Scott joined the industry in 1997, after earning a B.A. from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He started as a document designer using several VDP technologies, before moving to the software side of the industry. He has more than 17 years of experience in the document composition software industry as both a transactional document designer and a software vendor. He earned his EDP and M-EDP certification from Xplor and his MBA in 2007 from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.
Delays in Customer Communications Management (CCM) platform consolidation and adoption are not good. They can increase technology debt, negatively impact customer experience and put an organization at risk for communications that are non-compliant.
Some CCM application owners say; “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” When you hear this, you can be sure there are some broken parts that are being overlooked. So what can a company do to help ensure their consolidation and adoption process can be fixed? Here are a few steps to consider:
1. Start with a Needs Analysis
One of the keys to a smooth consolidation and adoption process is to begin your unified CCM platform journey with a needs analysis. Have all the key stakeholders discuss, debate and nail down exactly what the new CCM platform will need to do and provide. Make sure there are more people at the table than just the current users, as a great CCM system will engage many roles in the organization. This will make it easier to determine which solution is the best match and play a big role in making sure the integration process goes smoothly.
2. Demonstrate Positive ROI
Having the support of senior management is critical to expediting the consolidation of CCM. How can this be done? By driving the conversion around ROI.
Project leads can prove to the c-suite that consolidation will be a good investment by focusing on three pillars:
- People: by consolidating CCM the number of people resources required to support customer communications management will be reduced.
- Process: replacing manually-intensive workflows with automation for document and content changes will lead to operational gains in efficiency.
- Technology: the retiring of legacy systems and the enhanced capabilities gained from converting to a single-source CCM platform will eliminate technology debt.
3. Obtain Buy-in from All Departments
CCM consolidations cruise along a lot better when everyone is rowing in the same direction. The challenge is that in most organizations individual business lines often handle their own customer communications and do so through their own legacy systems. As a result, they may be reluctant to change from what they are used to. This can make for turbulent waters during the consolidation process.
To counter this, time should be invested upfront, in order to convince potential rogue departments of the CCM advantages to be gained by their group, the company and the customer. Having every department buy in means they will have a vested interest in seeing that the consolidation is a success. Make sure every department has a “win” in the new program, to keep them interested and motivated to succeed.
4. Plan Out the Migration
It’s important not to skimp on the amount of time required for the migration planning process. Every stage and step should be given ample time so that proper consideration and thought can be put towards each requirement, issue, challenge and scenario. Technical aspects, risks, mitigation planning, when the legacy systems will be sunset, training sessions—everything must be reviewed, debated and dealt with. In your current environment, many application teams have a different concept of “fast” implementation, so understand how the new system can speed up your business processes.
5. Use Technology
Companies can defer to human resources to execute the migration process but the scope of the task and its tedious nature is sure to put a strain on internal resources, bog down the process, and lead to incurring costs for additional manpower. By employing modern technology instead (i.e. artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing), the pressure on internal resources will be alleviated, the need for outsourcing reduced, cost savings realized and timelines maintained—even possibly accelerated.
6. Keep Everyone Up to Speed
Any type of system consolidation is a big deal. Employees have been doing things a certain way for a long time. Generally, people don’t like change. It’s the unknown and it’s unsettling. Companies can help employees come to accept the idea that a new, consolidated CCM platform is arriving soon by keeping them abreast of the implementation progress with regular updates. Being in the know will make employees feel like they are part of the process and help them look forward to the launch of the new platform which will aid in a smoother transition.
The final stage to expediting CCM platform consolidation and adoption is training. Thorough, rigorous training will ensure each employee understands the benefits of the new platform and how to leverage them. Ideally, the training should be organized in logical modules, and walked-through over a few sessions so employees have time to process and digest everything. Real-life scenarios for employees to set up and execute should be incorporated into the training as well. When the official training has concluded, post-session questions are inevitable. To address these, have a designated staff of CCM platform experts available to respond and instruct in an expedient manner.
The right technology can be the difference between a CCM platform consolidation staying on track or being months behind. Learn more about how to ensure a smooth transition in this new Madison Advisors whitepaper, "Platform Consolidation Made Easy".