Content Services: Expanding the Role and ROI of Customer Communications Management
Not that long ago, customer communications management (CCM) would be a part of most companies’ operations department since it was all about automating the printing and mailing of massive amounts of documents. Now, though, CCM has to serve both print and digital channels, so it’s moving under the digital experience (DX) delivery umbrella and becoming an integral piece of an organization's customer engagement hub. That means the CCM buyer is changing. Here's why that's a good thing.
Choosing and buying DX software is a collaborative process between IT and lines of business, but IT is often taking the lead. IT researches, vets and selects technologies, and then they check with line of business (LOB) leaders to make sure solutions fit use cases. IT has to make sure tools and technologies meet their criteria first. Does it work with the long-term digital transformation strategy? Can it be integrated with other elements of the customer engagement hub? Does it offer functionality that can be extended to other applications in the DX platform? No matter how much business users want a solution, if it doesn’t check the right boxes for IT leaders’ long-term strategic plan, it won’t be considered.
Changing Enterprise Software Landscape
Topdown has been in the CCM business since 1979 (we incorporated in 1981). In our experience, during most of that time, IT was only peripherally involved in the buying process. We generally only interacted with them when we went on-site to implement. Now IT is much more involved, much earlier in the process. And even LOB leaders are more technology savvy these days. For example, we’re seeing more digital product owner titles these days. That’s because now more than ever software is seen as key to innovation, and innovation as critical to revenue growth.
Buyers used to come to us with well defined use cases for which CCM was the obvious solution, such as correspondence management. Now we're seeing a wide variety of different use cases that are more focused on capability than product. For example, organizations need to draw upon customer data coming from multiple sources to create highly personalized communications (in some cases by the millions) and distribute them via any and all channels customers might choose. They need to be able to create a communication in one app and send it via another. They need employees across the organization to be able to access records of customer interactions from marketing to e-commerce to customer service. They need to be able to send copies of the same correspondence to multiple recipients via multiple channels.
The Solution Is Content Services
Organizations that are well along in their digital transformation plans are seeing the value of solutions that are built using content services that work both within their applications and can be decoupled to work with other apps via APIs to flexibly address other use cases as well. That’s how the DX architecture of the future will work — at the service layer.
Forrester analyst Cheryl McKinnon (@CherylMcKinnon) supports that conclusion with Solve Your Top Content Challenges With Flexible, Modern Platforms (Forrester Research, Inc., November 3, 2017), her research into how flexible, modern platforms can help solve enterprises’ top content challenges. For McKinnon, intelligent content services are the key to pulling all the pieces together. See the illustration, below, for the capabilities of a modern content platform.
Analysts are moving toward a capabilities-meets-use-case worldview. Research is customer journey-driven now, rather than falling into strict product categories. It’s because of the overlap of purposes and capabilities among software solutions that we're seeing the dis-integration of enterprise software and the rise of services and cloud deployment.
Topdown is already there. INTOUCH®, our new 100% cloud-based CCM solution, is built using microservices and containerization to serve the needs of organizations that are building out their customer engagement hubs with this kind of power and flexibility at the core of their customer experience technology purchasing strategy.
✓ Library and repository services
✓ Metadata services
✓ Life-cycle management
✓ BPM/digital process automation
✓ Customer communication management
… and integration with the rest!
CCM is so much more than transactional communication now. Perhaps you’ve never looked at the product category because you don’t think it’s something you need. But if you look at a CCM solution like INTOUCH as a collection of content services and powerful APIs, you’ll see that it enables omnichannel communications and has capabilities you can leverage to solve additional use cases. And the more use cases you can address with a single software purchase, the more you can compound the return on the investment. We like to call it "technology amortization.” Who wouldn't prefer to get more out of their investment?
To find out how the content services included in INTOUCH can help enable your organization’s digital transformation strategy, give us a call or use the button below.
About John Zimmerer
John Zimmerer is the senior director of marketing at Topdown, where he leads market research and outreach efforts for the company's customer communications and customer experience products. Most recently, John has been researching and writing about the future direction of the technologies that power customer experience, and is regarded as a thought leader in this area. John has nearly 20 years of software product marketing experience. His areas of expertise include market research, analyst relations, public relations and digital marketing.