CCM Directions for the Roaring ‘20s

As nearly all analysts make their prediction of what’s to come in 2020 regarding customer communications management (CCM) technologies, let’s take a look at it not from the vendor perspective but from the user/customer perspective. The vendors are mostly focused on AI-powered analytics and branching into customer experience (CX) domains, but are the corporate CCM teams and initiatives ready for this? The answer: they’re getting there but have a way to go. Many still have foundational elements to implement to make their CCM and CX objectives a reality.

The Challenge of Integrating New Tools and Tactics

Scott Draeger, vice president of customer transformation for Quadient, said that as CX pushes CCM beyond a narrow marketing focus to more comprehensive communication design, “This will challenge CCM teams to look at new tools and tactics that will help them improve the quality of the communications they deliver to their clients.” He’s right on. Yet, many of these new tools and tactics actually live outside of core CCM functionality. So, as CCM vendors continually add capabilities to their stacks that assist with these efforts, the crossover with existing tools and technologies becomes even greater. This is one of the big challenges for CCM teams and strategies moving forward into the Roaring ‘20s. Those who recognize the integration demands and tackle them early will be ahead of their peers.

AI-Powered Analytics to Improve Targeted Personalization

More data and more sources can mean increased integration points, but more importantly it means better information through AI-powered analytics on both the front end and back end to help improve targeted personalization and concise experiences. This is a major 2020 focus, with firms scrambling to integrate better customer insights into online experiences and on-demand communications. Those striving for ongoing two-way conversations using mobile technology and apps are wholly dependent on this level of insight and integration.

Document and Form Rationalization as the Push for Content Modernization Continues

A renewed emphasis on document and form rationalization, driven by shared content components is emerging, especially at firms that delayed these investments due to the large inputs required to streamline and simplify 20 years’ worth of legacy content. Driving consistent digital experiences is nearly impossible using legacy content, and certainly not operationally efficient. Firms are looking to modernize their content as well as their technology in 2020 by reducing redundancy and creating shared content components to leverage consistent messaging across products and lines of business.

AI is also being used to assist with content rationalization. Those looking to reduce the number of documents and forms under management are using AI-based content analytics to accelerate the effort and reduce cost. Dramatic savings can be realized versus the previously predominant methods of manual sorting and logging in voluminous spreadsheets. Many of the CCM vendors have jumped on this as they realize the migration cost was a major inhibitor to project approval, but as would be expected, the CCM vendor’s tools are directed at making a straight-line migration into their own toolset. As many firms are still dealing with heterogeneous CCM environments, third party analytics tools and existing AI platforms can be used to accelerate the rationalization and componentization efforts. Expect to see more of this in 2020. It’s not as sexy as talking about advanced CX capabilities, but it’s fundamental to making the legacy transition.

The Next Frontier

The next frontier for the Roaring ‘20s is CCM integration with digital assistants that can truly drive or effectively participate in contextual conversations. Some are doing this today, but we’ve all had both good and bad experiences with early attempts in our personal lives. Combining big data, AI-powered customer analytics and a sound approach to content rationalization leveraged in modern CCM tooling will continue to drive new methods of customer engagement as well as efficiencies in many support and services centers.

Moving forward, some of what’s old is new again, but the age of analytics-driven CX is upon us. We’ll be seeing plenty of innovation in the CCM space throughout the new Roaring ‘20s — let’s just hope it doesn’t end the way the previous ‘20s decade did.

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Rich Medina
Tom Roberts
I’m a Principal Consultant for Doculabs with more than 25 years experience, focused on delivering strategies that improve clients’ enterprise content management capabilities, with an emphasis on customer communications management strategies.