CCM BI Software a Unique Offeringin in SA Market

Susan Andre 2004

Customer Communication Management and BI Software Symbiosis
Alicornio Africa Offers Unique Services in the South African Enterprise Intelligence Market

Alicornio Africa, (previously Sagent Southern Africa), leading BI training and consulting specialists, and exclusive local distributors of the Sagent Solution, recently announced their latest strategic development in enterprise intelligence management systems.

Alicornio Africa will pioneer the introduction of a unique combination of BI plus Information Integration software and a Customer Communication Management (CCM) application, namely the Sagent Solution and Doc1 respectively. Following the re-launch of Sagent Southern Africa, under the name of Alicornio Africa, Managing Director, Susan Andre confirmed that, "We are the first and only local BI consultancy to offer the exclusive combination of the Sagent Solution and Doc1. The fusion of these two radically different software suites presents businesses with the potential to boost document creation capabilities by aiding the preparation of data and integrating information in support of customer communications management – a challenging task at hand in many organisations."

The Sagent Solution is highly advanced software developed to enhance enterprise intelligence within an organisation. Core competencies of this fully integrated technology suite include: the ability to provide a solution to almost every data related challenge a business may experience for example: data migration, replication, integration, cleansing, enhancement, forecasting, distribution, automated exception notification, advanced analytics, closed loop analytics and the most recent addition – Customer Communications Management.

Doc1 has been specifically designed for document creation processes; core competencies of this product include content design, generation, presentation, printing, archive, retrieval and electronic payment. By combining Doc1 power objects with a self-documenting logic map, developers are able to create and produce dynamic communications using a browser-based design tool. Doc1's workflow helps to track the project status through design, approval, unit testing, system and acceptance testing and production process management.

These solutions have a marked benefit for many industries, the marketing industry or function, being one of note. The Doc1 – Sagent Solution symbiosis offers marketers and businesses enhanced and unlimited control over messaging and specifically targeted and messaged campaigns. In addition there are no restrictions in terms of messaging content and formatting. The selection criteria can be based on data that is part of the application as well as data from campaign management, predictive modelling, demographic environments and other third party sources.

It is noted that through the implementation of these technologies, businesses can potentially benefit with hefty 250% or more time reduction, in the development of document applications. Furthermore, response rates to direct marketing can be potentially doubled whilst also strengthening client loyalty through 1-on-1 messaging. Applications can include statements and bills, or any medium used for direct mail.

Andre says, "Additional benefits comprise the reduction in telephone-call handling costs therefore customer satisfaction is improved through streamlined service provision." Print costs and mail costs can also be dramatically reduced through an electronic or online presentment.
Since the South African Revenue Service has accepted the legality of e-mailed invoices it has raised the profile of electronic billing considerably.

An additional key benefit to this transactional document solution is that the user has access to data in a faster and more flexible environment. Essentially the enhanced flexibility in data usage allows the users to effortlessly create personalised documentation, whilst utilising a variety of data sources. This implementation does not alter the documents underlying layout or design. The new Doc1 Data Flow Server, which incorporates the Sagent engine in the Doc1 suite, provides advanced data integration technology, enabling users to extract, transform and load large volumes of data, as well as perform queries, analysis and reporting functions in real time. Using a unique visual diagramming workbench, users can extract, join and transform data natively form a plethora of sources including databases, flat files, spreadsheets, ERP and CRM systems as well as Extended Markup Language (XML) based documents.

In detail, when used in tandem, Doc1 and the Sagent Solution will give businesses the ability to prepare information in a highly cost effective, user-friendly manner for usage in customer communications management project environments. To illustrate the concept in question, the Sagent Solution will enable the document creation application, Doc1, in this case, to extract, join and transform data natively from various sources, such as multiple databases, ERP and CRM systems, whilst simultaneously reading large amounts of data from mixed sources.

Further to this, the application will deploy sophisticated algorithms and send single file results into Doc1 and other applications. Andre confirms that, "The results can then be implemented on a mass scale, in order to create personalised documents such as statements and bills, using several data sources and without changing the original layout of design."

The scalable architecture allows the Doc1 Data Flow Server to simultaneously read large amounts of data from heterogeneous sources, apply sophisticated algorithms and then sends the resulting information to any target third party application, including Doc1, a relational database, a flat file, custom reports or analysis cube. Susan Andre say's, "The biggest hurdle to producing consolidated statements, which used to involve extracting and consolidating data from multiple sources, is a thing of the past! The logic map and new power objects such as the transaction tables greatly simplify development and maintenance of complex applications."

The functionality of the technology is based on the ability to assign message attributes and comments through priorities using a simple tree structure. Sophisticated white space management places the optimal number of messages on the top of the page based on available real estate and individual message priorities. The automated workflow function routes the message and comments through reviewers in due sequence. Once the message reaches the final approval stage, it is stored in a campaign message file until it is called into the application during the production phase. Due to the fact that the message file is separate to the parent application, messages can be safely and accurately added to documents at the last minute without requiring the base application to be recompiled.

Lastly, over and above the mentioned features, emphasises Andre,"The greatest advantage of combining the Sagent Solution with Doc1 comes from providing a single platform for a variety of information thirsty projects. Typically these projects require information stored in disparate sources, and therefore a great deal of effort and resources are ploughed into accessing this data, working with it and preparing it for targeted use. Having the power of Sagent makes this task simple and turn-around time is unrivalled, no matter what the application requirements of the information integration."

Alicornio Africa includes training and consulting services on the implementation of these technologies in order to facilitate businesses reaching long-term objectives. These services also include documentation design, data extraction and analysis, application development, integration assistance and pre and post- production services (address correction, mail sorting/ arrangement and electronic distribution, to name a few). For further information contact Alicornio Africa on (011) 258 8739, email info@alicornio.co.za visit the website on www.alicornio.co.za.