Document Management From a Customer Communications Management Perspective

Susan AndreArticles


Creating effective customer communications is a core business process within the any enterprise. Efficiency, flexibility, usability and power are absolutely essential when composing dynamic, mission-critical documents for print and Web. The design and composition of dynamic documents should enable organisations to fully and successfully respond to dynamic market forces and a rapidly expanding technical landscape changes.

The drive to enhance shareholder value has rippled through every department, however, IT spending in particular has come under increasing scrutiny. The new mantra of every CIO is "do more with less," so companies are attempting to:

  • Re-engineer business processes to pare with operational costs.
  • Reduce the number of vendors they manage to reduce the total cost of ownership.
  • Ensure IT initiatives have a 12-18 month return on investment – or better.

CEOs and CMOs, needing to fuel top-line growth, are taking a fresh look at the impact customer communications have on their revenue, their costs and their image. Adoption of CRM initiatives and one-to-one marketing techniques has raised customer expectations for personalised communications and service.

CMOs recognise it's more profitable to keep customers than to re-acquire them.
Shrinking product lifecycles require compressed schedules for product launches and promotional campaigns. New delivery channels have created the need to control corporate branding and image across multiple media. An increasingly global marketplace demands that communications match customer requirements in every corner of the world.

Meanwhile, increased government regulations keep Compliance Officers and Privacy Officers busy ensuring their companies are not plagued with costly lapses in conformance.

In addition to changing market conditions, shifts in technology have also raised the bar for what a new customer communication management solution should be:

  • Business users are universally familiar with word processors and Web browsers.
  • XML-based open standards are also being adopted as the means to exchange information across the enterprise and with customers and suppliers.
  • New delivery channels – from web to wireless devices to full-color digital presses – and mixed host environments require a breadth and depth of R&D investment previously unseen.

Companies require the flexibility offered by browser-based and component-based solutions that can be quickly integrated with their business systems and deployed in a distributed operating environment.

This changing technology landscape coupled with dynamic market forces demands an innovative new standard in customer communication and document management.

Introducing An Highly Effective Process.

Extending Customer Communications Beyond Document Composition

The process:

If you consider that documents are "born" on the day they're generated, and conceived even earlier, then their lifecycle extends well beyond the day they come into existence. Software solutions (Customer Communications Management (CCM )and Document Management (DM), such as DOC1 from Group 1 achieves, must enable businesses to control the entire document lifecycle, from content design, generation, and presentation to archive, retrieval and electronic payment.
An integrated approach to customer communication management starts with the Market phase. The impact and effectiveness of customer communications is increased if businesses can construct intelligent marketing and message campaigns. There are currently extremely sophisticated software packages available to assist businesses in achieving this goal.
Following the Market phase is the Create phase. This is where document design and composition takes place, providing targeted content for dynamic documents used across the enterprise.
In the third phase, Deliver, print and electronic documents are deployed to both internal and external recipients.

And finally, the desired result of any customer communication is a response from customers – a payment, additional purchases, a deepening business relationship. The Service phase helps enterprises service customers quickly and effectively after document delivery – driving additional business and starting the lifecycle of communication over again.
By empowering the enterprise to create and manage one-to-one communications for multi-channel delivery, benefits such as the following can be realised:

Increased marketing effectiveness

Revenue is maximised through targeted, high-impact cross-selling and loyalty
campaigns. This is achieved by merging variable data with content to create
full color personalised brochures and statements with targeted messages,
newsletters and direct marketing campaigns. Customer loyalty is therefore strengthened while your customer acquisition costs are lowered.

Drive call center costs down while improving service

Through enabling web-based self-care via a strong online presence.
Call handle time is reduced and callbacks can be potentially eliminated with instant access to online customer documents by using electronic document management (EDM) solutions.

Improved cash flow

Payment with clear, easy to read invoices is accelerated.
Billing and contractual disputes can be resolved faster by enabling collections specialists to e-mail contracts and invoices to customers while on the phone. Secure online payment reduces remittance errors.

Keep customers loyal

Through one-to-one communication and using your customer's preferred medium, fast customer service, web access to important statements, invoices and bills with online payment anytime, anywhere keeps customers loyal.

The current trend: using integrated solutions
Managing every aspect of customer communications…

  • Create full color, personalised business documents for maximum impact
  • Market products and services with intelligent messaging and targeted campaigns
  • Produce documents by the millions or on-demand with a single high-performance engine
  • Deliver bills, statements, letters, intelligent reports and other mission critical documents via
    print, fax, Web and secure e-mail
  • Service customers quickly with instant access to archived, exact replica customer documents with a single, integrated solution, (such as Doc 1 from Group 1, distributed by Alicornio Africa).

Technical information.

Features to considering when evaluating software solutions:

Usability Features: Intuitive user interfaces, for designing document content.

  • Role-based interfaces for designing document content,
  • User roles and privileges managed via system log-in,
  • Centralized dashboard for all document creation and production activities,
  • Browser-enabled,
  • Ability to tailor user experience for novice, intermediate and expert users, dynamically configurable editors,
  • Configure document access privileges

Productivity Features: Integrated, shared design repository based on relational database technology,

  • Manage re-usability of all resources in a repository (create once, use anywhere),
  • Collaborate on document development tasks across work groups,
  • Control document composition via an administrative function,
  • Administer user profiles, privileges, projects, access rights and groups from a single interface,
  • Automatically track and control the history and version of each document object (both logic and content),
  • Enable controlled entry-level user access to complex content created by skilled users, Organize communications in a hierarchical manner, enabling efficient assembly of multi-document publications)

Performance Features:

  • Fast production engines for batch composition,
  • Collection of all document logic, objects, data formats and resources,
  • Ability to produce multiple output formats in a single pass

Architecture Features

  • Support for .NET and industry-standard network protocols (http, .NET, TCP/IP) ,
  • Ability for Web-connected authors to compose via a browser, secure browser-based authoring via http and .NET

Global Communication Features

  • Unicode format support,
  • Automatic conversion of data to correct code page for output devices,
  • Support for DBCS (double byte character sets) including multiple DBCS code pages and system-wide GUI support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages,
  • Help files in different languages, Integrate support for Locales (automatic formatting based on geographic location)