Over the past few years, we've seen many clients neglect their customer communications management (CCM) environment. These clients have fallen several versions behind when it comes to CCM solutions. They now are either out of support, or they pay extra for extended support for what are really end-of-life software versions.
Your Customer Communications Management software should be easy to use, and promote great customer experience, and consistent branding.
That's why it's so important to address the business benefits of CCM modernization. There are three keys reasons to upgrade:
- To create a better customer experience.
- To promote consistent branding and look-and-feel.
- To improve manageability and create faster turn-around.
Too often organizations ignore these business benefits, believing that upgrading CCM software is expensive and labor-intensive. Nobody wants to pay for an expensive project where there's no clearly defined set of business benefits other than simply improving support, stability, and features.
We understand: These are expensive projects—but they get more expensive the longer you wait.
It takes business stakeholders to address any IT modernization effort.
Sooner or later, you’re going to have to spend the money to move off aged or unsupported solutions. In our experience, the organizations that gain momentum and make significant progress are those that address real business benefits at the same time as they deal with IT modernization imperatives. That's why it takes business stakeholders to force the issue and drive modernization efforts.
Given how expensive an upgrade or migration can be, this means expanding project scope to deliver real business benefits, even if that efforts winds up increasing costs. The focus for IT and the business alike should be on improving the customer experience, creating a consistent brand, and boosting CCM software manageability.
The three business drivers of CCM software modernization.
1. Make your documents more customer-friendly and impactful.
If your CCM platform modernization project simply calls for a “lift-and-shift” of existing templates, you’re missing a big opportunity to make your documents more customer-friendly and impactful.
CCM modernization requires that you define overall standards for how you want to communicate with customers. This includes guidelines for clarity, simplicity of language, and the tone of the communications. While in some instances the language you use will be dictated by regulations, in other cases regulations only dictate what you need to say. This gives you latitude in how you say it.
2. Standardizing document layout and design reinforces your image and brand.
As with customer experience improvements, composition platform migrations provide the opportunity to standardize the design of customer-facing documents. By developing standards for document layout and design, you can take advantage of the opportunity to reinforce repeatedly your image and brand. All of your customer-facing documents can have a common design that reflects branding standards.
3. Content re-use leads to easier CCM manageability and a faster turn-around.
If your upgraded environment embraces the concept of content re-use across templates, you’ll make maintenance and changes easier for IT. For example, changing a signature graphic that appears in 27 different templates no longer requires making a change to all 27 templates.
With modular templates, changes will be faster to implement, especially for those alterations that span a collection of documents. This is welcome news for business stakeholders who likely experience frustration with how long it takes IT to implement what they consider to be simple changes to document templates.
Check list to prepare for a CCM modernization effort.
While it can be challenging to build the case to define business benefits, we encourage IT groups dealing with CCM solution obsolescence to partner with business partners and form teams that can deliver on these benefits. Doing it right does involve some heavy lifting by both groups, embracing several steps.
- Inventory your documents.
- Determine which documents actually are in use, and which ones can be retired.
- Determine which documents are redundant or similar.
- Develop modular templates with variables and practical levels of re-use.
- Ensure that templates adhere to your branding and writing standards.
Without this heavy lifting, all you’re providing is a like-for-like replacement when you modernize your CCM environment. If you're not careful, the price tag of modernization only will grow over time.