We must think differently
For 2023 we must think differently! It is time to leave the last few years in the rearview mirror and plan for how to engage with current and prospective customers using modern tools. If you have not moved into the communication ecosystems that include automation of Customer Communication Management and Customer Experience Management, you are at risk of falling behind in your customer engagement activities. If your strategies are still firmly routed in what you think is happening with your customers based on a few surveys or cursory reviews of buying patterns, no matter what you sell, you are missing out. If you have not already integrated your customer-facing channels based on current best practices, it is time to make the changes.
As much as we talk about automation, we find that many companies are still thinking about creating projects to study their options for automation. They are thinking five years out or longer. If this sounds like conversations in your company, please take each of the articles in this edition and put them into the hands of senior and mid-management. Waiting is costing you money. Without a clear automation program, the loop from customer engagement, through customer experience, to understanding the next set of customer needs is too long. Automation of customer engagement programs flattens the diameter of the loop, bringing faster resolution of customer problems and speedier feedback loops based on customer data.
If you have begun your automation journey, it is not time to relax. Instead, it is time to assess where you are on the journey, review your tool
selection, assess your automation success, and consider your integration points. CCM and CXM implementations can bring amazing optimization of customer interaction touchpoints, but there are still more requirements. There is the need for regulatory compliance regarding customer data, and data policy management and governance to guide decisions about how data may be used in pursuit of the best customer experiences. This edition brings you the information you need to review what you have, test your assumptions regarding best practices and educate the team as you look at the next series of CCM and CXM projects. Customer expectations change over time. The rules for last year’s automation guiding your CCM and CXM activities require regular review to ensure they are the right rules for the coming months. We will help to keep you on the right track, but if there are additional topics you want to see covered, let us know! O
PAT MCGREW helps companies perform better in the print hardware, software and printing services industries. Her experience spans all customer communication channels and segments including transaction print, data-driven and static marketing, packaging and label print, textiles, and production commercial print using offset, inkjet, and toner. An experi¬enced professional speaker and co-author of 8 industry books, editor of A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge, and regular writer in the industry trade press, Pat won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. She is certified as a Master Electronic Document Professional by Xplor International, with lifetime status, and as a Color Management Professional by IDEAlliance.
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Registration is now open for the 2023 Business Forms Management Association (BFMA) annual conference, being held May 22-24 in Charlotte, North Carolina at Le Méridien. The event provides valuable knowledge and insight into the core areas of forms management, including design and technology, customer communications, content services and information management. Attendees are invited to take advantage of educational sessions and great networking opportunities that provide access to cutting-edge information and strategies when it comes to communicating with customers through forms. www.bfma.org
Is Your Organization Still Using LiveCycle?
If your installation of Adobe Experience Manager Forms is up to date on version 6.5 with the most recent Service Pack, then this article is not for you - please continue your reading and have a wonderful day!
If your installation is not on the most recent version and Service Pack, or worse, you are still running LiveCycle or JetForm Central, then this article is for you.
Keeping applications, servers and operating systems up to date is standard practice for organizations, but 4Point continues to talk to organizations that are running old versions of Adobe Experience Manager Forms, LiveCycle and even JetForm Central. These organizations include major banks, insurance companies, manufacturers and governments. The forms, documents and processes that rely on these antiquated systems are often operationally necessary to the organization.
So why do organizations that otherwise keep systems as up to date as possible continue to run decades old form software that provide mission critical functionality? Simply put, organizations do not understand how important forms are. Many approach forms as something that they will attempt to replace, but never do. Because replacing them is hard - think years of effort hard.
An organization approached 4Point two years ago to help them replace LiveCycle. They were looking for a temporary solution since they were planning on replacing the entire process with a new product. Now, two years later, they have approached us again. The old, unsupported, end of life system was never replaced, and they want to keep using it for another year. This is a security risk. This is a failure risk. This is a critical business operations risk.
Unfortunately, this is not unusual, and maybe your organization is also in this position. If it is, you need to move. Yes, it will cost more and yes, it will require effort. But the risk of not moving is too great for your organization.
Moving to a modern version of a forms system is not just about risk mitigation or IT compliance. Adobe has been adding new features, functionalities, and expanding the capabilities of Adobe Experience Manager Forms, all of which can help your organization reduce operational costs and maintenance effort, improve the customer experience and transform more processes.
Are your customers asking for online forms? Were you using Internet Explorer and now forms can’t be ﬁlled out in the browser? Is maintaining your form templates costly and time consuming? Are you considering digital signatures, but can’t ﬁgure out how to connect them with your forms and documents? An up to date version of Adobe Experience Manager Forms can give you all of this and more.
Imagine a user experience where you can create online forms that work in any browser and on any mobile device, that guide the user through the form with immediate validation and correction. Imagine doing this with a drag and drop editor, without using HTML or writing a new web application.
Imagine being able to connect to your backend applications to read and write data so user data ﬂows between systems. Imagine a user experience that is accessible, that produces personalized documents with the data correctly inserted, and is ready for a digital or electronic signature.
Adobe Experience Manager Forms and 4Point can make this a reality.
The tools you are currently using, old systems like LiveCycle or JetForm Central, limit you. They require you to produce paper-based documents and forms, resulting in a bad user experience and security and compliance risks.
If you are lost with your forms and need help migrating your old applications to a new, modern, up to date Adobe Experience Manager Forms environment, 4Point can help. We have helped organizations that were struggling just like you. We can show you how to get from where you are to where you want to be. We can show you the new capabilities and experiences you want to create. We can help.
INFORMATION GOVERNANCE AND CLEAR INFORMATION PRACTICESBy Steve Weissman
You likely already know that information is perhaps the most valuable asset our organizations possess because it is at the root of everything we do: keep records, report on operations, communicate with customers, make decisions, etc.
Just how much value it has depends upon how well we assure its quality on the back end, where it is stored, and how well we ensure its clarity on the front end, where it is used. Issues
affecting the ﬁndability, accuracy, timeliness and security of our information cause value to leak out as they erode its ultimate dependability. And issues affecting how intuitive and sensibly-displayed the information is to the people consuming it cause value to leak out as they erode its comprehensibility and usability.
Until now, minimizing these issues on the back and front ends has been tackled separately, often under the monikers of Information Governance and Clear
Information. Practically speaking, this may have made sense given the vastly different skills and technologies needed to accomplish each. However, if our goal is to maximize the total value of the information in our care — and it is — then we really ought to think of them not as two distinct halves, but as a single whole that runs from managing our information on the one hand to presenting it on the other.
You need both to maximize information’s value
Proﬁ table Investment. Not just spending.
When our company was founded in 1988, we saw it as our responsibility to ensure that software was a proﬁtable investment for our customers, and not just an expense. Software architecture, ﬂexibility, long-term stability, quality, compatibility of resources and document applications on all platforms, independence of operating systems and a healthy business were most important from the beginning. We have kept this promise for more than 30 years. We knew that business documents are mission-critical applications with a lifespan of many years. Documents are at the heart of our customers’ business; if our customers cannot deliver an invoice or a contract, there is no business!
Today, none of the companies that offered software solutions for document application design and delivery back then is any longer in operation. Firms have gone bankrupt or have been bought out, their software has been discontinued or redeveloped as incompatible versions, or they only support SaaS, which might not be the ﬁrst choice for customers when it comes to security of their data. Many new companies have been established offering a wider range of point solutions, but do they meet the key sustainability values? Review: The evolution of document design tools.
In consequence, companies with unsupported legacy software have to migrate again and again in order to secure production and keep up with the constant evolution of requirements. That’s a lot of effort! Decision makers who opted for software solutions that now need to be replaced certainly did not consider long-term investment, quality and sustainability. Analyst ﬁrms did not make the right recommendation either, but were guided by other considerations. The money and time that companies now have to spend on migrations could be invested in innovating their Omni-channel customer communications if they had chosen the right software partner and the right strategy in the ﬁrst place.
The result of poor decisions in the past is an immense demand for document application migrations today. We receive inquiries about migration almost every other day. But what really amazes me is that companies are still focusing on pure cost-driven migrations, instead of investing in best and most future-proof software solutions that will sustain their business for at least the next 10 years or more. Haven’t they learned anything over time? Migrations are the opportunity to make things better. A migration must lead to future-proof structures and assets, otherwise it is not worth the money. Documents are applications with a high strategic value; they need a solid architecture that evolves as part of a long-term strategy with sustainability in mind.
By prioritizing innovative technology, quality and stability, your business can expect low overhead and amazing results for years to come. Take a moment to think about it!
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“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Our goal must be to optimize and integrate both so no value is lost due to poor information quality or confusing information design.
The Two Sides of the Value Coin Information governance operates on the information itself to assure its quality. In a nutshell, it ensures the data is well defined, normalized, available, protected from unauthorized viewing or changing, and auditable so its history can be documented. Doing this right means that people receiving that information don’t have to worry about its provenance and fidelity; they can simply get on with their day.
The problem is that organizations that give short shrift to this run the risk of being unable to find information when it is needed, or finding it but not knowing if it is reliable, or being unaware that it is so old that it (by policy) should have been deleted. The result then can be decisions based on faulty premises due to incomplete or incorrect or outdated information.
Clear information, on the other hand, presents information in a way that is maximally intuitive and understandable. This way the person receiving it doesn’t have to waste time figuring out what the darn thing says and what it means, so they too can get on with their day.
The problem here is that organizations that overlook how information is presented risk customer dissatisfaction (at best) and a loss of customers (at worst), and additional customer service calls that ultimately lead to higher costs as time is spent explaining what the document was meant
to. To be sure, this often boils down to confusing document layouts. But the heavy information component in documents like financial statements, invoices, explanations of benefits, etc. puts a heavy burden on the information provider as once the information is wrong or even questioned, major trust issues can ensue.
How effectively the two sides of the information house can be unified depends heavily on whether and to what degree they share a few core technical capabilities. In years past, these were implemented either separately or to an uneven and painfully limited degree; today, we can fairly readily implement them to serve as a short, straight “pipe” to move information from governance to clear presentation.
account number and latest transactions and balances with another’s! In this regard, information governance focuses on combing out any tangles and then designating a single source of the truth, while clear information techniques involve plucking the right information from the overall pile and presenting it cleanly for ready use by the recipient. Using the same engine for both can ensure nothing gets missed or included in error.
2. Taxonomy and Metadata
The fundamental tools shared by information governance and clear information to facilitate search/find start with taxonomy and metadata, which have to do with the categorization and labeling of information. Two of the biggest reasons information governance utilizes these is to facilitate the application of rules of records retention and disposal, as well as legal hold, leveraging records classes, policy-based timetables, and legal department inputs to manage the process. Clear information practices also leverage them as much as anything in order to determine what information belongs to which person and how best to display it. Using the same constructs for both — especially when it comes to metadata — is key to ensuring consistent results.
The ability to identify and locate pieces of information that are relevant to the application at hand is fundamental to all our information processes; just imagine, for instance, mixing up one customer’s investment
Neither of the preceding capabilities means anything if the systems used in information governance can’t speak to those used in creating clear information deliverables. At minimum, the tools used on the latter side of our twosided “coin” must be able to access the output of a search routine performed by the former. But it would be far better if they actually behaved as a single system and let the composition tools directly touch the information being governed, and vice versa. That way the latest database updates could be reflected in the documents being output, and undeliverable document
If you want your company to perform, then you have to assure the quality and usability of the information in your care.
addressees can be reported to the database, both in real time.
It was either Napoleon or Frederick the Great who said, “An army marches on its stomach,” meaning that if you want troops to perform, then you have to keep them fed. Well, much the same can be said for organizations, which move on the strength of their information — meaning that if you want your company to perform, then you have to assure the quality and usability of the information in your care. Failure to do so will erode whatever value it had and thereby degrade the business outcomes that were based upon it.
Both information governance and clear information techniques do an excellent job maintaining information quality and usability. But until now, they’ve done so
independently of one another, leaving gaps in the overall process through which value can leak out.
To avoid this, we recommend that the two disciplines be considered and implemented as extensions of one another, with information management on one end and information presentation on the other. The goal must be to have them interoperate seamlessly so value can be kept high. O
STEVE WEISSMAN is Principal Consultant at Holly Group, where he helps you Do Information Right™ by bringing order and discipline to your information and process practices. Known as The Info Gov Guy™, he has spent the past 25+ years equipping clients to bet-
ter their ability to ﬁnd, leverage, secure and assure their business-critical information — and to solve the “people” part of the puzzle as well. Honored as both an AIIM Fellow and recipient of AIIM’s prestigious Award of Merit, he is best reached at firstname.lastname@example.org / 617-383-4655 / @steveweissman.
A NEXT-GENERATION APPROACH
Bringing composable content to the CCM gameBy Patrick Kehoe
Whether we like it or not, we live in an omnichannel world. What is good about that, is it provides broader opportunities for communications to conveniently reach customers. In theory, this sounds great. In practice, it creates a lot of operational overhead supporting multiple channels and honoring customer delivery preferences, while trying to deliver a consistent level of relevant personalization and consistency. In addition, customers want more personalization than ever before. It’s no longer enough to simply use a customer’s name or to broadly group customers into target segments. Customers expect their vendors and suppliers to know them and provide relevant information.
As organizations move to support more digital channels, the logistical challenges of the old methods of
content management also come to light. Targeting communications by creating variations of materials for each segment often necessitates the duplication of content across multiple templates both within and across channels. Suddenly, the realization hits you: How we have approached personalization in the past no longer works. Customers want more and they want it everywhere.
Composable content drives greater personalization and relevancy
The bottom line is that you can’t achieve the fluid, cross-channel hyper-personalization customers expect today unless you change how you manage your content. Reliance on the kind of historical document or template-centric model inherent in customer communications management (CCM) tools forces you to manage content in disparate files, in operational silos. Breaking free from
this legacy approach is necessary in the new world of digital communications.
Composable content is a next-generation approach to content management that focuses on creating, organizing and managing smaller components of content that, when assembled together, make up a composed communication or digital experience. This provides the ultimate in flexibility to pick and pack content in a way that is truly custom to the individual customer. It liberates content from the channel silos that create redundancy and inefficiency in content operations across an organization.
Composable content can be thought of as a modular content management approach in which you break down your communications into more granular content components. These could be snippets of text inserted into a paragraph, a block of text, a phone number, a regulatory disclosure, product name, offers, images, ads, logos and much more. These components can be easily shared and reused across all communications and channels, while being created, edited and controlled from a single source. Content components may also have channel-specific renditions, so content can fit the channel, while still being centrally controlled. For instance, a message displayed on a website might have a shorter rendition when delivered by SMS.
When you start to think about your content in a composable or modular way, you make it possible to target it to the right individuals and efficiently re-use it across channels and communications. Key to this also is the ability to leverage atomic content components. These are tiny fragments of content (think a word, a fragment of a sentence), the most elemental building blocks that can drive both personalization and efficiency to the next level. These building blocks can be selected by the content author when creating the communication or can be selected and assembled through data-driven targeting rules or dynamic variant selectors.
Scale communication channels and experiences without multiplying the effort
The key to adopting a composable content approach is having a way to federate
Headless APIs also allow for scalability. They enable organizations to leverage one content hub that supports not only traditional large-batch processes, for example, sending out a monthly statement to hundreds of thousands of customers, but also on-demand processes, such as a single customer accessing a mobile app. Having that range and reach
is key to enabling efficiency and brand alignment, and consistently personalizing content across the customer journey.
Finding and crossing the bridge
Until businesses adopt a composable content approach they will remain trapped, stuck using broad and unsophisticated segmentation, delivering disjointed omnichannel experiences to customers who have the means and flexibility to instantly access communications elsewhere. Fortunately, there are solutions that provide the bridge to move from traditional CCM to transforming the way we author, manage and deliver content and the way we create experiences and conversations, ultimately preparing us for a truly digital future.
The first things you need to look for are the ability to manage the content granularly and independently of the template and the communication. Also, by leveraging a solution that integrates with the technologies you have (such as CCM solutions), you can avoid having to
replace those systems. Look for platform capabilities that provide low-code or no-code content and rules management to empower content managers, irrespective of their technical backgrounds. This will ensure your business teams can manage the content, while your developers leverage the headless APIs to integrate the content into your experiences. Then, you can start to think about crossing the bridge to create truly dynamic communications and conversations that engage customers in an omnichannel world. O
PATRICK KEHOE is Executive Vice President of Product Management for Messagepoint, Inc. an AI-powered customer communications management solution that automates and simplifies the process of migrating, optimizing, authoring, and managing complex customer communications for non-technical (business) users. Patrick has more than 25 years of experience delivering business solutions for document processing, customer communications, and content management.
THE CCM EVOLUTION
Changing expectations, new buyers and different options
CCM has come a long way since its early days when the industry was exclusively focused on document composition and print communications. Fast forward 30 years and the industry looks very different. From the standalone systems and disconnected data silos of its origins, the industry has evolved along with CCM technology to provide customers with an omnichannel experience and businesses with beginning-to-end insight into the customer journey.
Customer experience has played an integral role in shaping CCM technology and the expectations enterprise businesses have about their CCM solutions. However, that wasn’t always the case. During the 1990s, print communications were the only game in town and customers had minimal interaction with the businesses that generated their billing and other correspondence.
Things began to change in the 2000s with the emergence of interactive websites where customers could register for online accounts. Moreover, the availability
of affordable personal computers allowed people to access their communications anytime and anywhere. In the 2010s, the emergence of e-commerce gave customers new ways to interact with company websites to make purchases or obtain support. As interactivity increased, customers expected more from the businesses they patronized and the communications they received.
The technological revolution continued through the 2010s as businesses invested in digital communications and multichannel delivery. By 2020, businesses were leveraging creative advertising that emphasized customer empowerment through a mobile-ﬁrst strategy. As enterprises recognized the growth opportunities associated with branded communications, CCM was no longer regarded as a cost center, but rather as a revenue center with marketing taking center stage.
CCM Continues to Transform
Today, CCM is going through another transformation as businesses look to
eliminate siloed departments in a datadriven economy. The standalone systems of a bygone era have been replaced by CCM platforms that can pull data from multiple sources and house information in a centralized system. Today’s CCM platforms function as an integral part of diverse IT ecosystems that disseminate communications through multiple channels.
As CCM solutions continue to evolve, they will need to meet ever-changing customer expectations. Doing so means continuing to provide the services customers have come to expect while adding new features that enhance convenience, ease of use and satisfaction at each touchpoint on the customer journey. Delivering on customer expectations also means giving them what they want under one roof, rather than forcing them to go to one channel to download forms and other channels to obtain additional services.
To provide the seamless experience customers want, CCM platforms will need to sit on top of core systems developed for various industries, pulling and
collating data using a centralized communication tool. Rather than making improvements as a byproduct of core systems, modern platforms will need to be agile enough to customize and develop solutions that solve new challenges. Throughout the development process, customer experience will be the centrifugal force that drives the next technological evolution for CCM.
Data Becomes the Driver
With customer experience at the forefront of CCM, businesses can now access valuable information to drive decision-making. Every data point in a customer’s history, from their online transactions to conversations with call center representatives, will be at the ready to inform critical marketing decisions like what mailers to send out or what colors to use in building the company brand. In turn, a deeper understanding of customer expectations will help companies retain existing business and create new opportunities.
Like development decisions, buyer options are dependent on end-user
requirements. In today’s hyperconnected world, technology cannot be batch-based; it must be event-based. Enterprise buyers want solutions that can solve their pain points by connecting to centralized databases and linking compliance and other departments while controlling who does what during document design, composition and approval. To accomplish these lofty ambitions, CCM platforms must become interoperable with quick interactivity that allows businesses to respond in real time to customer needs and desires.
The Customer Shapes the Platform
With increased focus on the customer experience, the analysis of customer behavior has become table stakes for enterprise businesses. Buyers in this new era of CCM must be forward-looking and focused on platform solutions, rather than standalone software. Developers of modern platforms will need to identify their target audience and divide this demographic across various market segments to meet buyer requirements and give them new channels, new
communication methods and new ways of telling people how these enterprises care for their end customers.
Innovations in CCM have come a long way from the print-centric standalone systems of the 1990s. Today, increased customer demand has shifted the industry toward digital communication solutions and away from an exclusive focus on print. As CCM platforms integrate with core systems for the industries they serve, it is the customer experience that will continue to shape CCM technology and drive buyer expectations. Through integration with various IT ecosystems, an evolved CCM platform can help businesses solve the challenges of a data-driven economy while providing a seamless experience at every step of the customer journey. O
GAUTAM JIT KANWAR is President of BelWo Inc., a global provider of managed services specializing in customer communications management (CCM) consulting and delivery solutions that help companies meet strategic CCM goals.
EMPOWERING BUSINESS USERSBy Stephanie Pieruccini and Andy Feest
The modern workplace expects far more “jack of all trades” rather than specialists, meaning it is more desirable for an individual to wear multiple hats and perform more than one role to provide the most value to a business. This is not a new phenomenon in traditional CCM, as the roles and responsibilities that revolve around data normalization, programming communications layouts and adding business rules, as well as managing the CCM infrastructure in
addition to orchestration of communication creation through delivery; are highly technical tasks; putting a heavy dependency on IT teams. Increasing concerns around security, expanding business operations, infrastructure management, cloud deployments and more adds to the responsibility of IT, and the cost of operations. With the shift to cloud-based CCM solutions operating with microservices and thin client user experiences, is there a case for business users to take the pressure off of IT, and take over some of these responsibilities? The
answer in this case can be a resounding yes given the right tools in the hands of the appropriate expertise.
How is your business organized today regarding your communication creation?
It’s amazing to reflect on how our lives have advanced over the past few decades. Technology has allowed us to take significant leaps forward, enabling us to do business in better, more efficient ways than ever before. Customer communication creation tools have evolved just as quickly, but not all businesses are as quick to adopt newer, timely and cost-effective approaches to this side of their business. For many, the process of communication content management, creation and delivery is still very much the job of a set of specialized folks within the company. These ‘hats’ are template designers and IT users with a myriad of tools and constraints to manage while they make the regular updates requested of them to maintain consistent and relevant content output for the customer.
Depending on the size of the company, this approach to customer communications can very quickly become a bottleneck of regulatory issues and time constraint factors caused by heavy workloads. When business and marketing professionals need to communicate something important to customers, such as a new product or service, it can be frustrating to wait for IT to make changes — the content is ready, the time is right, but it can’t be sent. Often, when the communication does go out, that window of opportunity may have passed, or the message has lost some relevance. Companies know that the quality, timeliness and accuracy of those communications greatly impact consumer perception.
It would make sense to empower someone else to carry out some of these tasks and duties. So, is there a hat that fits here? Certainly, with organizations looking to shift their customer communication strategy and update their legacy systems to more modern, often cloud-based, solutions, the opportunity is there to realign your expertise around the tools you use. And the modern
CCM systems available these days offer that very opportunity to distribute the content experts accordingly.
Having a traditional communication designer create and manage the basis of any communication is still critical. Certain things will always be outside of the scope of a typical business user, such as output delivery channels, data inputs and mapping. But a shared environment, tailored to each persona in a communication development and maintenance scenario, allows users to simplify customer communication processes and easily create, change and personalize marketing and business content within the boundaries of their role. After all, your business users know their communication content better than anyone else. So, if you had a tool that allowed them to contribute that content, manage versioning, apply rules around the same data that your IT developers were using and do all this within your organization’s regulatory requirements, why wouldn’t you want your CCM hats shared?
What about communication orchestration and delivery?
But it’s not just content creation and design that can benefit from a solution that empowers your business users. There are many critical operations tasks within the orchestration of communications that fall on the shoulders of IT resources that business users could easily take over with the right user interfaces that provide the ability to visually construct orchestration flows and manage communication creation and delivery.
Communication orchestration is simply the collection of processes required from data receipt through communication delivery. These are steps often managed by operations teams responsible for ensuring that communications get created and delivered within the required SLA or regulated timeframe, often technical business users or business analysts and not IT.
The steps in these processes are often defined by an operations person and handed off to an IT person to develop; from defining the input channel where the expected communication payload
will be received, data merging and normalization, processing the data against the right template during composition, any channel preference database checks, postal sorting or suppression list checks, and ultimately what channels or business systems are available to deliver the final communication. These orchestration flows are rarely linear, often requiring additional processing steps based on outcome mapping that looks to response data during runtime to determine the next step to take or after attempted delivery of digital communications, looking for soft bounces or delivery failures so an alternate delivery path can be attempted.
It’s safe to say these processes can be rather complex and if they exist in a black box programmed by IT, often found in traditional CCM, there could be missed opportunities for optimizing production processing in a single job run. Configuring complex communication workflows is just the start. What about adding a new communication channel as quickly as possible? Trying to get IT scheduled to add new channels like Push Notifications, WhatsApp or the next big output channel can be a challenge with other security or maintenance responsibilities, sometimes taking months. Giving more of this responsibility to an operations team that can manage everything from creating the new design layouts for the latest channels and configuring the orchestration delivery channel while also testing the new output before moving to production enables agility in responding to new channel preferences as quickly as possible; improving overall customer experience.
If business users have control over setting up the communication design, orchestration flow and delivery channels or business process integration, the natural next step is to give a business user real-time control over communication job management. The ability to watch for incoming communication payloads, monitor how these jobs are progressing, troubleshoot any errors in real time, generate job reports and more optimizes operations processes by giving the teams responsible for these
tasks direct control. While IT may want to maintain control over the overall CCM systems infrastructure, the data and communications running through it are best managed by the operations teams most familiar with the processes being executed and the ability to quickly troubleshoot and keep communications moving. Additional post-job analysis or auditing are also tasks that with the right tools, the appropriate business users can easily access the information they need to report on.
Business user empowerment is not just an opportunity to take some pressure off IT resources who have a growing list of responsibilities to manage. It is putting the control over the customer experience that is better suited to a business user and giving these personas the tools to react and respond to opportunities that directly impact experience and satisfaction. From being able to quickly pull in new data sources to increase the value and impact of messaging in a communication, to quickly add new communication channels, business users should have the ability to put these changes into daily operations, allowing IT resources to focus on more critical technical and security responsibilities. O
STEPHANIE PIERUCCINI is a Senior Manager of Product for OpenText CCM. In this role she is responsible for CCM Orchestration for OpenText Exstream as well as the StreamServe and Exstream platform solutions. Her experience comes from a strong knowledge of communication and production management from creation through delivery acquired from covering the print, marketing and CCM markets as an analyst and consultant with InfoTrends as well as serving as the channel development manager for CCM and digital transformation solutions at Neopost USA (Now Quadient).
ANDY FEEST is a Senior Manager, Product Management for OpenText CCM. Andy is a 30-plus year professional experienced in Product and Program Management and leading global product, customer support and development teams. With 25 years of experience in the CCM space including consulting and development for enterprise and service providers in the United Kingdom and the United States.
KEEPING YOUR CUSTOMERS
3 WAYS TO BOOST ENGAGEMENT AND BUILD RELATIONSHIPS IN A DIGITAL AGEBY RANDY SPARKS
Decreasing attention spans. Digital fatigue. Content overload. How effectively are you communicating with your customers?
The disruption of the last two years has sparked lasting changes in the expectations customers have for interacting with a business. According to research, 84% of people in the US say they expect companies to send them reminders and 90% say they are more likely to do business with companies that do.
At the same time, customers are expecting seamless, personal, omnichannel journeys from every brand they
interact with. Research suggests a personalized digital experience can make or break a sale: 44% of respondents said they will try to only interact with businesses that offer an excellent experience online and 28% said they won’t use a brand at all if the experience isn’t excellent. For 72% of respondents, having an excellent digital customer experience is a key factor in their purchasing decision.
Modern problems call for smart solutions. Notiﬁcations are automated and send personalized messages to customers over a variety of digital channels.
As mobile devices become deeply embedded in daily life, it’s clear that marketing professionals must adapt their tools for reaching customers
wherever they are. Here are three smart ways marketers can boost engagement and build relationships in a digital age:
1. Reach customers with personalized email notiﬁcations
Email is the king of customer communications: 54% of businesses named it as a top revenue driver and 36% plan to boost email engagement over the next 12 months. The global email market is projected to grow to $17.9 billion by 2027 according to Statista. The best email communications deliver the right content to your customers at the right time.
Marketers can easily personalize email messages at scale to contain
relevant content based on past preferences or interactions to reach customers at key moments. This could look like cross-promotion based on past purchases, a tailored message to drive repeat business or an automated account-setup communication based on an event-driven journey.
2. Start two-way conversations with SMS notifications
As email inboxes grow more crowded, SMS notifications are an increasingly effective way to reach customers. They complement email marketing and can be used for transactional messaging, reminders or to start two-way conversations. Half of U.S. adults check their
mobile phone within five minutes of waking up and on average, Americans check their phones 344 times a day — once every four minutes.
According to U.S. consumers, the three most appreciated message types from businesses include appointment reminders, booking confirmations, changes or cancellations and shipping/ delivery updates.
People often check their texts almost immediately after receiving them, so this method is best suited to more urgent messages. It shares space with family and friends in a more personal area of a customers’ mobile device. A downside is that consumers can be less willing to provide their phone number than their email to a business, so it can take time to build and grow this channel. It’s best to use SMS notifications judiciously since over-sending could encourage a higher opt-out rate.
3. Engage customers with push notifications
Push notifications are brief, one-way messages that come from a mobile app to encourage consumers to engage with it. The popularity of brand-specific phone apps and the minimal cost impact of these communications to the consumer continue to drive their growth. In 2021, consumers downloaded 230 billion mobile apps to their connected devices — up by more than 63% from 2016 according to Statista.
Shorter is better when it comes to push notifications: messages with 10 or fewer words had an 8.8% clickthrough rate, compared to 4.9% for 11-20 words and 3.2% for 21+ words. Marketers can send push notifications to both iOS and Android devices. Push notifications have the power to drive repeat purchases, re-engage lapsed users and guide conversions.
No matter how you choose to engage — email, SMS, push notifications or all three — notifications allow you to connect with customers in many valuable ways, including:
Transactional: These messages alert users to the status of a recent
payment, an upcoming appointment, a billing confirmation or other transaction. For example, an insurance company may need customers to upload documents or images to complete a claim and use a push notification to direct them to a landing page to do so.
Promotional: Brands can use promotional notifications to let customers know about exclusive offers, flash sales or other discounts.
Educational: Brands can use notifications to help users learn about a new concept, course, or topic.
Lifecycle: Brands can send personalized notifications to keep customers engaged at their specific stage of the buying journey. This could include cross-sell or partner opportunities or could be a targeted offer to customers who haven’t engaged with the app recently.
Asking for feedback: Brands can send this notification to prompt customers to review their app or provide feedback on a recent transaction or experience.
The last few years have been the ultimate use case for empathy-driven communications. Brands need to earn trust while cultivating loyalty. An integrated approach to marketing and communications with an eye to mobilefirst delivery and a focus on first-party data can help brands win hearts and minds in a crowded landscape. O
RANDY SPARKS is the Director of Product Management for OpenText’s Customer Communication Management (CCM) offerings. He is a graduate of The College of Charleston and holds a degree in Computer Science. During his 25-year career in the software industry, he has held roles in R&D, Product Management, Services, Marketing, Strategy and Sales. In his current role, he is responsible for OpenText’s CCM product portfolio which includes Exstream, StreamServe and xPression. He resides in Lexington, KY and spends his spare time looking for the next beach to visit.
CX BEST PRACTICESBy Richard Huff
Creating a seamless customer experience can sometimes feel more like an art than a science because every client has different expectations. While some ﬂexibility is needed to satisfy individual preferences, it is possible to create a customer experience that will inspire loyalty to your brand no matter who your clients are. Here are ﬁve best practices we have seen that, once in play, can give your customers a superlative experience:
Map the customer journey
Whether your customers have a positive customer experience or one that is subpar often comes down to the quality of their interactions with your organization. If things go smoothly, your customers will have a good experience. If their interactions are ﬁlled with long waits and poor customer service, they will remember that and take their business elsewhere.
Mapping each touchpoint on the customer journey is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure customers form a positive impression of your organization. As an example, for an insurance company, touchpoints to pay attention to might include the initial application, paying bills and ﬁling claims. For other companies, the customer journey might look very different. Regardless of the industry you are in, mapping the customer journey for your organization gives you the information needed to anticipate and avoid potential problems.
Leverage digital transformation
Once you’ve identiﬁed all the contacts between your customers and your organization, you will have a better idea of where you can make improvements. Digitizing as many touchpoints as possible is one of the best ways to improve business processes to eliminate errors and delays, streamline transactions and make customer service as convenient as possible.
Enabling your critical applications to share data is another area where your organization can improve customer experience. Creating an interconnected ecosystem is all about minimizing the number of times a customer must provide information. Integrating applications and information also establishes a complete
Meeting customer expectations doesn’t have to be a mystery
record of every contact a client has with your organization and makes it easier to track customer transactions as they move from one department to the next.
Integrating data and applications can beneﬁt your marketing efforts as well. By linking various lines of business, you reduce the risk that customers will receive duplicate communications or get irritated at the amount of information you’re sending. Instead, your campaigns for each line of business become opportunities to cross-sell products and services and provide value for your customers.
via text or email. Instead of having to wait 3-4 days to receive mailed notiﬁcations, customers are alerted instantaneously, allowing them to act before additional fees accrue.
The challenge is ﬁnding the right balance between diﬀerent channels, so you deliver communications in a way that is convenient for your customers.
Going omnichannel doesn’t mean eliminating print, however. How many times have you heard of customers printing out statements delivered via email and storing them in a binder with related documents? In this case, your organization may save money on mailing costs, but you have shifted the burden of printing statements to your customer. Hardly an ideal scenario for creating a positive customer experience. The challenge is ﬁnding the right balance between different channels, so you deliver communications in a way that is convenient for your customers. Honor customer preferences whenever possible
technology, keep in mind that your customers might not complain if you don’t offer a particular service, but they may decide to go somewhere else that does. While new technology may require some up-front investment, retaining customers provides a worthy return on investment.
Adapt to changing customer expectations
Provide greater convenience with omnichannel communications
Traditionally, organizations have used omnichannel delivery to eliminate printing and postage costs. However, omnichannel communications can also enhance the customer experience. For example, a bank can deliver an overdraft notice
Due to changing regulatory requirements, honoring customer expectations is now a legal requirement as well as a best practice for enhancing customer experience. When the EU enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, companies had to collect consent from customers with regards to which communications they wanted to receive and how. An added beneﬁt of the new requirements was that customers gained new ways to engage with organizations while increasing their sense of control over their personal information.
To honor customer preferences, it’s important to adopt the most current technology. Some conservative industries have been slow to digitize their communications. By contrast, ﬁnancial services have kept up with the times by offering online banking and omnichannel customer support. When deciding whether to adopt new
In the 2000s, Amazon disrupted the retail industry by launching an ecommerce platform that transformed the way customers searched for, purchased and received their orders. Twenty years later, COVID-19 compelled companies to further adapt business practices to accommodate shelter-in-place orders and social distancing requirements. For many, this meant creating an online presence and offering delivery and curbside pickup. As customers dealt with the stresses of social isolation, illness and educating children at home, ﬁnding ways to automate customer service while retaining a human touch was also essential.
Today, businesses have reopened, but many customer expectations have shifted due to the conveniences introduced during the pandemic. While evolving circumstances make change inevitable, meeting customer expectations doesn’t have to be a mystery. By adopting some best practices for honoring individual preferences, you can deliver an excellent experience, one customer at a time. O
RICHARD HUFF is Senior Analyst at Madison Advisors, an independent analyst and market research ﬁrm that addresses the needs of the electronic and print customer communications management marketplace. Visit madison-advisors.com.
DATA SECURITY CHALLENGES IN
As we move into 2023, businesses need to be prepared for the challenges that IoT and AI will bring to data security. By understanding their data and implementing proper security measures, businesses can protect themselves against the threats posed by these new technologies.
In 2023, data security challenges will primarily revolve around IoT and AI Data security is an increasingly important issue for businesses of all sizes. With the advent of IoT and AI, the landscape is changing rapidly and new challenges are emerging. Here are three data security challenges that businesses will face in 2023:
1. IoT devices will be a major target for attackers — IoT devices are also proliferating rapidly. These devices are generating ever-increasing amounts of data, which is being used to improve our understanding of the world around us and make better decisions.
IoT devices are becoming increasingly common in business environments, but they often lack adequate security protections. Attackers will target these devices in order to gain access to corporate networks and data. Businesses will need to ensure that their IoT devices are properly secured against attack.
2. AI will be used to launch sophisticated attacks — AI is another technology that is becoming increasingly embedded in our lives and work. AI is being used to solve complex problems and automate repetitive tasks. It is also being used to create more personalized experiences, such as recommendations on what to buy or watch next.
However, it also comes with data security threats. AI-powered cyber attacks are becoming more common and more sophisticated. Businesses will need to invest in stronger security solutions and educate their employees in order to defend against these attacks.
3. Data breaches will continue to occur — Despite the efforts of
businesses, data breaches will continue to occur due to the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats
Businesses need to better understand their data and how it flows through their systems
Data security has always been a challenge for businesses, but as we move into an increasingly digitized and connected world, the challenges are only going to become more complex. To combat these challenges, businesses need to better understand their data and how it flows through their systems.
of data. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has already had a major impact on how businesses collect and use data. In 2023, other regions are likely to follow suit with similar regulations.
To comply with these regulations, businesses need to have a clear understanding of how their data is being used and ensure that they have the necessary consent in place. Businesses must also implement cloud archiving solutions to ensure that the data is properly retained and protected.
By understanding these challenges and taking steps to combat them, businesses can ensure that they are well-prepared for the future of data security.
Businesses need to put in place proper security measures
As digitalization and connectivity continue to grow, so too will the data security challenges facing businesses. To stay ahead of these challenges, businesses need to identify and fix any vulnerabilities in their systems and put in place proper security measures such as firewalls, encryption, and data governance.
Data encryption — Data encryption is a critical security measure for any business. It ensures that data is protected while it is being transmitted and makes it extremely difficult for hackers to access.
you also need to invest in endpoint security and email encryption.
Data governance — Data governance is a set of policies and procedures that are used to ensure that data is being collected and used properly.
One of the most important aspects of data governance is consent. Businesses need to obtain consent from their customers before collecting data. They must also provide them with a clear explanation of what data will be collected and how it will be used.
Data governance is also important for complying with regulations. Data governance policies help businesses stay in compliance with industry regulations, such as the GDPR.
Businesses need to educate their employees
One of the most important data security challenges businesses face is educating their employees on data security best practices. To create a culture of security, businesses need to educate their employees on data security best practices and make sure they are following them.
Employees should be taught how to identify phishing emails, how to spot red flags in social media posts, and how to keep their passwords secure. In addition, businesses need to have a clear data security policy in place that employees must follow.
One of the biggest challenges facing businesses is protecting data that is stored in the cloud. With more and more businesses using cloud services, there is a growing risk of data breaches. To combat this, businesses need to ensure that their data is encrypted and that they have robust security measures in place.
Another challenge that businesses will face is protecting data from cyberattacks. As more devices are connected to the internet, there are more opportunities for hackers to gain access to sensitive data. To combat this, businesses need to invest in strong cyber security defenses.
Finally, businesses need to be prepared for the increasing regulation
However, encryption can be complex, and there are many different types of encryption technologies. Businesses must take the time to understand which types of encryption technologies are suitable for their needs.
Firewalls — Firewalls are another essential security measure. A firewall is a network security system that blocks unauthorized access and protects data.
A firewall filters traffic, identifies threats and blocks malicious traffic. Some firewalls are also designed to prevent attacks that have already penetrated your defenses.
However, firewalls only provide a limited amount of protection. To ensure that your business is fully protected,
The rapid proliferation of IoT devices and AI is transforming the way we live and work. However, it also poses new data security challenges for businesses.
To protect against these challenges, businesses must invest in strong security defenses, including data encryption, firewalls and endpoint security.
In addition, businesses must educate their employees on data security best practices and create a culture of security. O
ALEX MORGAN is a passionate tech blogger, internet nerd and data enthusiast. He is interested in topics that cover data regulation, compliance, eDiscovery, information governance and business communication
IoT devices are becoming increasingly common in business environments, but they often lack adequate security protections.
WHAT THE ANALYSTS SAY…
From delivering a better customer experience to
we’re always looking to achieve our ever-evolving objectives and goals. To help us do that are some of the industry’s most trusted advisers. Here are summaries of a few of their recently released reports. Simply download and/or purchase the full report to learn more.
IDC MaturityScape: Content-Centric Workﬂ ow 2.0
To compete effectively in the digital-ﬁrst Future of Work, organizations need to move beyond simple digitized document workﬂows and deploy technologies that reengineer and optimize their content processes. Leveraging AI and advanced analytics to truly transform these workﬂows can allow human resources to focus on innovation and value creation, providing organizations with a signiﬁcant competitive advantage in this environment. This IDC study describes organizational characteristics at ﬁve levels of content-centric workﬂow maturity. Helping decision makers understand the current state of these workﬂows within their organization and identify the steps they need to take to progress through the stages.
Madison Advisors Automated Document Factory Emerging Trends Brief
Digital communications attract customers from environmental and process standpoints. However, in many enterprises, print production is disconnected from digital delivery. Software systems for automating print production processes have been available for decades. While often consisting of a suite of software tools, these automated document factory (ADF) solutions enable print operations to signiﬁcantly reduce manual processes and the tools provide piece-level tracking for legal and regulatory purposes. In a new emerging trends brief, Madison Advisors shares research collected from eight ADF vendors: their products’ capabilities, how they deﬁne an ADF and their thoughts on the future of the ADF market.
technology to reduce costs,
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WHO IS GOING TO HELP YOU WITH CCM/CXM?
What is the best choice for your company’s customer communications management and customer experience management? There is so much you need to consider that has the features you need, works best for your customers and best fits into your overall business strategy. To help you find the answer we have gathered a select group of companies, one of which might be the perfect fit for your business and your specific needs. Take a moment and give each company a good look, check out their websites and details, and then send an email or give them a call.
4Point is the global leader in documents and forms. We have helped customers move from paper to digital for decades. This unmatched experience makes us experts in digital transformation. Our incomparable knowledge facilitates successful transformations from paper to digital, giving organizations limitless opportunities to save money, increase efficiencies, and enhance end-user experiences. 4Point is an Adobe Gold Solution Partner that specializes in Adobe Experience Manager Forms. Our team is certified and trained by Adobe. This combination of Adobe training and our unmatched experience allows us to transform organizations’ processes from paper to digital around the world.
| www.4point.com | email@example.com | 613.907.6400
Compart’s goal is to support companies by automating their customer communication processes and making them more agile while also conserving IT resources. Our solutions offer functions as services that can quickly and easily be integrated into existing infrastructures through well-documented and easy-to-use web APIs and linked with third-party applications.
DocBridge products from Compart are designed to tackle the inherent problems of assembling meaningful data from multiple sources and presenting it to a specific customer segment in an appropriate context; batch or transactional. DocBridge products include modules to enable quality assurance, evidencing, orchestration, creation of accessible documents, Omni-channel distribution, as and document conversion technology that can digest nearly every data format while preserving original document attributes such as structure, annotations, barcodes, fonts, TLE’s, color, etc. | www.compart.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 877.AFP.2.PCL
Messagepoint is a SaaS-based, intelligent content hub that empowers non-technical users with a no-code solution for creating and managing customer communications across channels. Today, we’re disrupting the CCM landscape yet again with our latest innovation: Headless CCM. Headless CCM enables the highly personalized content managed in Messagepoint to be leveraged in the next-gen digital experiences your customers want. APIs power sub-second response times to securely deliver sensitive, customer data-driven content to support dynamic digital experiences across mobile apps, secure portals, and personalized videos. All this is made possible with Messagepoint’s unique modular approach to content management, which frees your content from document templates so it can be shared across touchpoints, channels, and experiences. www.messagepoint.com | email@example.com | 800.492.4106
Napersoft CCM Enterprise and Express Document Platform provides software solutions that automate the creation and distribution of all types of documents such as customer correspondence, policies, agreements, EOBs (explanation of benefits), statements, and other forms of personalized documentation. The Napersoft Customer Communications Management (Napersoft CCM) solution combines an easy-to-use document template design tool built on Microsoft Word along with a sophisticated server-based workflow engine that allows you to create and distribute documents in over 100 different languages based on your choice of process methods: Batch, Interactive and/or OnDemand. www.napersoft.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 800.380.1000
O’Neil’s ONEsuite© self-service CCM and CX Platform enables you to work from ONE integrated platform while transforming the entire customer experience. From Data Analytics and Business Intelligence, Content Creation and Delivery, Sales and Marketing, Journey Orchestration, and Omnichannel Communications, ONEsuite has all the tools you need. Now you can know your customer, communicate with them more effectively, and improve customer experience and satisfaction. ONEsuite was recently recognized by national industry analysts, securing a leadership position on the CCM-CXM Service Provider Aspire Leaderboard, a dynamic, digital-first, positioning grid that ranks service providers across the CCM and CXM industries.
| www.oneildigitalsolutions.com | email@example.com | 310.448.6400
Over 30 years of experience make Papyrus Software a global expert in process optimization integrated with inbound and outbound communication in customer-centric environments. Papyrus’ holistic approach enables solutions for the entire Customer Engagement Circle with integrated Omni-channel communication, Content services and AI-powered BPM & Case Management in a single platform. The flexible, scalable architecture and award-winning Papyrus Business Designer tools boost efficiency and enable IT & Business to quickly create batch, online, ad-hoc and interactive communication and processes for digital and traditional business. The Papyrus ‘Value Streams Thinking’ approach helps you automate and deliver your most critical business value streams in a fraction of time and cost to provide superior customer experience (CX) and stay ahead in the digital world. www.isis-papyrus.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 817.416.2345
When it comes to CCM deployments, we know a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. That’s why Quadient has built the only any-premise CCM solution on the planet. Deployable on-premise, as a hybrid, SaaS, or hosted managed service, Quadient’s Inspire Suite handles your most complex communication challenges — at every stage of your growth. With the highest-rated rendering engine on the planet, Quadient Inspire delivers unmatched speed and scalability, with no unexpected fees. We’re in the business of customer success. Your success.”
| www.quadient.com | email@example.com | 866.883.4260
Sefas’ clients include BPO’s, insurance, finance, government, and telecommunications companies.
WayPath Consulting is your go-to CX Platform implementation practitioner for all your digital marketing and compliance requirements. We implement scalable platform-based solutions, CCM, CRM, and CMS, that help you stay connected to and engaged with your customers. WayPath integrates software that is focused on improving customer communications and experiences with consistent branding, improved retention rates, and decreased regulatory exposure. Through our 25 years of experience, we understand the challenges of managing highly regulated content and its complex internal workflows. From data to printed or digital delivery, WayPath knows the entire workflow and will get you to the finish line faster!
www.waypathconsulting.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 437.247.1414
Think About It/ ERNIE CRAWFORD / / SCOTT DRAEGER /
“CUSTOMERS WON’T WAIT FOR INFORMATION VIA MAIL. THEY WON’T CALL CUSTOMER SUPPORT. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE IF THE SUPPORT SYSTEM IS TOO COMPLEX TO NAVIGATE.”
“IF YOU WANT TO AVOID POTENTIAL AUDITS, CONSIDER VENDORS WITH CLEAR CONTRACTS, SIMPLE SOLUTION PORTFOLIOS, OBJECTIVELY VERIFIABLE BILLING METRICS, SCALABLE GROWTH METRICS AND REPUTATIONS FOR TRANSPARENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS.”/ SWATI SAHAI / / MARC VONTOBEL
“According to Starmind, while most organizations have systems in place to store knowledge, 36% of knowledge workers find it hard to exchange information across different teams, while 47% say information is scattered across too many sources.”
“More than 2.5 million metric tons of North American printing and writing paper capacity has been offline since the start of 2020. Today, global supplies of certain paper products are so tight that many printers can’t get the stock that they need ‘at any price.’”
/ MIA PAPANICOLAU /
Using AI to detect content patterns in existing communications can help companies understand where they can consolidate or optimize their content. AI can be used to understand whether content is at a reading comprehension level for all clients to understand.