of document types and recognition problems. Earlier solutions often used only one or a few engines.  More of the solutions are applying pre- and post-processing to improve the usefulness of the output.  Some of the solutions participate in online marketplaces and other communities to share specialized apps and reusable training databases for the specialized document types and scenarios in specific vertical industries. But There Are Two Revolutionary Advances Into this maturing set of IPA capabilities behaving decently under the management of a process automation platform, we see two revolutionary advances.  Extending Intelligent Capture to include rich media and human interactions  Extending Process Mining to include processes, tasks, documents and rich media Both are dramatic because so much of our processes interaction-based and may require understanding and acting on rich media. Extending Intelligent Capture to Rich Media AI-based interaction understanding and automation is the application of intelligent capture, not to documents but to rich media — video, audio and images. It applies AI-based classification, extraction, validation, enrichment and transformation to video, audio and images — which means any collaboration or interaction scenario. It will have dramatic impact on all interaction and collaboration scenarios, which include:  Financial services, utilities and many other verticals have an ingestion process that includes mail, email and fax — but also phone, walk-up and more personal meetings, some with collaboration.

 Insurance claims processing includes several interviews.  Banking interactions range from simple transactions to more complex regulated ones like changing account owners or their information.  Across the board in call center.  Collaborative or advisory meetings between agents and investors, in contract negotiations, or in internal meetings.  Sire-type scenarios involving automated collaboration partners. In all of these scenarios the rich media can be combined with information from all the other channels (documents, data) in the workflow, combined with RPAs to execute tasks, and stored for business and compliance purposes. Extending Process Mining to Rich Media The second innovation involves combining process mining and rich media. Let’s first explain process mining. Process mining software is designed to analyze event logs and other data from processes in order to identify process improvement and automation opportunities. For content-centric processes in particular, the new process mining tools can be invaluable in helping you analyze, optimize, migrate and monitor them. Process mining is hot today. The field of solutions is rapidly growing, with both product expansion and consolidation. IBM just bought process mining vendor myInvenio. Currently the top vendor, Celonis, owns more than 60% market share. Others include Software AG, ABBYY, UiPath and many others. Process mining traditionally has worked well where most of the process is under the control of one or a few business systems or workflow systems — like a banking system, a claims system like Guidewire, an ERP system like SAP or a workflow system like Pega. But many processes include desktop work, lots of documents and of course interactions and collaboration. So to be highly effective, process mining

should include “task mining,” “document mining,” and “media mining:”  Task mining extracts the user activity data associated with desktop tasks, the swivel chair work that might be done with Office 365 tools like Excel or Word or PowerPoint or other tools. This is often a substantial fraction of the work done in e.g., advisor meetings, or in the front and middle office in financial services. Celonis, IBM/myInvenio and UIPath are some of the vendors providing task mining today.  Document mining extracts the information in documents. IC can extract all this data and get it quickly into the workflow with proper routing and automated tasks. But now you can optimize those processes just like you can optimize ERP. ABBYY and Kofax are two vendors who provide some form of document mining today.  Media mining extracts the information in communications, interactions, video, audio, images and other rich media. So much information is in these interactions and rich media — and human interactions are a major source of opaque inefficiencies. Veritone offers some media mining capabilities today. AI-Based Media Capture and Media Mining Have Two Kinds of Impacts on Your Processes To summarize, the advances in artificial intelligence (AI)based interaction automation and process mining will have two dramatic impacts on your processes:  In-process execution: They allow automating the understanding of all work and collaboration channels, particulary those involving interactions and rich media; then automating tasks that use that information. An example is recognizing customer information and what e-forms are needed for onboarding in banking and then presenting the pre-filled and validated forms for e-signature.  Process optimization: They allow organizations to mine interaction data and combine it with document, task, and process mining to improve those processes. Interested? Do a Proof of Concept In the last few years most of our clients and their peers have conducted IPA proofs of concept (POCs) as a first step, usually IC tools by themselves or combined with the other pieces as some form of unicorn. We strongly recommend that you do a POC of these tools in your environment if you are thinking about them. O

RICHARD MEDINA ( is a Principal Consultant and co-founder of Doculabs (, a consulting firm focused on helping clients get maximum value from process automation and content management tools. summer.2021


By Dan Lucarini




lenty has been written and will continue to be written about the modernization of document capture technology. After all, it’s not every day that tech giants Microsoft, Google and Amazon suddenly jump in and launch new products in seemingly mature legacy markets. But they did, and their cloud-based capture services are proving to be very popular. However, it’s a little too easy, and in my opinion, misleading to see modern OCR & NLP tools as an upgrade on the old ones. At one level, they are indeed upgrades on the old, but they are much more than that and herald the start of a capture revolution that opens up new markets, opportunities, and approaches. New and innovative applications of capture technology would have been impractical if not impossible previously. Traditional capture tools digitized paper documents, which is still and likely always will be a great and widely



Change is definitely on the horizon

used practice. However, cognitive capture is about reading and understanding text, structures, symbols, images and sounds. In a sense, it has always been possible, if a bit unwieldy, to read a lot of things digitally. However, understanding what has been read, its context, value and place and then acting on those insights has not been possible, until now. Artificial intelligence is transforming capture, but that is only the starting point of the transformation to come. That is literally what the capture, be it traditional or cognitive, is, ‘a starting point’. That could be a starting point to digitize and process invoices, or it could be for something much more wide-ranging and ambitious. Indeed, the possibilities are endless and yet to even be explored. Underpinning cognitive capture, what makes it work is AI, often a particular form of deep learning. This is a form of AI that relies on vast amounts of data, equally vast amounts of computer processing, and

by default, enormous amounts of electricity. It’s brilliant, it’s powerful, and again, by default, only a few firms (aka Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon) have anything close to resources available to afford to build effective deep learning. In practice this has meant that, though, huge steps have been made over the past few years in the world of capture. However, there has been a reluctance to embrace or explore the opportunities cognitive capture brings. That reluctance can come in the form of an inherent and long-standing wariness of entrusting enterprise data to these major firms by buyers. Or the reluctance of software vendors to become dependent on AWS or Azure (for example) services, few want to become resellers of a more prominent firm’s technology. The use of advanced AI techniques will become the norm. Still, before they do, we need to debunk some seemingly immutable truths about deep learning that stand

could rent for our projects. The former three are members of the trillion-dollar market cap club, while the latter bet the company on Watson. They can all afford the vast computing and data acquisition bills to generate their deep learning models. Who else can? The third truth is you need the most clever data scientists and programmers to create deep learning models. With the cost of a data scientist skyrocketing, this again seems like a game at which only the most extensive and wealthiest companies can hope to compete.

skills. One company refers to its users as “data shepherds,” whoever is capable of labeling and tagging unstructured data: records managers, subject matter experts of all kinds, data privacy managers, business analysts, compliance officers, legal, etc. Another company created what we’re tempted to call “Deep Learning for Dummies” with step-by-step instructions to walk a novice user through the process of building a sustainable AI model to sort the scanned mail or something equally prosaic. This is why we predict that deep learning models will disrupt the status quo of document capture and classification over the next 12-24 months, as customers discover that they can train an AI classifier with as few as five samples and deploy it in a matter of hours. Without the need for Amazon, Google, Microsoft or IBM, and without the traditional massive compute costs and data sets associated with deep learning to date. Time will tell if we are right or not, but change is definitely on the horizon. But what still intrigues us the most is the future use cases yet uncovered beyond the tried use cases like accounts payable and receivable. All we know for sure is that startups the world over are taking on investments to explore and develop solutions that use cognitive capture and deep learning that have the potential to bring real disruption, change and innovation. O

Artificial intelligence is transforming capture, but that is only the starting point of the transformation to come. in the way of its practical use for information management in the enterprise. The first truth is that deep learning works best when it can learn by experience from millions of samples. A well-known example is how a computer can learn to distinguish if that is a cat or not in the photo. On the other hand, most business processes involve unstructured or semi-structured business documents of incredible variety and diversity with nowhere near that volume of samples. In some cases, the total available sample size may only be in the tens of thousands. This leads some cognitive capture vendors to argue that deep learning will never be commercially viable for applications such as invoice processing, mortgage loan files or contract intelligence. The second truth is that deep learning can quickly run rampant with compute time costs. There is a reason why Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM were the first to market with deep learning algorithms the rest of us

This is not accurate any longer — on all three counts. We have spoken with several small software vendors who bring deep learning power into intelligent process automation and cognitive capture in the past two months. These innovative companies have shown us their pre-trained models for standard business documents such as healthcare claims forms, lending documents, invoices, contracts and general company records using neural networks that train on as few as 50,000 samples. The models are handed to end users who now have a running head start on the training process for their samples. As the models run in production, the learning is further refined, and lessons are applied to the next batch. That takes care of the hurdles of the enormous data set and colossal cost. What about the colossal skill set hurdle? The software we’ve seen in each case is user-friendly and can be operated by a business analyst with no data science training and no programming

A software product manager at heart, DAN LUCARINI is also an entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience working for ECM and Capture leaders such as OpenText, Kofax, and IBML. He has worked on VC and private equity funded startup teams, assisted on several M&A transactions, and his roles included CMO and VP Product Management. After serving two terms on the AIIM Board of Directors, Dan was elected to the Company of Fellows in 2018. summer.2021


CONTEXT IS KEY TO UNDERSTANDING Otherwise, data without context is useless

By Bob Larrivee


hrough the decades, I have been asked many times to explain the difference between data and information — in lay terms. The reason is that today, data is the reference for everything.



Let’s begin by looking at the definition of data. According to MerriamWebster, data is “factual information (such as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation.” Note here the reference to “information” and the

assumption that we know the context in which this information, or data, is collected and presented. Let’s take it a step further and look at raw data — without context. For example: 42. If I were to provide you with this number — 42 — you have no sense

of its meaning or purpose. When left for you to determine, and dependent upon your point of reference, you may think 42 is the number baseball player Jackie Robinson wore, or the answer to life, the Universe and everything as presented in Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Which Is Right? In each case you would be correct because I provided no context to the number 42 for you to reference, and therefore, you are not able to correctly understand its purpose. As a data point, this would be near impossible to use since we don’t have the context. Now, if I tell you that 42 represents a monetary value, as in 42 dollars, you now have a better understanding that it is currency. If I expand this to represent the price I paid for a shirt, you now have information, not raw data, to use in analysis and other actions that will provide value.

Simplifying this more, data without context has no meaning or purpose. Data with context becomes information that we can understand. Information pulled together for a purpose, now transforms into content. So, data with context is information and the way we provide context is through the use of metadata that describes what the raw data represents. In My View This is where I may have a few folks throw rocks, but data without context is useless. 42, 53, car, elevator and any other number or word by itself, other than representing what it is, has no purpose or value. To know something is an elevator is good as a point of reference as to the item but serves no analytical value on its own. Metadata provides the context by which elevator becomes useable information that can be analyzed, provided results and enable decision making. The better the metadata, the clearer

the context and as such, the stronger our analytical capabilities in leveraging data to enhance our business intelligence initiatives. When you strategize about how information will be captured and managed, look at the whole organization and develop a metadata strategy that will bring benefit not only for findability, but useability. 42. I leave it up to you to decide. O

Inducted into the AIIM Company of Fellows in 2019, BOB LARRIVEE is a recognized expert in the application of advanced technologies and process improvement to solve business problems and enhance business operations. In his career, Bob has led many projects and authored hundreds of eBooks, Industry Reports, Blogs, Articles, and Infographics. In addition, he has served as host and guest Subject Matter Expert on a wide variety of webinars, Podcasts, Virtual Events, and lectured at in-person seminars and conferences around the globe. summer.2021



Th e t o p 5 reasons to make it a priority

married with data. It is what differentiates communications from merely touchpoints to interactions that are meaningful. Content management and content services have risen in the ranks of importance within enterprises as companies try to find ways to engage with customers in a far more relevant way.

The function of AI in content can vary drastically by intent, be it marketing-related or transactional in nature.


s companies continue to accelerate their digital transformation capabilities and expand on their use of dynamic digital technologies, cloud-based solutions and SaaS software solutions take an ever more important role. In particular, the management of content has to take on a far more dominant focus. The value of content has never been more important — particularly when

Enterprises are looking for ways in which service providers can help them improve their communication using technology across the broad range of channels. In fact, according to a recent research study produced by Aspire “Understanding the New Digital Reality,” most enterprises are considering organizational changes that will enable them to use new technologies to manage and improve their communications. Considering content touches every interaction with customers, the value of using new tools and processes to automate, normalize and create consistent experiences is key to providing that consistent experience across channels and applications. Here are the top 5 reasons content services have to be priority:

1. Journey mapping and moving the customer through the experience — Understanding the journey touchpoints is the first step to creating a better customer experience, but without great content and content mapping outlining the tone, brand and strategy to support the customer journey, it may not provide the experience expected by customers. This means that content services and analysis should form part of the journey mapping process, which includes a content audit, a content gap analysis and plotting what content works best for each of the customer journey phases. 2. The rise of AI and ML in content — The function of AI in content can vary drastically by intent, be it marketing-related or transactional in nature. Whatever the reason, using AI tools for content optimization and rationalization is an effective way to bring relevant information to the fore, provide customers with content that makes sense to them and avoids the issue of duplication of content across various messages. Using AI to detect content patterns in existing communications for example, can help companies understand where they can consolidate or optimize their content. Furthermore, AI can be effectively used to understand whether content that exists is at a reading comprehension level for all clients to understand. The high amount of templates is cited by survey takers as the number one barrier to customer communication transformation and AI/ML is making rapid gains in this area to support template rationalization and semi-automatic migration. summer.2021


3. Increasing the share of wallet through hyper-personalization — Improving the customer experience has very quickly become the baseline. Content is the base on which to build those experiences, help make things easier for customers and help drive them to increase their spending using that hyper-personalized data.

exists across a plethora of templates, it is also about the various channels and applications that a customer uses to interact with companies. Providing a consistent experience is now the focus and that includes managing content consistently across communications sent — mail, email, mobile — but also in applications such as chatbots, video

Content is no longer just about the information that exists across a plethora of templates, it is also about the various channels and applications that a customer uses to interact with companies. One of the great use cases for AI and content is around hyper-personalization, which is the practice of utilizing AI tools to marry real-time data in conjunction with customer information to focus on customer wants or needs. This orchestration is a major area of focus for many enterprises, particularly those who are more mature in CX and see an emerging need to bring together marketing, customer service and operational/compliance communications under a single layer of control. Providing customers with content that is relevant to them based on browsing history, life stage or changes in life circumstances can help move them to purchase more and increase that share of wallet, rather than looking to other providers. 4. The diverse ways and channels in which content is used — Content is no longer just about the information that



and social media. Creating that consistent experience cannot be done manually or in isolation. Orchestrating that content requires the marriage of technologies that provides the customer with the best user experience, regardless of how and where they consume that information. In research conducted last year on “Understanding the New Digital Reality,” Aspire asked enterprises about their plans to use video in their communication channels over the next 12 to 24 months and found that at least 60% of respondents in nearly every industry plan to embrace video as part of their communication focus. Also observed was a rapid shift toward more bi-directional engagement among consumers, such as those provided by chatbots via the web or mobile messaging, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

5. Customers will move for a better experience — The pandemic certainly shifted consumer expectations from brands when it came to communications. Customers are no longer satisfied with the cadence and information provided by many companies, where they had no significant expectation in the past. Relevance and personal understanding rose to the top of the ranks in terms of communication needs. According to the same research project on “Understanding the New Digital Reality,”millennials and Gen Z are 3x-4x more willing than older generations to move to other brands or even pay more for a service to get relevant and personalized communications. They also value timely communications that are most consistent across channels and relevant and personalized. We used to say that content was king, but very little of it was truly personalized and meaningful to consumers. With such a variety of content service providers, artificial intelligence (AI) for content and a plethora of ways consumers are interacting with brands, now is the time to not only get the tools and processes in place, but put the strategy front and center to augment any customer experience initiatives. O

MIA PAPANICOLAOU is General Manager, North and South America at Aspire CC. She works with companies to provide strategy and advice and is a regular speaker on digital customer communication, digital maturity and improving the customer experience. Mia has been named as an email marketing influencer multiple times and is passionate about helping organizations improve their digital communication maturity. Prior to joining Aspire CCS, she worked at Striata for 15 years in South Africa, the UK and then settled in the US as the COO of the company, after which she headed up consulting at Doxim Striata.

CLEAN AND SIMPLE A philosophy to guide our future customer experiences BY STEVE BIANCANIELLO


o suggest that this pandemic has imposed a number of changes upon us over the last year would be an understatement, often making the simple things we do every day so much more complex. As an example, an activity as routine as shopping became difficult: Suddenly we weren’t able to pop into a store to pick something up or try something on; we had to order it online and wait for it to be delivered to our home or for



someone to deliver it to our car as we idled curbside with our trunks open. For businesses, there was the scramble to figure out a way to make it possible for employees to work remotely in an unusually short timeframe. If nothing else, this pandemic has taught us to rethink how we accomplish basic and fundamental activities, like dining, socializing, shopping, learning and yes, even working. In so many ways, the pandemic brought to the forefront the desire for

ease and simplicity in our day-to-day lives. As my friend Jay Baer says, “No organization is getting a pandemic pass anymore.” As consumers, as customers, there is a very real fatigue stemming from the extra procedures, slower responses, unsuccessful outcomes and, overall, the hoops we have had to go through over the last year. The fact is that now more than ever, we can win over customers by making it easier to do business. The pandemic has also impressed upon us that the

pressure to perform is constant. Several studies have revealed increased switching behavior and reduction in customer loyalty since the pandemic began. Customers are quickly shutting down poor experiences and pivoting to better alternatives. This also holds true in our work lives and, for many of us, that manifests itself in how we manage our customer communications. It’s essential to simplify how they get produced, what you send to customers and how you send

it. Customers demand faster responses. How can you possibly meet that expectation when you have convoluted processes that slow your responses down? Customers are also looking for relevancy, personalization and a frictionless experience via the channel of their choosing. Without systems in place that make content authoring and targeting across all channels easy, you can’t possibly keep up with this requirement. Today, we need to transform our communication processes to meet changing customer expectations. There’s a famous, thought-provoking Steve Jobs quote about the concept of simple that I keep by my desk: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” I suggest simplification starts with what Jobs called thinking clean, which means avoiding overcomplicating customer communications — i.e., finding ways to streamline the process of creating personalized, regulated communications, then carefully considering how you manage and deliver them. One way to do this is to remove IT from as much of the content curation process as possible. This can happen by making it easy for business users to be more self-sufficient, to manipulate and author content and associated templates across all channels. Doing so will open up the opportunity for delivering consistent personalization across channels, as well as better performance in meeting your SLAs and eliminating the worry of slowing down those who support your customer communications and your customers. For speed, accuracy, consistency and ease of authoring, it helps to manage your content in one centralized place, so that content authors can easily find, share and reuse content across touchpoints and channels. Additionally, if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to move to a modern platform that is hosted in the cloud to seamlessly scale, support all channels (print, email, SMS, web, IVR) and put less management burden on your team.

To deliver effective customer communications and the experiences that result from them, it’s essential to make crucial choices about the right content to put into your unique communications recipe. To do this successfully, seek out and leverage new approaches, such as artificial intelligence (AI)powered content optimization that makes it easier to push customer experiences beyond their current limitations. These technologies enable business users to do things that used to be complex and required IT to intervene in the old conventional systems; for instance, centrally managing content and content reuse. This will also help drive consistency across channels, so your customers have the same brand experience regardless of the channel they use. Tackling the challenges of content migration, optimization, management and delivery of customer communications may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it is integral in delivering the seamless, delightful experiences that your customers expect and demand, especially based on some of the fallout from the current pandemic. Ultimately, it takes adopting the concept of clean thinking — powered by AI technologies — to truly streamline processes. Now more than ever, we need to innovate with this notion in mind and think our way through how to create simpler user experiences that deliver transformational results for both you and your customers. O

STEVE BIANCANIELLO, CEO, leads Messagepoint’s strategic direction and operations. With more than 25 years of experience helping Fortune 1000 customers transform how they communicate with their customers, Steve is widely recognized as a leading expert on the design, development and management of enterprise-class customer communications. He uses this expertise to continually drive innovation across the Messagepoint solution while generating the best possible results for customers. Steve has a B.A.Sc. (Systems Design Engineering) and M.A.Sc. (Management Sciences – Information Systems) from the University of Waterloo. summer.2021


By Stéphan Donzé



oday’s organizations are tasked with identifying new ways to create a more productive and streamlined workforce. Workflow automation has emerged as a legitimate solution, eliminating human errors that often create a ripple effect across teams and customers. However, some companies are too eager to adopt automation solutions and miss the opportunity to properly identify why and what they want to accomplish by implementing this technology. Once businesses identify where their inefficiencies lie and focus on



optimizing those workflows, automation can save countless hours and alleviate employee frustrations. Here are four ways in which workflow automation saves organizations time, maximizes productivity and improves their bottom line. 1. Importing Documents as a Critical Step Zero One of the most important parts of automation workflow is to make document capture as easy as possible. The earlier you import a document, the better. By incorporating the document at the start of a workflow, there

4 ways to increase productivity and reduce errors with workflow automation can be a more natural process throughout the document’s lifecycle and more collaboration than if it were locked up elsewhere. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if a document is involved in a workflow, it should be controlled by the workflow system — meaning it would not be stored in a personal drive where it could be deleted or lost. Whether it be forwarding an email, taking a photo with a smartphone, scanning a hard copy or importing a document created by an application, the first step in successful document workflow is to capture the document at the start.

Once businesses identify where their inefficiencies lie and focus on optimizing those workflows, automation can save countless hours and alleviate employee frustrations.

2. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Speed and Accuracy Recently, a large part of automation has involved AI integration, with metadata extraction being one of the most practical applications. Workflows incorporating AI components can spark productivity by making near-human inferences about what you’re trying to accomplish with a given task. One example is centered around critical data from invoices or paperwork returned as standard paper forms, which can be automatically tagged using AI algorithms. The form, now with intuitive metadata, can be recognized and sent to the correct workflow path with minimal to no human intervention. This speeds up the entire workflow and eliminates human error during the data extraction process. 3. Receiving Email Reminders to Stay Up-to-Date Unresponsiveness to emails can severely impact workflows, especially

when projects and approvals depend on answers. Even worse, essential documents can be buried in a full inbox, slowing down everyone involved in the chain. However, this form of human error can be solved with process automation. Email systems can set up automated reminders to approvers that they have pending tasks—and they won’t go away until the task is cleared. Calendars also have these integration capabilities to inform systems of contingencies to ensure projects continue moving. 4. Retaining and Managing Records for End-to-End Document Lifecycle The life of documents doesn’t end at the last step of a workflow. After a workflow is complete, documents such as invoices, HR records, signed forms and more must be retained for several years per specific department and industry compliance regulations. Retention should be transparent for end-users and should be automated to save time on the back-end of a document’s lifecycle — based on the document’s metadata, the system can determine where to store each record and how many years to keep it a prompt cleanup. Automated security retention requirements can save time and money by ensuring that information needed for audits is retained per regulations and necessary communication isn’t discarded.

Workflow automation is a balancing act of sorts — organizations are left struggling to find the right balance between the intuitive, agile and userfriendly experience that their workforce demands, and the control required for compliance, consistency and operational success. Yet, it’s one business area set to continue to improve as we discover new ways to implement technology into our existing processes and systems. As AI and other programs become more intuitive and employees feel more comfortable using them, productivity and efficiency will increase and ultimately save businesses time and money. Maximizing workflows is key to running a successful business, especially in a hybrid workforce, and will continue to grow more vital as we move towards an even more digital-first world. O

STÉPHAN DONZÉ is the founder and CEO of AODocs, a software company created from the idea that the enterprise’s need for compliance and efficient processes is not contradictory with a good user experience. Prior to founding AODocs, he was VP of Engineering at Exalead, a leading enterprise search company. After Exalead was acquired by Dassault Systèmes in 2010, he relocated to California from Paris as VP of Product Strategy. Stéphan has a master’s degree in software engineering from Ecole Polytechnique in France (X96). With over 18 years of experience in enterprise software, he is passionate about user experience across an organization. summer.2021


By James Wieser




he impact of work from home (WFH) on enterprises and their investment in on-campus multifunction devices is significant. Moving print infrastructure to the Cloud can both save money and securely support a distributed workforce. When COVID-19 moved the majority of workers off business campuses and into home offices, it radically changed



both how and how much they printed. Eighty percent of remote workers polled by analyst firm Quocirca printed less and worked digitally more. Some used work-issued laptops, while others relied on their own home computers and personal printers. In some industries, where print documents are irreplaceable, companies went so far as to move one or more multifunction printers to well-ventilated perimeter

COVID-19 made it essential for businesses of all sizes locations and scheduled their use by otherwise off-site workers. The Cloud is available from anywhere and provides cost-effective, sustainable and scalable infrastructure. Moving print infrastructure to the Cloud makes printers easier to manage and more secure regardless of their physical location. This becomes essential as businesses of all sizes weigh the advantages of a distributed

support the print servers that regulated print traffic onsite. COVID-19 created the need and accelerated the willingness of businesses to migrate their print infrastructure to the Cloud. Led by big technology companies, up to 87% of businesses expect that in the future, employees will be permitted or required to work remotely. Why? Because in a majority of cases, remote employees get more work done faster and supporting them costs a great deal less. Supporting staff with Cloud print services has its advantages.

workforce, even in an increasingly vaccinated world. The need to print will never go away. But printer drivers can. Despite the digitization of the distributed workforce, the ability to print physical documents remains essential. In the medical, legal and real estate industries, among others, the paper trail is here to stay. Whether the requirements are legal or driven by business efficiency, print and printers remain essential business tools. What the WFH revolution changes is where print infrastructure lives. Before the pandemic, on-site IT teams chronically grumbled about the need to install print drivers on workers’ machines and

The advantages of print from anywhere Security — When print infrastructure moves to the Cloud, it can serve people and printers anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. And it acts as a force that keeps a remote workforce on the same page. Besides delivering print services anywhere, any time, on demand, Cloud print infrastructure leverages all the mature security protocols that have evolved to protect Internet traffic, as well as the high level of physical security demanded of the data centers where the Cloud infrastructure actually resides. Cloud-hosting of infrastructure assures the same high level of availability and redundancy that the host data centers themselves are pledged to deliver. Zero trust networking protocols require that both users and devices are authenticated with every use. According to a paper published by the National Institute of Science and Technology, “Zero trust is a response to enterprise network trends that include remote users, bring your own device (BYOD) and cloud-based assets that are not located within an enterprise-owned network boundary.” It assures that Cloud-based business infrastructure is both flexible and secure. Flexibility — Offering print infrastructure as a service offers businesses levels of choice they’ve never before enjoyed. Private, public or hybrid Cloud architectures — organizations can choose which best

meets their budget and their needs. Cloud-based print infrastructure is delivered “as a service,” a business model that moves print infrastructure from the capital to the operating expense column and distributes the budgetary impact. Further, a number of leading Internet technology companies are creating and packaging Cloud-based business applications and making them available as suites or individually, as needed. This enables businesses to move their businesses to the Cloud at the speed and the cost best suited to their needs. Cost — In “The Cloud Services Market Landscape, 2021” report, analyst firm Quocirca examines the Cloud-print capabilities of most leading printer manufacturers. They report, too, that in virtually every case, companies that adopted Cloud-printing for a distributed workforce experienced “significant cost savings, a reduction in unnecessary printing and a secure way for individuals in different locations to share both data and documents.” Rather than disabling business, Cloud printing provides the means to make it both more efficient and less costly, as well as the opportunity to pay for use and not for ownership. Quocirca also reports that, “Eight out of 10 organizations now expect more than half their IT infrastructure to be Cloud-based by the end of 2021. Forty-three percent expect all of their IT infrastructure to be Cloud-based.” They go on to recommend that device manufacturers partner with Cloud services providers to meet the altered needs and expectations of business users, now and in the future. O

JAMES WIESER is Business Development Director, Y Soft. At Y Soft, Jim is involved in developing digital office solutions and draws on his background from working at OpenText, Xerox and Eastman Kodak. Most recently Jim developed a digital fax add on to Y Soft’s print management solution. Jim calls New York home and is a professional scuba diving instructor trainer. Email summer.2021


WHAT THE ANALYSTS SAY… The 2021 Aspire CCM Leaderboard Aspire Customer Communications Services, a consulting firm specializing in CCM and Digital Customer Experience, has released the 2021 Aspire CCM Leaderboard. This year, Aspire ranked 21 vendors in the CCM market based on product capabilities, strengths, and strategic direction, including solution vision and roadmap. The vendors were analyzed through a methodology based on two aspects: Capabilities, which is an indicator of the company’s solution strengths and its sales capabilities, and Vision, which focuses on their future plans for the software. Using this leaderboard, end-users can evaluate CCM vendors based on their individual requirements. It’s a tool to help businesses understand, tweak and filter capabilities and weightings to align to priorities, helping you find the right CCM solution provider for your business. Contact any one of them to see if they will meet your organization’s needs.

Think About It / DAN LUCARINI /






“The value of content has never been more important — particularly when married with data. It is what differentiates communications from merely touchpoints to interactions that are meaningful.”

“Workflow automation is a balancing act of sorts — organizations are left struggling to find the right balance between the intuitive, agile and user-friendly experience that their workforce demands, and the control required for compliance, consistency and operational success.” / PATRICK KEHOE /

“Personalizing every customer communication you send and then sending them through the preferred channel helps to keep customers and prospects engaged and fosters the loyalty and customer experience for which we all strive.”


MISSING OUT? There are undoubtedly people in your organization who could use information and ideas for improving the production, quality, workflow, and delivery of your company’s printed customer communications and direct mail. So if they are not already a subscriber, have them sign up for a FREE subscription today!