How inkjet technology can power the new customer communications delivery hub

Susan Cotter
November 21, 2018
By Susan Cotter
ThINK 2018, held September 5-7 in Boca Raton, Fla., demonstrated once again the power of bringing together the print community to share innovations and best practices. With Canon Solutions America as the executive sponsor, thINK is an independent community of Canon Solutions America Production Print customers, vendors and print experts. This year’s conference featured 25 sessions and valuable networking time, providing educational opportunities and hands-on learning for newcomers and veterans alike.

As inkjet technology matures, utilization opportunities are growing at a rapid pace. Technology advancements are allowing for continued migration of new applications to cost-effective colour communications. These advancements, paired with strategic investments in customer communication management (CCM) technologies, are opening up new growth opportunities for enterprise users and print service providers.

As senior analyst, program manager at Madison Advisors, I partnered with Jason Fonner of HM Document Solutions (HMDS) to present how HMDS transformed its traditional in-plant print operation into a true customer communications delivery hub and centre of excellence in a session titled, The new customer communications delivery hub, powered by inkjet technology.

Session highlights
Production inkjet technology is becoming the latest catalyst for digital transformation for traditional print operations. The session focused on best practices for a CCM journey and how HMDS is using new CCM tools, advanced workflow management software, and leading-edge document delivery systems to transform its print operation into a dynamic full-service CCM centre of excellence.

The session focused on digital transformation and a shift in corporate leadership and strategies to adapt technology to better meet customer communication needs in both print and electronic communications. A CCM strategy focusing on a comprehensive approach to outbound communications results in higher levels of customer satisfaction and new client acquisition.

As demonstrated by HMDS, the print operations team has in-depth business and organizational knowledge that assist in streamlining the development of customer communications, while maintaining the security, compliance and quality controls that must be established to protect member/client information. Print operations are oftentimes an organization’s final line of defence for brand compliance, becoming a key element of a successful communications strategy.

Developing a digital approach requires an organization to think like the customer. What information does the customer want, and when and how do they want it? This includes the ability to bridge the gap between online and offline channels. As HMDS demonstrated, creating a centre of excellence that includes representatives from multiple business units affords a single source of truth for all customer communications. HMDS utilizes Canon’s PRISMA technology to increase efficiencies in its production and to provide input for reporting and overall program governance.

Madison Advisors and HMDS partnered in the CCM journey by creating a transformation roadmap based on six vital steps.

Step 1: Optimization strategy
The first step is to review, clarify and document customer communication goals relative to revenue enhancement, cost and risk reduction, customer experience, and retention by:

• Preparing a comprehensive current state of operations,
• Mapping out the desired future state,
• Identifying barriers, and
• Setting improvement priorities.

To achieve these goals and outcomes during this step, HMDS engaged with Madison Advisors to gather data on the scope of CCM in the healthcare and insurance markets, including potential revenues and recommendations. After completing the documentation of current state and future state, the improvements were identified and priorities were set. Before moving forward, a high-level return on investment analysis was developed to gain organizational buy-in.

Step 2: Discovery and analysis
The goal here is to collect key data elements, including an inventory of all current communications, related work activities, volumes and overall cost to produce. The desired outcomes of this step were:

• Prepare a comprehensive inventory of all communications,
• Assess workflow processes and outline pros and cons, and
• Establish the total cost of data collection and documentation.

This step was critical for HMDS as it utilized a number of document management tools. Reviewing the capabilities and costs of each tool presented options for routing and load balancing for multiple locations using PRISMA. HMDS was able to also identify opportunities for template consolidation. Another important part of this step was identifying future services and the enterprise goals for CCM.

Step 3: Target operating model
At this stage, we developed an optimized operating model based on the company’s specific output requirements. The desired outcomes of this step were:

• Build a production model,
• Assess the technology platform,
• Develop a pro forma financial statement,
• Construct a governance model, and
• Create market best practices and benchmarking.

The creation of the HMDS Target Operating Model identified a CCM technology platform compatible with PRISMA that promoted load balancing and the ability to print within any location. This model was also used to create a pro forma with savings opportunities.

Step 4: Strategic roadmap
At Step 4, a strategic roadmap was created for implementing the optimization initiatives that are consistent with the overarching business goals and strategy by:

• Documenting all requirements,
• Finalizing the Target Operating Model, and
• Identifying internal and external resource requirements.

This important step included preparing request for proposal (RFP) requirements and specific use cases for the planned partner technology summits. Use cases for user self-service and load balancing were set as priorities. HMDS engaged enterprise resources to identify the appropriate business units that would participate in the partner technology summit in order to gain acceptance across all interested parties.

Step 5: Partner and technology selection
Step 5 identifies resources and partner screening, creates scorecards and implements techniques needed for the proper selection and negotiation of service and technology providers. The desired outcomes of this step were:

• Schedule technology summits,
• Execute RFI/RFP with scoring and evaluations,
• Perform site visits, and
• Request proofs of concept from the short list of partners.

The HMDS team identified the partners selected for the RFP and attended technology summits to include solving for specific use cases. Each participant submitted their score cards for partner analysis and finalists were selected for a second meeting. HMDS selected to utilize the Océ Color Stream 3900 supported by PRISMA and a decision was made afterwards for a CCM software partner.

Step 6: Transformation strategy
In this final step, documentation that supports the business case for change was outlined, including expert analysis and the desired impact to various stakeholder organizations within the company. Here, we:

• Created a detailed statement of work based on RFP requirements and required service level agreements (SLAs),
• Developed a project plan with assigned resources, and
• Formulated a Cost Benefit Analysis/ROI to provide guidance and governance for the project team.  

To achieve these goals and outcomes during this step, HMDS’ investment in a CCM platform was key to providing the benefits of a superior communication platform for members/clients using multiple channels with consistent messaging.

The investment in Canon technology allows HMDS to bring 20 percent of the work previously outsourced back in-house, along with the ability to provide new services to both internal and external clients.  

Technology leaders must be prepared for disruption. HMDS’ strategy is a prime example of how to be successful during a digital transition and the importance of adopting a customer service mindset.  

Susan Cotter is a senior analyst, program manager at Madison Advisors with over 20 years of experience in consulting in the business communications and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries. She is well-versed in customizing solutions for business process re-engineering and the outsourcing of business-critical back office functions using technology to achieve automation.

This feature was originally published in the November 2018 issue of PrintAction, now available online.

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