Information Management

New Graduate Finds his Calling as an OpenText Consultant

Consultant OpenText Germany

Like many new graduates fresh out of university, Benjamin Panzer didn’t have a clear concept of the type of work he wanted to do. A self-described “explorer type”, Benjamin did, however, have an idea of the types of things that he valued in an employment opportunity: the ability to learn every day, an opportunity for career growth, and the chance to voice his ideas. At a career fair, Benjamin was introduced to OpenText. He explains, “From the very start of the conversation with OpenText, I felt that the spirit and open mind set of the organization, and the room for opportunity to develop personally and professionally, made this company appear to be exactly what I had been looking for.” Three and a half years later, Benjamin feels that his initial outlook on OpenText was spot on. Benjamin has thrived in the unique global environment, and in a short time has been promoted from Junior Consultant to Consultant within the Professional Services function of the organization. He chalks this down, in part, to our organization’s global scale and Canadian roots, which motivate him. “The very best thing about OpenText for me is that it’s the perfect combination of several global influences. The German mentality of high commitment, teamwork, and almost familial culture; combined with the global perspective, as well as the Canadian and American spirit of facing challenges head on and getting things done.” Benjamin also appreciates the location of the OpenText Grasbrunn office. It’s very close to Munich and the Alps, so Benjamin is able to enjoy city life and outdoor activities with friends: skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and enjoying the beautiful landscape. The office culture in Grasbrunn is also appealing to Benjamin. “When you enter our Grasbrunn office you will notice the open culture, open minds, and the high volume of great ideas. It’s a place of engagement, but also a place to just feel appreciated and acknowledged by your colleagues. We have great areas to have a chat or a delicious coffee together. This environment provides the foundation for our winning teams to succeed.” Visit our Careers pages to find out more about Consulting at OpenText and the global opportunities currently available.

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ECM Success in the Real World, Part 2: Email Management

email management

Welcome to the second in a series of blogs highlighting real-world enterprises that have adopted innovative, new approaches to generating measurable success with ECM. This blog turns the spotlight on an organization that’s effectively managing massively growing volumes of email to mitigate risk and cost. As we all know, unabated email growth has become a thorn in the side of most organizations. Annual growth rates of 500 – 1000% are common. Consequently, the traditional “keep it forever” mentality just doesn’t fly anymore; company after company has discovered it’s a one-way ticket to harried records managers, irritated legal staff, and runaway storage costs. What’s the recipe for success, though? One of my favorite customer panels from Enterprise World this year featured pipeline and terminal operator NuStar Energy sharing their journey to optimal email management. Their back-story is fairly conventional. As a relatively young company, NuStar had devoted most of their early operational efforts to fundamental, “keep the lights on” activities; there wasn’t the resources or bandwidth available for developing and implementing Records and Information Management (RIM) policies. In my experience, that’s actually a pretty common refrain for many organizations, regardless of their maturity. And the outcome was predictable, as well. Leaving the end users to manage their own email footprint resulted in rapidly rising storage costs and concerns from Legal and Records Management (RM) about locating information for litigation and compliance purposes. Simplifying is the Key to Success Time was of the essence for NuStar, and the management team’s strategy for bringing their email challenge under control embodied a novel, new way of thinking about implementing ECM. Rather than attempt a traditional ECM integration that blanketed every facet of the enterprise, they identified a specific, tangible issue—email management—and set about sourcing and implementing the appropriate technology and best practices to solve it. Everything, from policy development to change management to user training, was directed toward that defined goal. And, honestly, the results reflect that singular, focused mission. NuStar has been able to realize optimal governance by integrating ECM deep into the email process. They also enhanced productivity by providing a new generation of employees with the options to work the way that’s best for them. There’s much more, behind the success of NuStar’s story—including the OpenText technology that enabled them to achieve a light-touch, multi-tiered email management program and lay an ECM foundation that’s being systematically extended throughout the organization. Take a few minutes to read all about NuStar’s dramatic advances here. As an aside, it’s interaction like this that has me so excited about Enterprise World every year. Being able to experience first-hand how one organization has addressed and conquered email challenges with a solution that makes RM, legal, and business users happy is worth its weight in gold. If you weren’t at Enterprise World this year, start by exploring the NuStar story above, then mark your calendar and plan on attending Enterprise World 2017 in Toronto next July. There’s plenty more where this came from! Also, read the blog on ECM Success in the Real World, Part 1: Document Management.

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Managed Services Increase the Value of Your Conversion Rate Optimisation Program

managed services

Full disclosure: I work at OpenText™ Optimost, an optimisation vendor, with a 15 year heritage in Managed Services. We believe you’ll achieve the greatest ROI from conversion rate optimisation (CRO) when you combine a testing platform with Managed Services. As marketing spend tightens and responsibilities increase, there is more pressure to prove returns from digital marketing campaigns. Where organisations do not have dedicated resources to maximise the value of their online customer experiences, the optimisation program suffers and does not adequately address weaknesses in the conversion funnel. A successful CRO program not only addresses the immediate successes of campaign ROI, but also improves longer-term KPIs such as customer satisfaction, retention rate and customer lifetime value. Optimost Managed Services is designed to facilitate optimisation maturity. We help organisations that are new to A/B and multivariate (MVT) experimentation and consult with organisations aiming to increase customer engagement and improve business results through targeted content and personalised digital experiences. We see ourselves as an extension of a digital marketing team, working to maximise ROI and customer experience. How OpenText Optimost Managed Services works An Econsultancy report concluded that 67% of organizations they surveyed lacked a structured approach to improving conversion rates. Is that reflective of your organization? Without structure, it is difficult to properly execute your optimisation strategy. Strategy and a measured, consistent approach will protect the optimisation program from succumbing to the fire drill of the day. This is where we can help. The Optimost Managed Services structure ensures each client has dedicated resource in account management, technical services and analysis: Client Managers are responsible for the operational execution of the testing roadmap; managing each experiment from inception, launch and post-experiment analysis. We have in-house Technical Consultants to build sophisticated experiments, create custom JS tracking, run feasibility studies and integrate data with 3rd party platforms. We have a team of Analysts to help with statistical significance, post-analysis segmentation and data-driven recommendations. In addition, we employ a Strategic Consultant (like me!) to work across all clients, to deliver extra-curricular strategic services. Client requirement is broad but ultimately includes anything that adds value to their optimisation roadmap; examples include: Solution Design Reference for a new web analytics implementation Data-driven prioritisation of a client’s testing pipeline Auditing DataLayer requirements for testing Propensity Models based on user behaviour collected via listening exercises; User journey and Funnel analysis Competitor analysis; Industry benchmarking Integration with 3rd party analytics and session replay vendors OpenText Optimost Managed Services methodology For each client, we build a client portfolio, following a BUILD-UP framework, which  concentrates our efforts to data-driven optimisation, to match business goals and priorities. Consequently, this framework generates a pipeline of test ideas where every experiment is borne from quantitative research; user studies; session replay; and qualitative sources such as customer feedback, NPS and/or Survey verbatim. Here is what the framework looks like: Business Objectives User Journey Analysis Industry benchmarking Look for segments Data-driven Hypotheses Understand Priorities Plan resources The BUILDUP framework effectively helps us complete the research and hypothesis stages of our CRO plan: The data-driven testing pipeline is then run through our SELECT prioritisation model to establish which experiments meet client objectives and allows us to test the most important things first: During Testing and Feedback, every Optimost experiment has an agreed Primary KPI defined and agreed with the client, as part of the test plan. Experiment success is reported on Primary KPI. All other metrics associated to an experiment help provide indicators to what may have helped ‘move the needle’ of the Primary KPI. Optimost has a technical team to build custom tracking for every experiment. This is really useful to plug gaps where a web analytics tool is not configured to capture such interactions. Each custom counter has up to 5 attributes that can be associated, to facilitate post-analysis segmentation. We also combine data sets, whether it’s Google Analytics, or the client’s internal database to track profit and returns. Optimost analysts cut through all the noise and advise next best action for every experiment. It is acknowledged that when measuring tests at 95% significance, there’s a 1 in 20 chance of a false positive. So, we work in waves when running experiments; we repeat experiments to prove that a result seen in Wave 1 was not just a fluke, but shows repeated form. The Optimost console has the ability to remove outliers and cut results by different segmentations, to provide greater clarity on KPI success. All the results from our experiments feedback into the research phase of the CRO cycle. A flexible optimisation model Optimost employs a credit model system, based on testing output, rather than hours consumed. The credit model is flexible, so as needs grow, additional credits are available to purchase, or if testing efforts are paused, credits remain available until ready to resume testing. Optimost also offers VisualTest, a self-service tool, which we use to perform low-effort experiments; quick wins and nice to know experiments, such as content changes and landing page redirects. The most powerful aspect of the self-service tool is Audience Builder; built-in segmentation to target experiments based on Device technology; Geo-location; Time of day; Custom JavaScript values; Cookie values; Referrers and URL parameters. Use of the self-service tool is complimentary to Managed Services credit model. From a Marketing lens, this tool is used to optimise email and PPC landing pages, internal search term redirects and localise content based on device/geo/time of day/cookie value. At Optimost, we continue to value Managed Services as a valuable extension of our product, much like that of a conversion agency. For more information on developing your CRO approach, read “The Case for a Hybrid Web Optimization Strategy”.

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The Redefined Customer Journey – Remove System Friction

redefined customer journey

The customer journey is being redefined in the digital age from a linear process to an ongoing loop of BUY then OWN with the companies you choose to deal with becoming more and more engaged in every part of the cycle. So far in previous posts I’ve discussed what that on-going loop looks like from a customer perspective and how the loop model aligns the customer’s activities to those of the organization, and which departments need to work together to deliver the continuous connected experience. As we continue to dig deeper into the journey map the fourth layer (above) connects the departmental level activity to the typical enterprise systems that record, drive, and promote the various aspects of the customer’s journey. These processes and systems have to interact. Technology bridges need to be established to allow data to flow between them to ensure a consistent experience and to maintain a relevant, valued engagement. The platforms in use must promote a sufficient degree of interoperability that allows the multiple interactions to work together. But unfortunately the truth is that they rarely do. How many times have you transitioned from trying to do something on a website, had to call a help desk to get your goal completed and they already know your account details and what you want to accomplish? Rarely, if ever. It shouldn’t be that way. I recently moved house and needed to change my address on various accounts. Simple I thought; just go on the various companies’ websites, open my profile, and edit the details. In most cases that worked, but in a few cases I had additional questions and needed to make a call. With one credit card company I had a question about why my statements had stopped being delivered. The call went something like this: Automated System: Please state your name. Automated System: Say or input your account number. Automated system: What’s your account safeword?  (Note not the account password, but a separate “safeword” I set up when I opened the account years ago and have never needed to use since – of course I had no idea what it was). Me: I have no idea. The Automated System passed me on to a Call Center employee. Call center: How can I help you? Me: I need to change my address and I have a question about my statements. Call center: What’s your account safeword? Me: I have no idea. Call center: I have to pass you on to our security team. Wait while call is transferred. Security team: How can I help you? Me: I need to change my address and I have a question about my statements. Security team: What’s your account safeword? Me: I have no idea, that’s why I was passed to you. Security: OK I can help you with that. What’s your name and account number? (Information I had keyed in the automated system at the start of the call and which the first call center person had). After some back and forth we eventually got the “safeword” thing sorted out. Security: I’ll hand you back to the customer service so they can set up your payment plan? Me: Sorry? What payment plan? I just need to change my address and I have a question about my statements. Security: Oh. Hang on. Wait while call is transferred. – Get a different customer service rep. Customer service: How can I help you? Me: I need to change my address and I have a question about my statements. Call center: What’s your account safeword? Me: You have got to be kidding me! To cut a very long story short I eventually got my address changed and asked about my statements not getting delivered. You guessed it, I got transferred yet again to a different department and went through the same run around. It turned out that when the account hit zero balance they stop sending statements. When I pointed out that it might be nice if they sent the account holder an email to let them know about that policy, or put something on the statements themselves, or even their website; I received a “oh that’s a good idea” response. An idea I doubt will get passed on as I’m sure billing and the website content are yet two more siloed operations. Ideally silos between systems such as the ones I encountered need to be broken down, but as a minimum they should be bridged by data sets that can be easily transferred. Such data sets should reflect the information to support the customer at any given point in their journey and grow incrementally in detail as the customer progresses through their series of interactions with the company. Ideally at no point should a customer have to provide information that they have already supplied earlier in the process. It’s all about removing the friction from the process. The processes and systems you employ shouldn’t define the customer experience, they should support it.

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Do You Know What You Don’t Know About Your Content?

content management

How can you read 174 Newspapers a day? Seems like an impossible task, yet according to one study that is the print equivalent of how much information we are exposed to each day across all media, both traditional and digital. So how can the actual news and information publishers compete and make their content stand out among such a data overload?  In previous posts I discussed the driving forces behind the changes in the publishing industry and how taking a content first hub based approach is the best strategy for underpinning the digital transformation needed to address the changing market. But what about the content itself? Placing content at the center of the new business model, it becomes possible to move towards an iterative workflow across the organization, providing a way to address the challenges of digital transformation by controlling, enhancing, tracking, and leveraging assets that can be delivered across multiple channels and platforms. However any content-centric architecture also raises several issues that must be addressed when considering what approach to take and what technology solutions to adopt. You need to know what you don’t know about your content so you can produce, manage, and distribute the most informative content via the right channels where it can deliver the most value. The following represents the most common content-related issue statements: Don’t know where all the content has come from: With today’s proliferation of information sources that lead to assets being copied and used without attached attribution, it is often difficult to track where an asset originated. Don’t know what content we have: It is not unusual for organizations to have digital asset management systems with as many as one million assets stored. In the news and information industry, this may be tens of millions, with daily uploads in the hundreds of thousands. Don’t know where all the content has gone: With a large number of assets, it is difficult to track what content has been used where, and what content assets are related to each other. When an asset is updated, it can also be costly and time consuming to ensure that out of date assets are replaced if needed. Don’t know what we have the rights to use or the cost of using it: With licensed imagery, and image and news wire subscription services, an organization needs to keep track of what it has already purchased the rights for, where they can be used, and how that relates to the costs of those subscriptions. Don’t know how to best leverage our content assets across platforms: In today’s multi-channel model, assets can be used multiple times across different delivery platforms. Often, they can be reused as-is, but sometimes they need editing, resizing, or combining to meet the needs of particular audiences and devices. It is essential to be able to track such reuse and the relationship between original and edited assets. The use of assets in external platforms could also be considered a potential additional revenue stream and as such, need to be tracked. Don’t know if we are allowed to use it or who we owe money to: Where assets are obtained from external services not covered by existing licensing or subscription services, it is essential that news and information services ensure that they have the rights to use those assets, and if a usage payment is due, be able to identify who owns that asset and the costs of using it. All of these “don’t knows” can be addressed with the OpenText™ Content Hub for Publishers platform. OpenText™ Content Hub for Publishers Content Hub for Publishers (CHP) is the platform for the receipt, enrichment, creation, packaging, delivery, archiving and syndication of all forms of publishable content. The platform is designed to handle the large volumes of content that newsrooms across the world are exposed to on a daily basis, and efficiently manages the repackaging and distribution of that content to multiple publishing channels, such as web, print, mobile and tablet.

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Cherry Picking Makes Employees Frustrated

call center coaching

Have you ever had a performance review with your boss where he or she picks the absolutely worst issue to talk about?  Has this ever created the perception that your boss was “cherry picking” the specific scenario just make a point?  Well, you shouldn’t feel alone. There is a natural tendency for a manager to talk about the worst, or most recent case to make a point. For the millions of customer-facing employees around the world, this means your last customer interaction is your next coachable moment. And with the average call center agent taking between 40-80 calls per day, it is easy for a supervisor to find an example just to make a point. Most coaching starts with phrases like: You Never Say Thank You You Never Offer the Deal of the Day You Never Read the Compliance Disclosure But is it true?  Most coaching programs only barely reach a valid sample size, and even with the best intentions, agents often perceive interaction selection as a cherry-picking exercise designed to find more fault than praise. This is the cherry-picking dilemma. So how can quality monitoring (QM) programs target a “theme” such as upselling, empathy or script adherence without cherry picking the negative? Our new innovative approach is scoring ALL the interactions and removing the randomness from the approach.  The new OpenText™ Qfiniti solution, Qfiniti AutoScore uses analytics-driven scoring to monitor every customer experience and allows companies to quantify skills proficiency, script adherence, customer satisfaction and even score an agent’s ability to sell. Want to learn more?  Join me on October 20th, register for the CRMXchange webinar, “Agent Evaluations – The Cherry Picking Dilemma”.  Register now, I hope to see you there. Don’t miss our previous blog posts on Qfiniti AutoScore: Quality Assurance and Customer Experience Monitoring Can Now Be Automated OpenText WFO Software Launches Qfiniti AutoScore for Analytics-Enabled Scoring  

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When Personalization Backfires


A colleague of mine recently shared a story from The New York Times about a woman who signed up for an app to take her day-by-day through what to expect during pregnancy. Sadly, she lost the baby soon after, and let the app know. The app sent condolences, but seven months later a free sample of baby formula arrived at her door. What seemed like a good idea to personalize and win a customer, became a #marketingfail. What likely happened? Profile details from when she signed up were probably shared with companies that partnered with the app (as second party data) or sold eventually to advertisers (as third party data). The company would have had the best of intentions, she fit nicely into a customer profile, a segment that many companies could target. The problem was second and third party data ages quickly, and unfortunately, there was no feedback loop for these parties to receive this critical update. Sarah Haggett, an optimization expert at OpenText, leads a team that works with clients looking to improve and personalize their digital experiences. She regularly cautions against using data that’s even a few months old. “The data we can create and use is based on what our customer is trying to do right now or in the last few weeks, not what they were doing several months ago,” she says. “We should aim to understand what they want now, rather than make false assumptions based on old data.” Here is another example of targeting gone wrong, in an article by a colleague, as well as tips on how to prevent it strategically. Treat target audiences as human beings Marketing is often focused on acquiring new customers. Getting them to register. Getting them to buy, and then keeping them buying. We have many options now with marketing technology – an estimated 3,874 marketing technology solutions, according to – and of course, so much data about site visitors, customers, prospects, etc. We want to nurture leads and create a path for them along the marketing and sales funnel. However, there isn’t a straight line through a funnel, the customer journey has hurdles, diversions, and loops, as is explained well in this blog.  Thinking of website visitors as more than a segment category is also important. The reality is that there are ups and downs, and many touch points that make a prospect or customer feel satisfied (or not) with a brand at any given time. The customer service experience impacts how they feel. Marketing efforts impact them. And they can reach a pivotal moment to either engage further or disengage completely, based on these experiences. While marketers (like me) apply broad brush strokes of buzzwords and seek cool ways to study and reach prospects and customers, we need to anchor ourselves to what truly matters: treating each contact as another human being, with compassion, dignity, and interest. We need to ensure technology enables us to do this through the entire customer journey – whether it involves targeting, personalized messages, cloud applications, interconnectivity, or the next new thing. If we remain customer-centric and continue the quest to truly understand each person we’re targeting and to reach out to them appropriately, we should experience success and avoid faux pas.

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Announcing…The First Cloud Fax Solution Built Specifically for Healthcare

cloud fax

Faxing remains one of the top methods of patient information exchange in healthcare. Despite this dominance, healthcare providers continue to use fax solutions – most notably fax machines – that are a security risk, inefficient and disruptive to workflows, and especially aren’t designed for the unique needs of the healthcare industry. Today, OpenText announced the launch of OpenText™ Fax2Mail for Healthcare, the first cloud fax solution built specifically for the US healthcare industry. This new solution, which combines the reliability of OpenText cloud faxing with an easy-to-use, intuitive portal powered by Kno2TM, brings patient information exchange and clinical workflows together in a single solution. Improving patient information exchange, starting with cloud faxing First and foremost, isn’t it time to get rid of fax machines? The first step is to get providers to move away from paper-and-toner faxing to a digital form with cloud fax. The compliance risks, inefficiency and productivity loss with paper-based, manual faxing are well understood, yet the use of standalone fax machines continues to prevail. Cloud faxing with OpenText Fax2Mail is an easy way to start to transform how patient information is exchanged.  Fax2Mail enables the secure and encrypted electronic exchange of clinical documents, reducing compliance risk associated with paper-based faxing. Fax2Mail eliminates all on-site infrastructure, providing the easiest form of faxing available, allowing you to focus on patient care. More than “just another cloud fax solution” With the introduction of OpenText Fax2Mail for Healthcare, faxing, Direct messaging and other forms of electronic exchange are combined together in a fully compliant, interoperable patient document exchange platform, ultimately, improving patient care.  The new solution includes powerful tools that mirror existing manual workflows and streamlines them, eliminating paper-based and manual patient information exchange to digitize and simplify the document trail and expedite access to patient information. Designed for administrators and clinicians, OpenText Fax2Mail for Healthcare delivers the right patient information to the right provider at the right time. Combing all forms of patient information exchange while digitizing workflows makes this a cloud fax solution like none other in the industry. OpenText Fax2Mail for Healthcare is an easy-to-use, interoperable platform that: Reduces the burden of paper-based and manual healthcare workflows and enables digital transformation in the healthcare industry Combines all forms of information exchange and manages healthcare workflows in a single location with built-in integration to external systems, such as EMRs Enables fully electronic, interoperable, digital patient information exchange to connect with other healthcare providers using any form of common exchange such as fax, Direct messages and electronic document exchange Eliminates fax machines and fax-related onsite infrastructure, software fees, telecom charges and capital costs Learn more about OpenText Fax2Mail for Healthcare.

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Digital Asset Management Underpins the Customer Journey

Digital Asset Management

This article on LinkedIn about the customer journey is excellent, because it’s not just the usual one-sided, “how to engage and attract more customers” spiel. It speaks to the entire Customer Lifetime Value and the importance of continuing to delight customers AFTER their purchase or acquisition, and therefore can become a win – win for everyone involved. Many of us think in pictures and images rather than words, and the exponential growth of digital media assets is a proof point of how you can delight and interact with your customers during all points in their customer journey. Organizations are now discovering the value of Enterprise digital asset management (DAM) to help them to truly “media-enable” their businesses. To do this requires a digital asset management Platform in order to integrate and share assets as well as metadata, with systems like product catalogs, customer support, training and loyalty programs. All of which can enhance the customer journey with your brand, and at any touch-point with any device. Digital asset management is required as a core technology for Customer Experience Management and the continuous customer journey. Read this article on LinkedIn to learn more. Also, download this white paper for more information on the customer journey in a digital world,  “A Better Way to Engage – Redefining the Customer Journey for a Digital World”.

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ECM Success in the Real World, Part 1: Document Management


With everyone turning their attention back to work after enjoying the hazy days of summer, I thought it would be a good time for a series of blogs that rekindle the discussion around success with ECM, what it means, and how to achieve it. The reason: Regardless of your type of organization, positioning your ECM environment to drive digital transformation and generate the most value for the enterprise has to be a priority over the rest of the decade. For many, it will mean the difference between competitive triumph and faded irrelevance. For starters, let’s head back to July, where our annual Enterprise World conference offered a wide variety of business and technical insights into the why and how of ECM success. As is always the case, some of the best came from sessions featuring OpenText customers. These are the folks who have already integrated elements of OpenText™ Content Suite into their existing infrastructure and made tangible progress toward realizing their ECM goals. They’ve experienced the real-world opportunities, challenges, and gains first-hand. Integrated real estate company DDR Corp. is a perfect example. Headquartered just outside of Cleveland, DDR owns and manages over 113 million square feet of retail space across the US. Efficiently servicing their large pool of tenants means managing a sizable amount of legally binding documents, as well as coordinating the physical and electronic triggers related to each. In addition, as a publicly traded, self-administered REIT, DDR has extensive compliance requirements. Their road to ECM success through digital document management is textbook. IT VP Kim Scharf has been visionary in driving process productivity through ECM technology. She’s spearheaded a multi-year initiative that’s transformed the company from literally chasing folders full of paper around the office to a finely tuned digital environment that meets the needs of executives, sales, legal, record managers, and the back-office support functions that work with the data. For DDR, ECM success is defined as a paperless document management environment that promotes efficiency and optimal customer service while meeting compliance obligations. And Kim believes it was achieved because—yes—they partnered with OpenText, but more importantly, because they put people, not technology, first. From executive sponsorship through needs assessment, change management, and training, stakeholders across the company were integral to defining and implementing every stage. That’s just one of their innovative approaches. Explore their story and find out more about digital transformation and Enterprise Content Management.

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Girl Interrupted. A Story of Relentless Marketing Artificial Intelligence

artificial intelligence

Bzzzt. Bzzzzzzzt. In my hotel room after three days of marketing conference sessions, an after party, and a bonus Cirque du Soleil show, I squint at my phone: 12:48 a.m. I know it’s Vegas, but who is emailing me at this time? Ugh. I need sleep before my flight in the morning. Someone named Michelle… Michelle, Michelle… No, not ringing a bell. Phone down. Lights out. Fast forward to Friday night, back home. Ah – time to catch up on some well-deserved, uninterru— Bzzzt. Bzzzzzzt. Same time, same name, same inbox ping. Ignore. Then, Saturday night, again. Then Sunday night. Who was this relentless person trying to reach me at all hours, and apparently wanting to discuss marketing software?! Unbeknownst to me, until I spoke to a couple of colleagues later, Michelle was a bot. (NOTE: Bot name changed to protect the not-so-innocent). Ah, makes sense now, but one to file under #marketingfail. Intelligent, yes. Artificial? Absolutely When it comes to evoking empathy and human manners, we still have a way to go when it comes to marketing robots. Take this case below as an example: Every subject line read: [Company name] reaching out (ID Number). The first email started with “Good evening Denise, Heard you were talking about me earlier today!” No. I wasn’t, thanks. The final email was the kicker, saying she had sent me a few emails and “for one reason or another, we haven’t been able to connect.” This bot needs to soften her approach and be less self-absorbed. Her scheduled contact times also fall short. But, it’s not just me who’s had a poor experience with bots. This past spring, Microsoft created a Twitter bot to engage with users through automated conversations. In less than a day, Microsoft had to delete posts and halt activity on the account. Part of the problem was due to Twitter users manipulating the bot, and another part of the problem was the bot itself. The Uncanny Valley In the 1970s, a robotics professor Masahiro Mori introduced the concept translated as “the uncanny valley”. Basically, the idea is that the closer a robot appears to be human, the more someone observing or interacting with it will have a positive, empathetic response. But the human in the situation will eventually reach a point where there is a strong sense of unease. Research seems to support this. Originally, this concept was focused on physical engagement with a robot, but I’d argue that it also applies to the non-visualized robots that we’re starting to interact with. Helpful and amusing – until there’s a real crisis A recent medical study took a look at smartphone robots a.k.a. conversational agents or digital assistants – and how they respond to a user experiencing a crisis. They wanted to see whether these agents (like Siri, Google Now, etc.) could 1) recognize a crisis 2) respond respectfully and 3) refer the human to an appropriate hotline. What the researchers concluded was that there was a lot of inconsistency and room for improvement. While there were some crisis phrases that the digital assistants did recognize and try to help, there were also cases where they missed. None of the agents recognized “I am being abused”, some didn’t recognize “I am having a heart attack”, and most had trouble referring users to hotlines for mental health issues. What’s next? We in the tech industry are working to create better customer experiences – while also automating processes at scale. We need to continue acknowledging this gap –  “the uncanny valley” – of automation and robots while still aiming to personalize and treat people, well, as people would. It’s important that cool technology doesn’t offend the humans who engage with it. The journey isn’t finished; we need to add enough human charm to attract real buyers. Who are still people. At least for now. For more on how the digital revolution, automation, and artificial intelligence will continue changing the way we work and live, read this blog post.

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Revive Your Struggling Testing Programme With a Hackathon


There are a lot of posts out there with titles like “10 A/B testing mistakes you are making”. They offer advice on sample sizes and statistical pitfalls. Truthfully however, few conversion programmes struggle because of this type of mistake. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) has been a “thing” for a while now, and there is a lot of expertise out there. In reality, the most common reason for a programme to struggle to make a lasting conversion impact is simply this: People are not working together as efficiently as they could. If you see this problem in your company, try holding a CRO hackathon. What is it? It is the CRO testing version of the well-known hackathon concept. It’s a one- or two-day event where all those who need to be involved in CRO come together in a friendly competition. Why should I do it? Here are five good reasons: A captive audience. A hackathon helps you attain the undivided attention of colleagues you may find hard to get time from on a regular basis. Organizational buy-in. You increase knowledge of testing in your wider business. Your colleagues experience the end-to-end process of optimization and see the benefits first hand. This will increase the level of investment they have in your CRO programme – and make them more likely to help you in future. More ideas. You will build up a pipeline of testing ideas to develop further. Some really great ideas emerge when people from many areas of the business get together in one room. You can get tests up and running quickly. The hackathon usually results in at least one test being launched – when you everyone together it’s hard for anyone to be a roadblock. Team building. Practice working together as well-oiled CRO team. Hackathons can be a much better and more popular form of team bonding than “trust falls.” What would a typical CRO hackathon schedule look like? Here is an example schedule for a one day CRO hackathon: 9am – Arrivals, coffee and breakfast 9.30am – Introduction The introductions needs to clearly explain the following: The goal of the CRO hackathon. The hackathon “task.” This could be a wide remit to generate test ideas for a certain area of your web site, or a challenge to solve a very specific problem that has been identified by reviewing analytics data. It’s great to have your analytics team present the data and investigations that led to this task to be chosen if you can. How the winner will be chosen. We usually recommend having an initial winner picked on the day, and then a another winner picked based on the usual KPIs to be announced once the tests have been run to real traffic. Any rules – for example areas of the page that are off limits. You might also include an introduction to CRO in general if the attendees are fairly new to it. 10am – Divide into teams and generate test ideas Divide the attendees into teams, which ideally have one person from each functional area.  It’s easier of you have planned the teams in advance. You may also choose team leaders, or leave them to naturally emerge.  Each team then generates as many test ideas as possible to meet the hackathon challenge. 12pm – Lunch 1pm – Choose and refine the best test idea If you have analysts with you, you can spend a little longer on this section and try to look for real evidence supporting each idea. 2pm – Build a prototype and presentation The more technical members of each team collaborate to produce a working prototype of the idea using your testing platform. This can be refined later, with quality assurance occurring after the day, then launched to real traffic. In addition, the business-focused team members prepare a presentation including the hypothesis and why this was chosen as the best idea. They aim to convince the judge(s) that this idea is the most likely to get conversion gains. 4pm – Present finalised idea Each team presents on their idea, and shows off their prototype. 4.45pm – Winning test idea chosen A senior person or panel of judges decides which presentation was most convincing and awards the ‘best on the day’ prize. A few days later – Test launch The test or tests are launched to live traffic. A few weeks later – Winners declared After the pre-agreed test run time, the tests are analysed and the winner declared. Set up a follow up session to present the final results, including prizes for the winning team. Who should I invite? Your boss – Perhaps the CMO, CTO or head of e-commerce depending on where CRO sits in your organization. Often the boss gets to pick the initial “winner” on the day, giving a real life test on whether “HiPPOs” add value! Web analysts – They own and understand key data on how your customers behave on your site. The ideas that are generated have a much higher chance of success if some data analysis is included. User research – If you have teams performing other user research such as usability studies or surveys, their insight is very valuable. Also, marketers who have conducted industry research and developed customer personas can provide great input. UX – Designs are more likely to succeed with well qualified UX input. IT/Development – To build the test or to advise on any technical limitations. Product/category owners – Anyone who has ownership over the areas of the site you aim to improve should be invited. Visual Design – To advise on variation design, and provide assets such as icons, buttons, banners etc. Compliance – Because if you are in a compliance-heavy industry, nothing goes live without their say-so. Call centre/live chat operatives – This may seem like an odd idea, but these people interact directly with customers and know what type of complaints they have. If you can’t bring in people, then tools like OpenText™ Qfiniti can provide insight on customer interactions. Testing vendor – OpenText™ Optimost facilitates CRO hackathons for our customers. We also provide the technical resource to build the test variation prototypes, and our Customer Success Managers contribute ideas based on successes we’ve seen previously.

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Luke Skywalker – Content Jedi or Joker?


Mark Hamill is a good guy. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions in the past, and was looking forward to his closing keynote at the recent Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. But the keynote address from the man best known for playing the hero of the Star Wars movies never materialized, instead Mark sat down for a Q&A session with Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi that proved to be both highly entertaining and thought provoking. Hamill endeared himself to the audience straight away by referencing a blog post from content marketer Michael Brenner, which despite its provocative title sets out a coherent thesis on the connections between the hero’s journey that informs the Star Wars mythos and storytelling in marketing. And it was to storytelling that Hammill returned to several times during his conversation by reinforcing that the most effective form of communication, the one that we are all hardwired to understand, is storytelling. The basics of effective storytelling is key not just to marketing, but to all business communications. While “Luke Skywalker” was entertaining, it was another guest earlier in the day that proved to be the inspiration of the conference. When comedian Michael Jr. was introduced no-one really knew what to expect. His brand of observational stand-up humor soon had everyone laughing, not an easy thing to achieve on the last morning of an intensive conference, but it was his asides about how you tackle challenges that inspired. In particular he outlined the idea that in life and professionally, it’s not so much about what we do, it’s about why we do it. The ‘what’ can change many times (it’s the tactical aspect), but the ‘why’ (the strategy) should remain the constant. The same applies to any business transaction, and communication. What we do won’t matter and won’t achieve success unless we know why we are doing it. On the flight home after the conference I thought again about that last day. I’ve been to innumerable conferences in my career, and enjoyed most of them, I’ve listened to some great speakers, even some brilliant ones, deliver a wide variety of keynotes, but they all tended to be speakers that you would expect for any given conference topic. Yet here at a marketing conference was a comedian and a movie actor providing some of the most powerful insights, and judging by the Twitter stream for the conference hashtag, the most memorable moments. It made me think, how are we delivering our story? Are we using the usual line-up of experts and influencers? Maybe it’s good to consider bringing fresh eyes and voices that create as powerful an impact as a Jedi Knight and a joker did for me that week in Cleveland.

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8 Signs Other Than Lift That Prove Testing Program Success

testing program success

When it comes to testing program success, lift is undoubtedly the most popular or most used metric to measure success. The reason for its popularity is that for executives or sponsors of the testing program, it is tangible and can be measured in dollars and cents. That said there are many other less tangible ways of measuring success. Here at OpenText™ Optimost we believe it is important to recognize, and embrace, less tangible measures because they often signal current and future success.  In this post, I’ll cover 8 additional ways you and your cohorts can measure the success of your program other than lift. 1. Your program follows a well-established process Having a well-established, repeatable to process is important. Without a process, it is easy to miss deadlines, tasks fall through the cracks and projects are de-prioritized. These pitfalls often lead to less testing and less impact on the business. To circumvent any negative impact to your business and your program, we recommend establishing a process that outlines steps to completion, resources involved, responsibilities and expected turnaround times. 2. You have buy-in and participation from management Buy-in from management is critical. Without buy-in from management, your program has a high probability of being underfunded or ignored. Get buy-in from management by getting your boss involved in the process early on and continually communicate your learnings and ROI of the program. The more involved your boss is, the more likely you are to receive praise and receive additional resources to expand your program. 3. You create and follow a strategic, data driven roadmap The biggest disservice you can do to your testing program is not build a roadmap. The roadmap helps set the cadence of your testing program, ensures that your tests are all driving towards specific goal(s), and ensures everyone impacted by testing are on the same page. To guarantee the most success, make developing a data-driven roadmap one of your top priorities year after year. 4. All departments participate and contribute to testing Testing relies on a number of internal resources to be successful including IT, Analytics, Marketing and Design. IT helps deploy code, Analytics farm testing opportunities, Marketing determines strategy, Design provides the design variations. It’s important to establish relationships early on, help educate them about testing and the important role they play in the success of the program. Nurture those relationships by including them in important meetings and giving them praise during your regular testing recap meetings. 5. You utilize a variety of testing tactics It’s easy to get wrapped up in running AB tests exclusively. They are quick to implement, often times show a great deal of success and results are easy to interpret. That said, a successful program utilizes a variety of tactics including MVT, segmentation and personalization. This approach is similar to personal investments in that utilizing a number of different tactics helps mitigate risk and maximizes return. Spread the love. 6. You learn (and earn) from your losses More experienced testers understand that there is no such thing as a failed test. Results of tests that perform poorly or differently than expected help inform the next set of tests and often lead to results that are much more positive. When you come across a loss, use the data available to you to find out why it performed poorly and make the appropriate adjustments. 7. You’re not afraid to take chances Again, much like investing, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. A successful optimization program takes chances and goes beyond the boundaries set by traditional brand marketing. Try something drastic, break out of the brand guidelines and upset your superiors – it pays dividends. 8. You communicate and celebrate results regularly Perhaps a blend of some of the other seven successful signs, communicating and celebrating success regularly is vitally important to the success of your program. Communicating results helps gain buy-in from both management and your cohorts, but it also provides you the opportunity to show your success. More importantly, it helps create efficiencies within the organization. For example, many of our clients utilize their best practices to help inform future landing page or site redesigns. Kick your testing program into gear by applying these eight strategies today. Here at OpenText Optimost we pride ourselves on building successful testing practices within our client’s businesses. We would love the opportunity to kick-start your program. If you need help applying these eight strategies to improve your testing program, get in touch with us at

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Secure Information Exchange – Forgotten in your Digital Transformation Strategy?

secure information exchange

Regardless of the widget your organization makes or service it provides, at the very core of every organization is the information that fuels its decisions and ultimately, its success. And that information exchange between an ecosystem of connected customers, suppliers, and business partners must be secure With information as the currency of the digital economy, organizations don’t succeed just based on size, scale, access to resources, or geographic presence—it’s the degree to which they can take advantage of information to innovate and grow. It’s critical that organizations connect business processes across their ecosystem, and secure the information flows that support those processes. Not only is this essential for business continuity, it’s a must for efficiency and productivity in a hyper-competitive digital economy. As more and more organizations adopt a digital transformation strategy, a key component to remember is the transformation of how information is securely exchanged. Digitization must include tools for secure information exchange that support operational gains while improving agility, employee productivity, and higher levels of compliance to reduce risk. While many organizations have sophisticated systems in place to exchange raw data, large files, and many forms of content, there is one technology that continues to persist in every corner of the world: fax. Despite being a 150+ year old technology (yes, it’s true!), faxing has remained a steadfast communication method that provides a direct and secure path for exchanging information. Organizations which do not have a digital transformation strategy that includes a secure information exchange component stand the risk of inefficiency, higher costs, slower gains and lower productivity, as well as security and compliance risks. As an integral part of secure information exchange solutions, electronic fax servers and services are designed to integrate with back-end systems to facilitate the secure exchange of content to and from those applications. Some considerations when choosing an electronic fax solution include determining the needs of the business, process or workflows and evaluating vendor capabilities that fit your needs. While most electronic fax solutions are alike in their core functionality (sending/receiving from email, centralized fax management, tracking and reporting), be sure to choose a vendor that your organization can truly consider a trusted partner, vested in your success as much as you are. Not all vendors are alike, in both capabilities and vision. Seek vendors with advanced, proven functionality, and those which are able to demonstrate a vision that supports your goals and aligns with your digital transformation journey. Ideally, seek a vendor that has capabilities that include but are broader than secure information exchange solutions:  a vendor that can ultimately help you transform your organization to support a fully integrated Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platform to help you on your journey to digital transformation and create a better way to work. Base your secure information exchange strategy on digital, enterprise-grade fax solutions. Then build a robust communication ecosystem that is integrated and automated to reduce risk, enable compliance, and accelerated time to revenue. Whether you choose an on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid model, secure information exchange can transform your business.

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Quality Assurance and Customer Experience Monitoring Can Now Be Automated with OpenText Qfiniti

quality assurance

Contact Center Quality Assurance (QA) teams today provide two critical services to their contact center organizations. First, they document agent performance so that every agent can be given meaningful feedback about their job performance. In many cases, they also deliver this feedback directly to the agents. Second, data collected by call evaluators is analyzed to calculate scores that management can use to stack-rank agents, determine training or compliance gaps, and measure script adherence and skills proficiency performance trends. Using a sample of calls to conduct one-on-one coaching about agent performance is an effective method to improve agent performance. I’ve never heard a call that my contact center quality assurance teams couldn’t coach in a super-meaningful way. For reporting purposes, however, what happened on a just few calls is not an accurate predictor of what happened on the hundreds of other calls handled by the agent that were not evaluated. When the agent says, “I almost never do that,” they could very well be telling the truth. Time, and several more evaluations will tell, assuming that someone is watching for a trend. As speech-to-text solutions have matured, more contact centers are considering using automated solutions to partially or fully replace their manual quality assurance process with a speech analytics-enabled QA solution. There are already a few solutions on the market, but nothing really that spectacular, especially in a unified workforce optimization (WFO) solution. In every case the general business proposition is that speech analytics can, to some degree, assist the quality assurance effort, bring insights not possible using a traditional QA model, and/or measure interactions to scale. At OpenText, we took a really good look at these “automated quality” products and concluded that we could easily develop and offer a more practical next-generation analytics-enabled QA solution. If contact centers could, they would listen to and analyze every customer interaction; however, this would be tremendously expensive, and the analysis would be subject to human interpretation and error. A better and far more cost-efficient solution is to leverage the power of advanced speech analytics to automatically measure and score agent performance and the customer experience (CX) on every recorded voice interaction. The Benefits of Automated Scoring Contact center leaders today understand the hidden costs of script non-adherence such as lost sales opportunities, increased errors, and misunderstandings on the part of the customer or the agent. In many regulated verticals and BPO deployments, companies face financial penalties and increased legal exposure on the basis of script non-compliance. OpenText™ Qfiniti AutoScore can measure script adherence and skills proficiency across all customer phone contacts and can automatically apply the same performance standard to all calls. Greater Visibility Qfiniti AutoScore also provides significant additional visibility into contact center performance—insights not available via traditional measurement methods. This unique measurement process is both easy to configure and highly flexible to meet a variety of business needs. In comparison to other “automatic scoring” solutions, only with AutoScore can users: Measure agent and customer behaviors more accurately in real time across all contacts Leverage the utmost flexibility to define behaviors and what they mean to contact centers in their specific business context Calibrate and tune scoring models in real time instead of days Utilize a built-in ability to train the speech analytics process to improve scoring outcomes The tool enables organizations to filter results by topics, agents, teams, products and interaction outcomes. Users can drill down to the most relevant and critical calls, without the wait for calls to be manually reviewed. Instead of taking days or weeks to establish a performance trend, agent adherence trends and coaching results can be identified almost instantly, even without the need to listen to additional calls.   We won’t suggest that technology can completely take the place of your current QA system of measurement. However, it is certainly fair to say that: A great deal of the quality assurance data you currently gather via manual methods could be gathered instead via an automated process; Data collected in this manner will be for all voice interactions and not just for those you were able to measure manually; Data that you collect using automated scoring will be gathered using a consistent set of standards that you can set, test, validate and adjust as needed to ensure the most-accurate results; and finally Automatic scoring provides supplemental information that could potentially facilitate shorter manual score cards and shorter coaching discussions. Used properly, the right analytics-enabled QA solution can lighten the quality assurance load, uncover new business insights and measure most script adherence and skills proficiency to scale. In this way contact centers can leverage a more-powerful solution empowering more-ambitious results. My OpenText WFO Software colleagues and I are excited to bring true analytics-enabled automatic scoring to the contact center market and for you to learn more about it. Download our white paper, Leveraging Analytics to Score Customer Interactions, and the Qfiniti AutoScore Product Overview to discover how we can help your contact center deliver superior performance in the most efficient ways.

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OpenText WFO Software Launches Qfiniti AutoScore for Analytics-Enabled Scoring


Today, I am very excited to announce the release of OpenText™ Qfiniti AutoScore. This is an important announcement for multiple reasons. First, this is the debut product release since we were acquired by OpenText last April. For those who haven’t been through an acquisition, there usually is a significant amount of disruption, both in terms of strategy as well as operations. I was pleasantly surprised to see how organized OpenText was in executing our on-boarding. Our strategy was, and still remains, to build a single, seamlessly connected platform that will help large enterprises deliver, manage, monitor, and optimize customer experiences across all channels. Our new colleagues at OpenText have shown an incredible amount of enthusiasm and commitment to the WFO group’s roadmap, customers and resources. Our ability to release a major capability such as Qfiniti AutoScore on time, despite all the acquisition activities, is a testament to how well the integration has gone, as well as a strong indication of the exciting innovations you can expect from OpenText WFO Software going forward. Second, Qfiniti AutoScore reaffirms our commitment to leveraging analytics to help contact centers around the world deliver superior performance in the most efficient ways. While speech analytics has been around for over a decade now, recent innovations in our core speech recognition engine have delivered such high performance that it empowers us to address use cases which are highly valuable to our customers but would have been difficult to accomplish in the past. We know there are two things that are always top-of-mind for contact centers. First is the monitoring of agent behaviors such as empathy, helpfulness, upsell, cross-sell, knowledge and adherence. And second is the understanding of customer feedback in terms of satisfaction, level of effort, and loyalty. For this reason, the central focus for AutoScore was to use speech and text analytics to score, not just a sample of recorded calls, but every single voice interaction and then use the scores to understand agent behaviors and customer experience aspects in a very granular and actionable manner. Finally and most importantly, I want to highlight the intricate collaboration that went on between the OpenText WFO Software team and our customers in shaping Qfiniti AutoScore. It is always a great vote of confidence when customers push us to develop new functionality. Also, the fact that our customers not only trust our core capabilities but also our ability to extend those capabilities into covering new use cases speaks volumes about our commitment to always putting our customers first. For this new product, we partnered closely with one of our customers, keeping in close contact throughout the entire development process and incorporating ample feedback along the way. Other customers also provided continuous feedback. For this reason, we are confident that we have built a solution which solves some of the critical contact center challenges in the most intuitive ways.  Want to see a demo of Qfiniti AutoScore?  You can reach out to me directly or speak with your personal account executive. In the meantime, please download our white paper, Leveraging Analytics to Score Customer Interactions, and the Qfiniti AutoScore Product Overview to learn more about how we can help your contact center leverage analytics to  deliver superior performance in the most efficient ways.

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OpenText WFO Software a “Strong Performer”


Strong Performer in WFO?  You bet! Two years ago I accepted the General Manager role for the, then HP WFO Software business unit, focused on contact centers. We made a number of immediate changes that started with an embrace of core imperatives throughout the business. These promises to our customer-base weren’t new to this long-standing group of contact center professionals. This formalization onto paper continues to allow the entire team to hold each other accountable and clearly align today. Always putting our customer first in every decision we make, delivering on our promises with efficiency and effectiveness, being engaged with proactive communication, ensuring we give no one a reason not to trust us individually or corporately, and focusing our resources on the contact center workforce optimization (WFO) market have delivered what we have hoped for. Two years on, our customers are investing more and more in, now OpenText WFO Software solutions. We’ve poured ourselves into awareness through traditional and new engagement channels, and analysts are more and more interested in our product innovation and why we’re successfully getting new customers from the competition. OpenText™ Qfiniti and OpenText™ Explore are every bit as robust and more scalable than competitor offerings, and as an added bonus you may even enjoy working with us!  Can you say that about other companies? And we have proof! Last week, Forrester released their first ever WFO Wave research and OpenText WFO Software fared well. The Ian Jacobs-led team of Forrester researchers scoured the WFO market to understand more than vendor noise. They looked closely at what contact center teams are doing. What problems they’re solving with WFO solutions. What the actual leaders (like you) believe are most important in delivering successful customer experiences. And when you strip away all of that noise in the market, OpenText WFO Software is there as a truly viable option for enterprise-class contact centers. You can quote me on that! One of the aspects of the WFO Wave I like best is that it shines a light on the fact that it’s not good enough just to have the software. Forrester also took into consideration how easy it is to work with the vendors. How valuable a two-way relationship is…  And how much a vendor listens to its customers. One of our references commented that, “We have had a seat at the table to influence the overall product road map.”  So, we want to listen twice as much as we speak and bring this innovation to the entire market. OpenText WFO Software has a rich 32-year history in contact centers. You may remember the product line better as etalk. Since those days, we’ve been less visible, but we never stopped innovating. We never stopped partnering with our contact center customers. And our ranking of “Strong Performer” in Forrester’s new Wave proves just that. This is a robust product line that our customers like. And they like us! Here is a link to the press release on the topic where you can read about the company’s commitment to the WFO space. And here is a link where you can get a copy of the report to read the good news yourself. We know you may not be in the middle of evaluating WFO vendors right now, but it is likely that you will at some point. I’d like to ask that you keep us on your list. I’d also ask that you consider reaching out to us if you have any questions about the market. We’d like nothing more than to earn your business over time. We’re here for the long haul and want to partner with you. Connect with me on Twitter @jeffwestover or send me an email ( And don’t forget to follow, like and join the following: OpenText Qfiniti Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Group.

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OpenText and AmerisourceBergen Develop Superior B2B Customer Experience

B2B customer experience

For your convenience, you can either listen to the Podcast below, or read the transcription in this blog. Complex Processes Simplified Every now and then, I find myself drawn to the Discovery Channel’s “How It’s Made” program. You probably know the one—it’s a TV show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how some of our most well-known consumer items are put together, packaged and sold. There’s something strangely hypnotic and satisfying about watching thousands of bottles roll through a giant machine to be filled with soda, or a seasoned professional hand-weave a basket. Apart from providing therapeutic stress relief, the program has given me a deeper appreciation for the effort and detail that goes into a product long before it finds its way to a store shelf. The role of behind-the-scenes business-to-business (B2B) vendors in providing an excellent experience for the end customer is huge. The challenge for B2B organizations is to discover who the end customers are and what they need, without having direct contact with those customers. To overcome this challenge, B2B organizations need to develop effective communication and collaboration practices with their business customers and partners. OpenText has had a strong business relationship with leading healthcare solution provider AmerisourceBergen for a number of years.  Among the many things AmerisourceBergen does well is provide B2B distribution of pharmaceuticals to healthcare institutions around the world—and they do that very well. In fact, they handle approximately 20 percent of all the United States’ pharmaceutical distribution. While the process of labeling bottles as seen on How It’s Made is impressive enough, each of those labels is the same—it’s just a matter of sticking them on each bottle. AmerisourceBergen’s customers have more… challenging requirements. Here’s what Scott Marshall, Director of Application Development at AmerisourceBergen said about those requirements: “One of the core components of our business is a complete drug distribution system… When customers receive their product, they also need to have documentation included with the products they receive. We call these packages ‘Driver Ready Packs.’ They’re packs of information that are kind of contained together by delivery location and customer. And they have invoices, price stickers and other documents that customers need.” Thanks to a deal struck with major US retailer Walgreens a few years back, AmerisourceBergen had to triple their production and delivery of those Driver Ready Packs. In fact, AmerisourceBergen now processes 275,000 documents and prints 20,000 bundles of Driver Ready Packs every day. And remember, they distribute products of the most vital nature to be delivered to waiting patients, doctors and families. The room for error in these thousands of custom-packaged and addressed bundles is virtually nil, and time is always a factor. “Back in 2007,” Scott says, “AmerisourceBergen realized that they had been spending a lot of time and effort, and they were not putting that documentation together very efficiently. So they partnered with OpenText and took a look at [OpenText™ Customer Communications Management (CCM)], which back then was referred to as StreamServe, to help automate the collection of this documentation, centralize it, and help make our printing more efficient.” “It automated the assembly of the documentation and sorting,” Scott continues, “and kind of gave an easy way to format content for the delivery person. It improved integrations with more modern technology. We actually had a much faster throughput and printing process, and a lot more accuracy. Overall it reduced our processing steps by about 80 percent and reduced the time it takes to generate our documentation by two thirds.” Catering to Customer Needs AmerisourceBergen generates documentation with CCM in a variety of ways, depending on how their customers prefer to receive it. By working closely with customers, OpenText continuously adjusts and enhances the capabilities of their solutions to meet the changing and evolving needs of their customers. Scott says that “One of the things [they] really liked about CCM is that you can take the same information and make it available in multiple channels such as faxing, emailing.” “What we see a lot now,” says Scott, “is that customers tell us how they want to be communicated with, and you have a mix where you might have someone who is a little more traditional, who likes having paper in their hand that they can feel, where others want to receive things electronically. So we have been trying to keep up or ahead of what our customers’ wants are, and use tools such as CCM that really provide cutting-edge technologies that are able to meet customer needs and communicate in different digital manners.” Certainly, the flexibility, convenience and environmental consciousness of digital documentation is a great benefit for customers, and AmerisourceBergen is poised to help their customers make that transition with support from OpenText and CCM. They are also prepared to make other agile adjustments. I’ll let Hiren Patel, Director of Application Delivery explain: “The business has ever-changing needs in terms of legal disclosures on documents that have been printed, on any text, updates, or in any new document. Now things of that nature, any changes for the application or a solution per se, are very easy to make. They are less stressful in terms of impact to our production.” “There was an incident where a year ago,” Hiren goes on to say, “when we had come across a business requirement to comply with the new DQSA Act passed by the government. It was critical to meet the timeline. To comply, we had to create advanced ship notice documents on very short notice. But we were able to make the required changes and deliver that on time. I think that was one of the key pieces where we identified how easily we can build documents and deliver them with the CCM solution that we have in place.” Stronger Together AmerisourceBergen has done a great job at keeping up with changing customer requirements and industry regulations, but they’re not left alone to manage their IT implementations. Thanks to their strong relationship with OpenText, they always have the support and technical expertise they need to provide an excellent experience for their customers. “We keep OpenText support on hand for whenever we might need them and reach out to them to understand how, or if, there is a better way to resolve something,” says Hiren. “Because for any successful project, you want to create a proper foundation so you have a stable and scalable solution. We highly value [OpenText Support] because they are experts, properly trained. They know the ability of the platform and features that it can provide. They can guide you in terms of how to architect it and properly manage your business and how you can solve their issues. So, again, we definitely value them.” For B2B organizations, an excellent customer experience is often built upon the service that customers are able to provide their customers. AmerisourceBergen has found a reliable, scalable solution in OpenText Customer Communications Management that gives Amerisource customers like Walgreens the information they need to deliver important pharmaceutical products in a timely and responsible manner. Together, B2B alliances like the one developed between OpenText and AmerisourceBergen can accomplish much more, and provide customers with a far superior experience than they’d be able to achieve alone. Learn more about OpenText™ Customer Communications Management, and the AmerisourceBergen success story.

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Before you pay an Agency $5 million for a Brand new Website…

new website

Just like the floating feather at the start of Forrest Gump, a story too good, too poignant, too raw to ignore, fell in my lap – on the hotel shuttle leaving Content Marketing World on Thursday. A few millennial marketers crowded around each other in the aisle, dishing out some talk about what they learned, what they yawned at, and what’s going on in their organizations. “It just makes me want to cry… It’s a joke!” said the exasperated young man sitting next to me. He explained how his leaders paid a digital agency as much as $5 million dollars (his words) to design and launch a brand new website. (Gosh – I do hope that is an exaggeration!) Another young woman who runs Facebook campaigns for her company leaned in to ask what the site is. She immediately pulled it up on her smart phone. And here’s the combination of problems, according to these two: Not mobile responsive No images Looks like just a product list There’s no suggested or recommended products for the visitor It demolished the original site’s domain authority Apparently, the B2B company invested heavily in this new site with the intention of building an ecommerce site – but for products and services in the healthcare industry. They have all of the technology platforms they need. Marketing automation. Customer relationship management. All of the integrations. They have a sizeable marketing arm with all the right tools. What went wrong here? Essentially, this sounds like a lack of due diligence and understanding of essentials when it comes to rebranding a website. In one fell HiPPO-inspired swoop – Bam! – the launch of a new website. And a shocking lack of data to support all of the changes. What should have happened? Research. Identifying specific problems. Getting buy in from organizational stakeholders. Challenging and testing assumptions with experimentation and hard data. There are many factors that should be considered when overhauling a major website, to ensure any large money investments are actually needed – and if the changes actually address true problems or just perceived ones. Here are some things – at a fundamental level – that any marketing leadership should understand. Of course, there is a much bigger list than this, but these things came to mind when I heard this story: Identify what the true problems are in performance Mobile-first design Testing the website and some changes before making deep investment Estimate impacts a massive change could make; what currently connects to links on your site? What breaks? What do I need to retain for rankings? If the goal is to get people to buy quicker, what content would people respond to better? Conversion Rate Optimization The content distribution strategy Current design standards Approach to personalization Site analytics Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Domain authority Calls to action Brand consistency In a nutshell This case sounds like a rush job that failed to gather adequate input and expertise to guide a costly web effort. While the agency might have been a trusted entity, marketing organizations like this should step back and apply some science to a major project like this. A web optimization program could have helped this organization come up with a more effective solution before spending millions of dollars. They could have set up test versions of the website to steer some traffic to the beta sites – to observe visitor behavior and see if the changes produce better business results. So let this be a lesson. Speak up. Do your homework (or share your insight if you’re not part of the leadership). Reserve big money for marketing projects that bring you more leads, conversions, and revenue. And you might just save some face within your organization.

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