3 Steps to Retail Supply Chain Excellence Using Dynamic Collaboration

Retail supply chain excellence

Digital transformation is the defining reality for today’s retailers. Reorganizing to serve a smartphone-wielding consumer who shops on-the-go with the expectation of receiving their purchase at the time and place of their choosing – that’s digital transformation. It starts with the omnichannel shopping experience and wends through every operational function. The most important of these is supply chain management – which enables a customer-centric purchasing experience through retail supply chain excellence. As we discuss in our whitepaper, Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success, retailers have the advantage of digitized B2B integration using EDI and Internet-based messaging to support trading partner communication. Smart trading networks have evolved from these foundational B2B messaging services. By aggregating transactional data using analytical applications you can monitor, analyze, and report on consumer demand, inventory availability, and supply chain performance. 3 Steps to Achieve Retail Supply Chain Excellence Start your digital transformation by taking these 3 steps to manage complex trading partner relationships with dynamic collaboration. Establish a centralized supplier information management system Understand trading partner performance Manage trading partnerships to improve customer fulfillment Step 1: Establish a Centralized Supplier Information Management System Retailers relying on more sophisticated trading relationships to serve customers need to stay current with their trading partners’ capabilities. At the same time, you have to reduce the cost of managing communications while ensuring compliance to their service levels and operating standards. A Gartner study pegged typical supplier management costs in a range from $585 to just under $1,000 per vendor. With an average of 3,000 active trading partner relationships, retailers are spending close to $3 million annually to manage their supply chain partnerships. As you implement more sophisticated supply chain community initiatives like customer drop-ship or vendor managed inventory, the costs to manage trading partner relationships will only increase. And that necessitates implementing a centralized system to support trading partner communication. Step 2: Understand Trading Partner Performance Monitor the service level and compliance performance of vendors, distributors, banks, 3PLs, and transportation providers with dynamic collaboration. Combining transactional data and data from other sources like point-of-sale, retailers and their trading partners can gain visibility into potential service level issues as well as performance trends. Using dynamic collaboration scorecards gives you a clear view of trading partner performance. Dynamic collaboration is supported by monitoring and measuring specific metrics. Transaction metrics – document arrival and acknowledgement timeliness Operational metrics – transaction volume by document or trading partner Business metrics – order, shipment, and invoice accuracy and timeliness Improving vendor compliance has demonstrated benefits like reducing distribution center costs by eliminating manual processing. It also improves customer fulfillment by speeding merchandise flow to meet demand. Step 3: Manage Trading Partnerships to Improve Customer Fulfillment As retailers look to deliver a more convenient omnichannel shopping experience, coordinating their supply chain to ensure inventory availability will define success. For example, retailers increasingly look for vendors to directly service their customers quickly and efficiently. As Retail Systems Research (RSR) noted in Retail Insight: Consumer Expectations Transform the Industry in 2016, retailers prioritize working with vendors who can provide special capabilities, like drop-ship fulfillment, and meet their compliance and lead-time standards. A smart trading network gives you a vendor compliance collaboration platform with the necessary insight to manage complex business requirements more efficiently. For example, Stage Stores, a regional U.S. department store chain, has leveraged dynamic collaboration to increase compliance violation identification by 500%. At the same time, they reduced the time to resolve compliance issues with vendors from 3 months to 72 hours – streamlining merchandise flow while greatly improving trading partner relationships. Get started today Retailers’ focus on leveraging customer-centric supply chain capabilities and ensuring service level execution across multiple trading partners requires a more automated, collaborative communication and standards compliance process. The three steps outlined above are a great way to start transforming your supply chain to be customer centric. To learn more about implementing a customer-centric supply chain, download Smart Trading Networks Define the Future of Retail Success.

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5 Tips For Better Digital Marketing in Financial Services

financial services

While Financial Services CEOs and CIOs talk of the importance of digital transformation, many firms have been slower to harness the potential of digital marketing. Whether held back by the regulations governing their activities, or their legacy systems and data, companies understand the importance of digital communication but still find implementation a challenge. This is a major theme for the Financial Services track at this year’s Enterprise World so I thought I’d write a blog to outline five key areas to consider when moving to digital marketing. There is one figure that illustrates the gap between the financial services sector and industries when it comes to digital marketing: almost three quarters of retail and consumer goods companies report acquiring a customer through Facebook. This falls to under one third for banks and financial services companies. Yet digital marketing has proved to be more effective in financial services than elsewhere. Financial services ranks highest in website conversion rates compared to other industries. Sales conversions in financial services are 58% higher on a mobile than a desktop device. How do financial services firms get the most of their investment in digital marketing? Here are five brief pointers. Map content to the customer journey It might come as a surprise to know that research shows that financial services leads the way in content marketing. Research shows that 75% of financial services marketers have separate content strategies in place for each marketing channel, more than any other industry sector. Sadly, few marketers believe their content marketing strategies are as effective they could be though. The idea of providing useful and relevant content to people as they pass along their customer journey is an easy one but it is very challenging to implement. What channels are they using? What level of detail do they want? What are their personal preferences? What did they do when they consumed a piece of content and how should you respond? Content marketing is more than creating great content and distributing it properly. It is about being able to use the information you have available to discern the habits of individuals and being able to quickly – sometimes automatically – create communications based on their preferences and real-world behaviors. A customer communications solution like OpenText™ Exstream moves beyond simple Marketing Automation or Content Marketing solutions to enable you to draw from multiple sources to gain a better picture of the customer and customize communication effectively. Get personalized content right every time Customized communications begins with appropriate personalization. Most financial services firms are well aware of the importance of personalization but 60% of marketers admit they struggle to personalize content in real-time. Financial services marketers are faced with two challenges: they need to access data from a wide range of sources – both internally and externally – to gain the single view of a customer needed to effectively personalize communication. Secondly they need to ensure that they are using the personal data on customers and prospects in ways that comply with industry regulations. This is why a customer communications solution like Exstream is so important. It can dynamically access data and content from multiple sources – both structured and unstructured data – and deliver fully personalized one-to-one communication to virtually any print or electronic channel. Deliver the omni-channel customer experience The Aberdeen Group has found that companies with strong omni-channel capabilities retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to just 33% of companies that are weak in this area. We have moved way beyond the need to be ‘mobile-ready’ or deliver impressive mobile apps – although these are important. This is all about allowing an end-to-end transaction or engagement with customers to happen smoothly on a range of devices. A customer may want to research on their desktop, talk to an agent in the call center and set up their account administration on their mobile. Each time they interact with your brand, the experience should be seamless with the information available so that your customer can complete their transaction at the earliest point possible. For this reason you always need to think of omni-channel not as multiple channels but as channel independence. The service has to be delivered as an end-to-end service that the customer can access at any stage – using any device they want – and receive the exact same experience. OpenText Exstream takes this one step further. For on-demand, real-time and structured communications, if the primary delivery channel is unavailable for any reason, the solution sends the communication through secondary channels to minimize service disruption and increase customer satisfaction. Remember marketing doesn’t just happen in the marketing department It has been a long time since marketing could be considered a simple exercise in outbound communication that ends the moment the lead passes to sales. We talk about the customer journey and that encompasses pre-sales, sales, support and the development of customers as advocates. Marketers today work in collaboration with other departments – every piece of correspondence is the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. This means knowing the customer as an end-to-end persona across the organization. Your marketing systems require seamless access to other enterprise systems to achieve this objective. They will need to draw data from ERP, CRM, billing and accounts systems and many others to ensure that the messages being to delivered to individuals are targeted, personalized and delivered at just the right time. A customer communications solution like OpenText Exstream will have a comprehensive range of connectors to seamlessly integrate into your enterprise environment to make enterprise data available to marketing for analysis and campaign development. Put governance and compliance front and center The myriad of new social and digital channels offer as great a risk as opportunity for an industry as heavily regulated as the financial services sector. To reap the benefits of digital media means ensuring that personal data and content is protected and used properly in all instances. This requires a customer communications platform that has information governance built-in. With OpenText Exstream, financial services firms can centralize content control and ensure effective governance is placed upon it. There is opportunity here. By taking such a structured approach about how you work with and control content, you can more effectively and cost-efficiently manage the flow of information across a large array of customer engagement points. Digital marketing is a major part of the digital transformation programs now underway at most financial services companies. It offers the potential to cost-effectively reach your customers with messages and content that you know will resonate. During Enterprise World, we’ll be looking at best practices in digital marketing for financial services companies and be hearing from some of the world’s leading financial brands about what they have achieved. It would be great to meet with you there.

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Output Management As A Service? Yes, It’s Here!

Output Management

In today’s information-driven world, it can be a challenge to manage all of the content and data that is available from so many different sources, and ensure it is delivered to consumers in the appropriate format, on the right device, at the exact time required. Not to mention the limited budgets pushing IT to do more with less. It’s no surprise companies are turning to cloud-based solutions for help. According to Garter research, 70% of CIOs are looking to change their technology and sourcing relationships in the next 2 to 3 years, with 46% working with new vendor categories such as cloud. “Organizations are pursuing strategies because of the multidimensional value of cloud services, including values such as agility, scalability, cost benefits, innovation and business growth,” said Sid Nag, Gartner research director. “While all external-sourcing decisions will not result in a virtually automatic move to the cloud, buyers are looking to the ‘cloud first’ in their decisions, in support of time to value impact via speed of implementation.” Enter OpenText™ Output Extender, Cloud Edition. Output Extender, is an industry-first Output-as-a-Service offering that enables customers to run their output management needs under a SaaS service and subscription model for data and print stream transformation, multi-channel delivery and generating regulatory-compliant accessible formats. Organizations can automate, simplify and streamline their output management through this hosted cloud service that provides multi-channel assured delivery. Transformation services with job tracking, retry and device failover ensure your business critical documents are always processed for fulfillment, statement presentment and report distribution needs. Output Extender also supports regulatory compliance for high volume documents such as statements, bills, customer notifications by enabling the transformation of PDF documents into accessible format for visually impaired individuals, complying with regulation such as Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the U.K. Equality Act. OpenText™ Content Server customers can extend their EIM value proposition to mainframe content and other legacy reports and statements with Output Extender. Organizations can also use Output Extender to consolidate repositories and eliminate expensive term-based MIPS pricing while opening their content to the Content Suite EIM platform – all in the cloud without having to install or manage any additional software or infrastructure. The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) for consuming cloud services like Output Extender is typically lower than running internally or purchasing perpetual licenses, plus organizations reap additional cloud benefits, including rapid time to market, lower infrastructure costs, reduced IT management responsibilities, maintenance free implementation and an easy-to-use interface with minimal configuration. Learn more about Output Extender.

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Process Automation Anchors the Delivery of Digital Customer Experiences

process automation

In this blog we welcome guest blogger Maureen Fleming, a Vice President at IDC, focused on middle tier technologies that enable new initiatives. By 2018, 71% of respondents to an IDC 2016 digital experience survey plan to increase their budget for creating and delivering digital experiences. And 82% of respondents to a survey looking at document-centric process disconnects believe they can improve their customer experience by removing the friction between back-office and front-office business processes.These surveys show an awareness and intent to invest in solutions that improve processes involving customer experiences. These investments will significantly impact the types of solutions that can be built for customer experience design and automation as well as the need to rapidly improve decision support. Customer Experience Design and Process Automation Customer experience used to be the result of generally uncoordinated touchpoints that, in aggregate, left a good or bad impression with the customer. Today, businesses are increasingly designing, coordinating and automating workflows optimized for dynamic customer experiences across all touchpoints. Because customers send and receive communications via multiple channels, including stores, phone calls, text, emails, and social networks, content is treated as a consistent and managed asset and integrated across all of the customer-oriented workflows. By automating the customer experience, businesses are able to realize both revenue and cost impacts as they: Improve the standardization and efficiency of communications to one customer across touchpoints Manage the content assets that support the experience Increase the consistency in how all customers are treated Identify and prevent problems to avoid negative customer experiences At IDC, we assume customer communications platforms will become a core solution used to help customers evolve to be able to send relevant messages in the appropriate format and channel based on the customer’s current situation. Customers recognize the importance of content working in tandem with process. In the regulated industries survey, 45% of respondents already integrate enterprise content management into their customer communications systems but that number will grow to 83% by 2018. Analytics-Driven Processes Require Redesign to Support Higher Volumes of Decisions Businesses traditionally have invested very little on end-to-end process visibility aimed at preventing problems. That is changing rapidly as predictive analytics and proactive intelligence become cornerstones of digital transformation. In fact, the top feature priorities of customer communications platforms involve the ability to manage and perform analytics on big data. Use cases of analytics-based solutions are broad but include the shift to real-time or near-real-time offer management, cross-channel marketing or customer social relationship management. On the industrial side, IoT initiatives predict and prevent problems with machines or connected devices and deliver new types of digital services to customers. The shift to analytics-triggered processes has an enormous impact on the workload of customer contact centers and the adequacy of self-service support. Analytics systems predict conditions that require manual follow-up or an automated response. Other than high volume, low risk transactions, the lion’s share of follow-up over the next few years will involve the initiation of a task or case assigned to a worker, who must then decide what to do next. Initially, the volume of decision obligations may swamp existing resources. That typically requires a solution re-design to offer greater situational awareness, by integrating content and back-office applications into case management solutions aimed at speeding up processes involving decisions, while also improving the quality of decisions. About Maureen Fleming Maureen Fleming is a Vice President at IDC, focused on middle tier technologies that enable new initiatives, such as sensor-based computing and API monetization. She is the lead analyst of IDC’s IoT analytics and information management practice and IDC’s research covering process automation, API management and continuous analytics.

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Clarity First. Clarity Always – Managing Marketing Content in the Life Sciences

life sciences marketing

Marketing from the Life Sciences industry is constantly under the spotlight. US state and federal governments have handed out some eye-watering fines to pharmaceutical companies for false claims. Yet, consumers, physicians and Life Sciences companies all want the same clarity and transparency in the information delivered. Life Sciences marketing management systems need to change before the industry loses its most important asset: stakeholder trust. Operating within any heavily regulated industry is challenging and the penalties for non-compliance are rightly severe. When people’s lives are at stake, it’s clear that the marketing information has to be reliable and trustworthy. A 2016 Public Citizen showing that pharmaceutical companies had paid over $35 billion in fines over the last 25 years demonstrates that these standards have not always been achieved. However, research suggests that the public retain high levels of trust in the marketing information they receive. Kantar Media suggests that 86% of adults have had some form of medical test and 66% have had an annual physical as a result of being exposed to TV advertising. In addition, Harvard University found that over three quarters of people felt that pharmaceutical companies did adequately explain the side affects and risks of their drugs. So, most people think that Life Sciences companies are doing the right thing. They just want to be sure they can rely on what they’re being told. The limitation of modern marketing systems This is where the marketing environments within many Life Sciences companies – especially large global organizations – are currently acting as an impediment. They are constraining the agility companies need in order to fully grasp the opportunities in innovation and market conditions. They are inhibiting the ability to deliver excellent and consistent customer experience in an increasingly omni-channel world. More importantly, the lack of end-to-end control and visibility across all marketing activity and assets leaves huge potential for the type of error or over-sight that can lead directly to huge fines. The situation is totally understandable. The last decade has seen an explosion of sales, marketing and creative solutions. The result is siloed marketing ecosystems where many solutions that are incompatible with each other. Sales enablement, marketing automation, social media management, creative production systems and more all handle vital, sensitive information – almost always without any centralized control. Project management systems are often localized and provide little or no integration into the other marketing and creative systems. Add to this the need to collaborate and share information with partners and external agencies – frequently on a country-by-country basis – and the full scale of the challenge becomes apparent. The holistic approach to Life Sciences marketing What is required is a change in thinking. Life Sciences companies have to move away from a project-based tactical approach to marketing – focused primarily on campaign delivery – to a more strategic approach around the effective management and optimization of all the company’s digital assets. OpenText calls this Marketing Content Management. Marketing Content Management enables a Life Sciences company to take complete centralized control of all its digital assets and marketing activities across the entire global organization and its extended marketing supply chains. It brings together all the disparate systems that currently form the marketing ecosystem and allows the organization to take a holistic quality approach to the marketing information lifecycle for the first time. Embedded analytics help companies assess the efficiency of their processes as well the effectiveness What is most important about this approach is the level of control that the company now has. It can now ensure that information is up-to-date and correct as it passes through the marketing process. Policies and procedures can be put in place to manage all digital assets from initiation to disposal. In addition, information can be securely shared with partners and agencies. The organization can ensure that everyone works to its standards and adheres to its policies. This delivers a new level of brand protection as the marketing department will have full visibility of how its marketing materials are amended and deployed by trading partners such as resellers and distributors. Marketing Content Management eases the burden of regulatory compliance on the Life Sciences marketing organization. It delivers the transparency and auditability that means the company can ensure the information within this marketing activities is correct and reliable – and it is easy to provide the information should a regulatory agency require. It is the foundation upon which customer trust can be built and maintained. Download our infographic on the 10 Best Practices for Life Sciences Marketing Content Management to take the first steps toward improving marketing quality and process harmonization.

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Putting the X Factor Into Customer Experience


For many years now we have heard that organizations must look to improve their customer experience to stand a chance of retaining their existing customer base. This, we have been told, is the cornerstone of customer engagement – but what exactly is customer experience and why is it here now? How did we ever manage without it? The fact is our propensity to always be connected means we are bombarded with information and what feels like a vast array of choices to buy the same product with the only real variations being factors like price and delivery time. What fundamental difference is there in the myriad of offers we are exposed to that leads us to choose one supplier from another? There is one ingredient behind customer experience and customer engagement that has preceded the Internet and still makes a big impact on our behavior and brand loyalty today. Walk through a modern airport or drive through the suburbs of a city and you will be exposed to advertising hoardings, walk into a dentist surgery or add yourself to mailing lists and you will encounter lifestyle magazines. These are all forms of customer experience and engagement that rely on one characteristic – they grab our attention. Often they do not lead with product data such as price or specification, they cannot measure and analyse how successful they are (unless you take into account passing traffic volume, print circulation), they simply grab our attention through something that appeals to us as humans beings – stimulus. Most often it’s visual, in the case of lifestyle magazines they might even try to appeal to our olfactory senses to advertise a scent – indeed some magazines even just smell good! But if we go back to the advertising hoardings and the lifestyle magazines examples for one moment it is easy to see that visual stimulus provides the X factor that excites us, it grabs our attention and leads us to follow up. The common name for this stimulus is content. We have all heard the phrase “every company is a media company1” and of course this is true to varying degrees – every company produces content to grab customer attention and this has transformed from a rather small set of content to what can only be described as a tidal wave of diverse material. Some talk about a “content shock2” where we are overwhelmed to the extent that we are unable to consume more, but the real issue here is that the valuable content that grabs the attention is buried amongst the volume of mediocre material. Every company faces this challenge. We have also seen that CMO’s are starting to recognize the value of content but do not prioritize its management3. Content has intrinsic value – it is expensive to produce so like any valuable material it should be collected, curated and put to use where it can have maximum impact. Could it be that we are so focused on the customer experience where we measure, analyse and try to predict our customer’s next step that we are forgetting the one factor that defines what we are? Content provides stimulus and grabs our attention. Getting our attention is the first step in becoming a customer. Lets start looking after that content. 1 – “Every company is a media company” by Tom Foremski 2 – “Content Shock: Why Content Marketing is Not a Sustainable Strategy” by Mark Schaefer 3 – “CMOs believe in value of visual assets but don’t prioritize their management” by Lisa Hoover McGreevy – Fierce Content Management

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OpenText Positioned as a Leader Again in 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Customer Communications Management (CCM) Software


Gartner recently published its 2017 Customer Communications Management Software Magic Quadrant, with OpenText positioned as a Leader in this report. Gartner evaluated both OpenText™ Communications Center and OpenText™ Exstream before the acquisition. However, Gartner focuses on each vendor’s technology execution, strategy and vision – not product specifics – so there is only one OpenText “dot” on the graphic. The 2015 CCM MQ positioned both OpenText Communications Center  and Exstream in the “Leaders” quadrant. In the latest version, we believe we maintain a strong position as a Leader due to our breadth of capability across our CCM products and the strength of our direction to combine Communications Center and Exstream into a single platform, thereby bringing additional value to our current and prospective customers. Our position on the “Ability to Execute” axis improved from the average position of Communications Center and Exstream in the 2015 MQ. The position on the “Completeness of Vision” axis held steady compared to Exstream’s placement in the last report, which we believe is a good sign that Gartner approves of our strategy to provide a single flagship CCM offering to enable business users to easily design and deliver omnichannel communications – including web, mobile, SMS, and print channels. The future is bright and exciting as we bring our CCM products together into a single, powerful platform to meet any omnichannel CCM requirements. This is happening now and will bring benefits to all current customers of Communications Center Enterprise (formerly StreamServe), Exstream, and Communications Center CRM (formerly PowerDocs). Get your copy of the full report here.

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Removing the Data Barriers to get the Bigger Picture

Data barriers

Doing something over and over again and expecting a different result is EITHER practice, or insanity.  The difference is simply in how long you’re willing to wait until things start to change. Similarly, treating all customers the same and simply doing the same things over again in new channels, is equally unproductive. To successfully meet the experience expectations of today’s customer demands removing data barriers and agility in how companies leverage their customers’ data in order to deliver individualized experiences in preferred channels. This kind of agility requires connectivity and fluidity within an organization. Customer Experience takes a village It takes a collection of divisions and departments within an organization to deliver goods, services, and the desired brand experience, to customers. Similarly, customers interact with organizations via multiple touchpoints spread across multiple departments. So why would any company think a single source of data from any one department or division could provide the multi-faceted, let alone complete, picture of the customer it needs? To develop and implement a truly omnichannel and customer-centric customer experience strategy, companies need to gather insights from multiple data points to connect those experiences together. But even that is not enough. That data, all that data, also needs to be accessible by the myriad teams that contribute to delivering the customer experience for their own analysis and interpretation. Limited by data fiefdoms We’ve all heard the rhetoric of “breaking down the silos”. Many gasp and shudder at the thought of having to share the proverbial access code to the vault that contains THEIR data. Over the span of their careers employees develop areas of knowledge expertise, and maybe even fiefdoms, around particular systems and associated data. They develop a sense of ownership. The angst of now having to share their domain is brought on by many fears; What if they (the other departments) mess up my data? What if their findings contradict my own? What if …? What if …? What if …? This individual apprehension is compounded by the larger picture of company priorities and culture. Companies invest large amounts of money in existing systems, and with those systems adoption come established, good or bad, procedures and policies. Once these become intrinsic to the way a company does business they are difficult to adjust. Nobody likes change, and it isn’t realistic to expect these things to change, or as some cases may deem, disappear, overnight. But who says they have to? Permeable data silos Rather than trying to break down and remove the invisible walls that keep core customer data siloed and isolated in different parts and layers of the organization, let each group keep the keys to their (data) kingdoms, and benevolently grant access to the data to other groups and departments. By making the data silo walls permeable, allowing the data to flow freely to, and from, the different repositories, the company can make the most out of its investment in the technology being used to garner that information, and keep the kingdom’s (data) monarchs happy at the same time. By building these data bridges the flow of information from one system to the other is enabled, and subsequently encouraged. And instead of collecting the same data over and over again – a better experience for the customer already – companies can collect it once and share between systems, in a way that respects system ownership and allows each repository to use the data in the best possible way to fulfill its own line of business needs and tasks. Internal systems shouldn’t drive the Customer Experience; it should be the other way around Some might think that to solve this problem companies have to first look at the systems in place for collecting and storing the data. At some point, yes, there are likely redundant repositories that can be sunsetted once the data landscape is better understood. For a bigger, transformational impact, companies should turn to their teams and data-related activities. Understanding by whom, and how the data is used, agreeing to what it means across the organization, as well as in different teams and departments, is how the true value of data is extracted. By creating a customer-centric perspective internally around customer-related data, organizations enable the different parts of their business to consume and analyze data in a way that makes most sense for them, thus allowing them to have more insight into the customer, and therefore are better able to contribute to delivering a more customer-centric experience. Data driven companies that take a holistic view of their data, develop “data journeys” that transcend internal company borders and boundaries, and mirror their customers’ journeys, are winning the customer experience race. (This blog post was co-authored with Cathy McKnight of the Digital Clarity Group).

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Five Factors That Are Driving the Changing Publishing Landscape

changing publishing landscape

From scrolls to print, from hardback to paperbacks, from broadsheets to tabloids, and from print to digital, the world of publishing has always been one of change. What makes the current landscape different is the sheer rate of change. This time it’s not only the delivery model that’s changing, and changing fast, it’s also the combination of new technologies and the demand for information consumed across a variety of different media. While traditional print markets are at last showing slow recovery in some markets the demand for information via digital sources continue to grow (although it could be argued that this growth is slowing down), while other media, such as video and audio continue to gain in popularity. From my perspective I see five primary influences that are driving this change in the publishing landscape: Channel growth: The move from having a single delivery channel, i.e. print, to multiple digital mobile channels on the web and mobile is moving news and information delivery from a traditional, single stream publishing model towards a model closer to broadcasting, with subsequent pressures to create and deliver differentiated content for each channel while maintaining the core integrity and facts of the information being delivered. Speed of updates: It used to be sufficient to publish on a regular pre-determined cadence, be it quarterly, monthly, or weekly in the case of magazines; or weekly, daily, or in selected editions (morning, lunch, evening, and late) for newspapers. Today, a large proportion of the population gets its first notification of a newsworthy event via social media and expects updates to be in real time as events unfold. To compete with this, news organizations must deliver their own content via social media and back it up with deeper analysis via news websites and more traditional channels that take longer to deliver. Changing business model: The newspaper industry has traditionally been funded by revenue streams from print advertising, i.e. selling physical space alongside the content. In this scenario the content is secondary to the advertising, although it could be argued that good content drives up circulation, which allows the publication to charge higher rates for the associated space. In the digital world, while it is possible to sell advertising space, it is at lower price points and less effective than in print. As a result, advertising revenues have dropped significantly and news and information providers are looking at other revenue streams, such as leveraging their content through paywalls, and syndication. To date, no new single business model has emerged as the new baseline. Easy access to different media types: While print was once the predominate media for the dissemination and consumption of news and information, it is now just one of a number of choices. With the advent of digital mobile devices, most consumers now have ready and instant access to content in textual, visual (graphics and video), and audio format. While print is never likely to disappear completely, it is now supplemented by the steady growth of other media types. Impact of technology companies: The majority of digital advertising revenue is generated by five technology companies, four of which, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter include news content. The impact of these companies goes beyond such financial considerations, as more of them onboard editorial staff and start to change the way that news is delivered and tracked through a combination of more personalized storytelling techniques and trending topics. Digital transformation is key to survival in the publishing industry. However, any digital efforts must not only address the process of delivery, they must also address the new paradigm where content becomes the hub of the business model. It is no longer sufficient just to automate the original print process model using technology, it is now essential to leverage content assets to deliver compelling and engaging stories that can be accessed from any platform, from print to digital, to mobile, to social, at any time.

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How to Identify Return on Investment of Social Media Marketing (Infographic)

social media ROI

The B2B marketing leaders will be spending more money on technology than the CIO in 2017. Sure they may already spend a lot, but the interesting question here is: will they now finally be able to identify the revenue? It was not long ago when CMO’s were perfectly ok with having more and more new technology tools. The problem came when they were forced to maintain the tools and, also to measure the performance of those tools in order to prove that they were still needed. While each platform may include its own reporting tools, in an omnichannel world, having so many partial views of the truth makes little sense. Many business users and decision makers can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to the current analytics environment. How will they manage then in an Analytics of Things of world with 6.4 billion connected devices? Are CMO’s prepared? According to a recent study on The State of Marketing Analytics by VentureBeat, “Analytics are key to showing value, yet the market is huge and fragmented.” Customers are no longer using a single channel to buy yet only 60% of marketers create integrated strategies. Probably the most painful source to measure is social media. It is painful because there’s no way that investors will accept engagement metrics such as impressions or likes as revenue. It is also painful because the CMO is being pushed by market analysts to invest more and more budget on social media. Social media spending is expected to climb to a 20.9% share of marketing budgets in 5 years even though analytics is not yet fully integrated or embedded according to a recent CMO Survey. ROI of social media in the form of adding new revenue sources, enhancing revenue sources and increasing revenues is more pronounced among companies with a more mature data-driven culture. The graph below shows where competitive advantage has been achieved as a result of data-driven marketing by stage of development according to Forbes. What’s worse for the laggards is that their immature analytics culture is resulting in the lowest profitability – they even don’t know often which analytics platforms they are paying for, according to the same research. “There is no substitute for hard work,” said Thomas Edison. In order to identify the ROI of social media marketing, we will go through the hard work by going through the requirements for your social media data below, including: Why you need integration and democratization of data in the cloud, including social media data Why you need self-service advanced and predictive analytics for your campaigns Why agility is so important when it comes to marketing analytics Why integrated reporting and insights should be easy to access by any marketer or business user Integration and democratization of data in the cloud, including social media data This is not just useful to get a single view of the truth. Working in an environment where each platform’s reporting is separate from the others, is not possible to calculate ROI of social media marketing. You may find a way to calculate the revenue of a Paid Per Click campaign in LinkedIn for example, but this is a very narrow view of what social media marketing is about. The first step to identify the real revenue of social media should be to integrate all disparate data sources in the cloud. They should be integrated, because that way you will be able to cross reference information, discover the real 360º customer view and the actual ROI. Also, it should be integrated in the cloud specifically so other business users can access and self-service the final insights. Some people may think they have a 360º customer view when they integrate Google Analytics and Salesforce to calculate the ROI of a paid campaign in Google Adwords. But they are still far from that view. According to Think with Google, for instance, customers in most industries in US click on a paid ad long after they were engaged in social. That means that a percentage of the ROI of the Pay Per Click campaign should be attributed to social to be accurate. What if instead of making assumptions you start to track which channel is the first, then which is next, and which is the latest? You can do this with tools like Piwik or Eloqua Insights because they track all different devices from which the customer is visiting your website as well as specific URLs they land on, and order the events by date. While this is fine if you have less than 200 sessions per day on your website, if you have more than that you will quickly understand why big data is more than just hype! Trust me, if you had the time to explore, analyze and export using Piwik or Eloqua Insights you would really know what patience means. With big data, even if you just want to use a selected small part of it, you need columnar database technology like the one used by OpenText™ Big Data Analytics. Having your data sources integrated at the start and managed by IT is fine, but when it comes to data audits, data cleansing and data enrichment you had better expect this to be self-service. B2B companies need to know as much as they can about the companies they market to and 75% of B2B marketers say that accurate data is critical for achieving their goals but lack of data on Industry, Revenue, and Employees is a problem in up to 87% of the examples. Bad data affects not just marketing but also sales, according to Forrester, executive buyers find that 77% of the sales people they meet don’t understand their issues and where they can help. As a result a lot of CMOs are taking the initiative to start profiling and creating more targeted leads so that sales don’t have this problem. Self-service advanced and predictive analytics for marketing campaigns According to a recent study by MDG Advertising, B2B organizations that utilize predictive analytics are 2x more likely to exceed their annual marketing ROI goal. The research offers interesting reasons why 89% of B2B organizations have predictive analytics on their roadmap. According to VentureBeat there are 3 main reasons why marketers aren’t that advanced in their analytical approaches – including skill gaps around data science. Easy-to-use tools can make it easier to run reports, but without a real understanding of data-driven approaches, the final report may not be accurate enough. Predictive lead scoring, for instance, can yield significant ROI and 90% of large organizations will have a Chief Data Officer or CDO by 2019. Meanwhile CMOs are not inactive and 55% of B2B organizations are already hiring for marketing analytics roles. Success in social media is not as easy as being 30 years old. You know that you will be 29 years old for 12 months and then it will automatically change to 30. This is easy to predict, but it is not scalable to social media. In terms of social media you need to go deeper than the surface to measure, for example, if it is worth having 30 social media accounts or maybe 10. You need to measure if it is worth having 30 blog articles or maybe 300. You will want to calculate if “Channel A” is worthwhile because it generated 300 conversions from unqualified leads or not. You may want to go further and identify which of the qualified leads bought “Product A” and “Product C” but haven’t yet bought “Product B”. Do you want better segmentations and profiles of those, so you can create a custom cross-selling campaign, based on information that you can get from LinkedIn, for instance? If so, you will need to go further than data visualization. Companies need advanced analytics to identify ROI. This is what will give you the insight on the ROI of your social media, but more than it could ensure success in the current digital era. You will find the following ad-hoc & pre-built tools at OpenText Big Data Analytics: Venn Diagram: Are you tired of reaching the wrong people? Smarter companies are reporting benefits doing data mining to target advanced segmentations and the most appropriate people with marketing material that resonates with them. Note that segmentations are based on data mining, but can be created by drag and drop of the database objects in the left column. Profile: Are you still re-marketing to visitors who landed on your website by mistake? Our drag and drop, easy-to-use tool is needed by marketing in the current customer-centric culture. B2B marketing goals for predictive analytics span the customer funnel including customer retention, customer lifetime value, customer effectiveness right up to customer acquisition – so having a customer profile is a must-have to begin. Association Rules: What if you could identify which users are likely to abandon with sentiment analysis of their activity in social media and help-desks – so you can reduce churn with a loyalty campaign? Would that help the ROI of your social media? You can find more predefined analysis screenshots and use case videos to help. Companies plan to increase spend on marketing analytics, but many will select the wrong capabilities or be unable to use them properly. Harvard Business Review alerts to this point “marketing analytics can have a substantial impact on a company’s growth, but companies must figure out how to make the best use of it”. Why agility is so important when it comes to marketing analytics You already know that advanced and predictive analytics is not new, if you think about how financial services has been using it. What’s really new is how easy analysis can be created as self-service now. In the real world, only 20% of organizations are able to deploy a model into operational use in less than 2 weeks according to TDWI, so don’t forget to ask for self-service and real-time advanced analytics. You will be happy that your analytics platform technology includes a columnar database when you get to this point. Why integrated reporting and insights should be easy to access by any marketer or business user 3 out of 4 marketers can’t measure and report on the contribution of their programs to the business. Isn’t that scary? To know the customer and how to deliver relevant data is a key business differentiator. Marketing analytics tools need to be more than a nicely displayed report, they need to allow decision makers to interact with the information according to McKinsey & Company. There’s a lot that has been written about the opportunities of using big data in supply chain and retail companies, and specifically the social media capabilities to reach their audiences. The retail analytics market is estimated to grow from 2.2 billion to 5.1 billion in 5 years but difficulty in sharing customer analytics is ranked as a top challenge by the Industry. Social media is a smart way to connect a customer with a specific local store, right? Instagram includes stats of impressions, reach, clicks and follower activity for businesses. There are a few tools with powerful capabilities to personalize, share and embedded HTML5 data visualizations available, but OpenText™ Information Hub is the only one that is tied to advanced and predictive analytics. 9 out of 10 sales and marketing professionals report the greatest departmental interest is in being able to access analytics within front-office applications and OpenText Information Hub is ranked as the top vendor in the latest Embedded Business Intelligence Market Study by analyst Howard Dresner – not without reason. Don’t forget to ask for an analytics platform that is perfectly fine to be scaled to unlimited users. Turn your social data into strategy, then gold Predictive analytics not only applies to what will happen next quarter, but also to what the user may want to find right now. Google doesn’t wait for you to make association rules that have probably helped you a few times – they make their big data work for millions of users in real-time. Now think about your company and one of your prospects sharing your content on social media or email. Do you create a campaign to track and nurture these actions? How do you react if a user won’t complete a form more than once? What do you do when one of your prospects is searching on your site having landed from a social media post about “Product A”? Are you able to identify that “Product C” will be the more likely purchase? There are musicians unhappy about piracy, but there are others tracking, mining and getting revenue from social data. Getting these insights on revenue before running new omnichannel campaigns will provide one voice communication, essential for a successful omnichannel strategy. What is also important: this will help with better data-driven decisions and greater return on investment of your social media budget. 86% of companies that deployed predictive analytics for two or more years saw increased marketing return on investment according to Forbes. Download the Research “Operationalizing and Embedding Analytics for Action” from TDWI The report notes that operationalizing and embedding analytics requires more than static dashboards that are updated once a day, or less. It requires integrating actionable insights into your applications, devices and databases. Download the report here.

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How Digital Disruption is Shaping Customer Experience – Webinar Invite

digital disruption

On May 12, I am the key speaker on a customer experience webinar entitled ‘From Drones to Smart Homes’. It’s the first in the new OpenText Digital Innovation webinar series that takes a fresh perspective on important issues that are affecting every business today. So, I thought I’d take a moment to give my perspective on delivering an excellent customer experience beforehand in the hope it persuades you to join me on the day. Perhaps the place to start isn’t with experience at all. Perhaps the place to start is with customer expectation. In almost every industry there are transformational changes in the experience companies are delivering to their customers. Think about moving from 28 days to same day delivery – then to real-time tracking of your order in transit. Today it seems that we’re not far from having delivery drones landing on our lawns! The first time you experience something like this, it feels like a revelation. By the tenth, it feels like it’s the norm. We have to live by one rule of thumb: customer delight always turns rapidly into customer expectation. You can occastionally afford to not delight your customer on a few of the interactions you have with them –  but you are in big, big trouble if you consistently fail to meet their expectations. The challenge is that, with every digital customer experience innovation we deliver, we consistently raise the bar on customer expectation. So what do customers expect? They expect a consistent experience with a company no matter which stage they are in their buyer’s journey. They expect to be able to connect with the company on any channel they choose. They expect to begin an interaction – buying a product or receiving support – on one channel and complete it on another seamlessly. They expect more transparency, more honesty and more information from their chosen suppliers than ever before. They don’t hope for this experience. They don’t want this experience. They expect this experience. And, they will go elsewhere if they don’t get it. Customer experience expert Steven Van Belleghem says: “The amount of trust consumers put in brands is decreasing all the time, and a typical consumer will now switch brands without hesitation if they get a better offer.” In this world of digital disruption, it is all too easy for an organisation to become the architect of its own downfall. In a rush to provide better and better external experiences, the company overlooks how closely tied external and internal processes actually are. In doing so, they set themselves up to disappoint the expectations of their customers. There is little point in marketing painting a wonderful picture in the customer’s mind if the product or the service fails to meet the expectations set. A customer can have the perfect purchasing experience but if the product arrives damaged or doesn’t arrive at all then all that good work is undermined. Organisations want to go digital on the outside. They know they need to be able to accommodate the growing number of data types and communications channels that their customers are embracing. They also want to go digital inside – creating new systems that transform digital operations, streamline internal processes, reduce information glut, and integrate business applications with information stores. Most companies find the prospect of tackling both at the same time too daunting and risky preferring to focus on internal processes. But, even here, creating end-to-end processes is challenging when you are faced with information silos built up over years or decades. On top of breaking down the silos, you have to layer on the ability to integrate the new data types and channels. Digital disruption is challenging the customer-facing parts of your business, but business transformation is an even greater force. At this point, business transformation becomes the bigger initiative and digital transformation falls under the larger umbrella. Unless carefully managed, the initial reason for embarking on the transformation – to deliver excellence digital customer experience – can become lost in the drive to improve internal processes. From my perspective, a more productive and longer term strategy is to redefine what you mean by digital outside and inside your business. You can instead see then both as a single cross-functional process that flows seamlessly between customer behaviours and internal functions. This allows you to focus on changing a single business process – such as supply chain management – rather than taking on two huge transformation projects simultaneously. It reduces the cost and risk involved in effectively responding to digital disruption and delivering consistently excellent customer experience today and into the future. I hope this has captured your curiosity and you’d like to know more about how OpenText can help you deliver an ever better customer experience. If so, I’d like to invite you to join me on the ‘From Drones to Smart Homes’ webinar on May 12 at 2pm BST for an hour.

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Why Customer Engagement is Critical to Your Success

customer engagement

Customer engagement is a term that is everywhere now. The industry is moving from touting “customer experience” to “customer engagement” because we all know that “engagement” is much deeper; it is about interactions, not just transactions. Excelling in customer engagement is a critical component to outperforming your competitors and delivering lifetime customer value, but how do you that? Why should you do that?   Well for one thing, your customer base is changing. Baby boomers are giving way to millennials, Gen X, Y and Z, and digital customers are becoming the norm. Within 10 years, 75% of the labor force will be born digital and they don’t like paper communications; they use digital media and social channels like no other generation. Are you going to be able to speak their language? Find out why a multichannel customer communications strategy is important  and how OpenText™ Exstream can help deliver this for you.

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Using Synchronized Media Assets to Bridge Platform Silos

media assets

Positive customer experience is all about removing the friction from the process. The easier something is to do, the better the experience. Today’s customers increasingly expect these transactions to seamlessly transition from one digital platform to another while retaining a consistent, personalized, digital experience, with data, information, and media assets moving seamlessly from one environment to another. It is tempting to try to address this by breaking down as many operational and siloed business and technology platforms as possible. This is often an impractical approach that leads to mismanaged expectations, delays, and higher than expected costs. It is better to bridge the silos in a way that allows data to flow between them. Instead of trying to break down silos, bridge them into irrelevancy by delivering a customer experience solution that focuses on delivering high impact content (usually visual), and allows you to conduct meaningful analytical analysis to continuously refine the experience. With an exceptional digital experience in place, it is not only the customer, but also your supply chain, distributors, and even employees who can benefit as well. The most effective way to bridge content silos is by adopting a media management strategy that empowers your digital supply chain by drawing brand approved assets from a centralized repository to deliver a connected consistent experience to multiple destinations – web, kiosk, mobile, tablet, etc. – which are compatible with the end user’s device. But what happens once you’ve published a media asset and it’s been delivered to one or more devices? What if the asset (be it an image, video, PDF file etc.) needs updating? Do you need to trace it and update each siloed instance individually? How do you know that you’ve found all the possible uses of that asset? Managing a media asset’s lifecycle can often be a hidden cost that in real terms costs more than the original investment in producing the asset. With the OpenText™ Media Management (OTMM) you can control your assets even after they’ve been published outside of OTMM. Assets are updated automatically when the tethered version in OTMM changes so you don’t have to. Every web page or application with the asset’s embed code – even the forgotten ones – will have the latest, correct version to make sure you stay on brand with current media assets. No more chasing content across operational and technology silos. Find out more about OpenText Media Management and how it helps companies enhance their investment in brand value and digital media with technology to manage and control media assets across various departments and optimize resources, efforts and budgets in an organization-wide strategy that delivers on your brand promise.

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Eight Seconds! Your Deadline to Deliver an Engaging Web Experience

web experience management

Eight seconds! Research has shown that’s all the time you have to capture the attention, and engage with, the average user on the web. Eight seconds! To meet this challenge, it isn’t enough to create great web content and deliver it through a traditional web content management system. To really capture attention you need a compelling web experience management strategy. Today’s web users expect a higher level of engagement and sophistication when it comes to their online experience. These elevated expectations have led to a more contextual, meaningful and compelling conversation between website, brand and user – across multiple devices and platforms. Rather than simply pushing static content to web properties, businesses now need to exceed customer expectations with tools that dynamically deliver adaptive and content-centric experiences across any, and every, channel where the customer may be interacting with them. There needs to be a bi-directional flow that runs from consumer to the organization and back again. Web content management is no longer a single point solution for website management because businesses are looking to integrate other enterprise systems that can bring greater value to their web content. Integration into these touch points allows for a greater 360-degree view and three-dimensional understanding of your customers. Omni-channel touch points must also take into consideration multilingual content, translation services and engines, and translation dashboards, which ensures that content pages are translated and localized for global visitors. Omni-channel touch points need to be available 24/7, which means that more self-service applications have to support consumers’ behaviors. Website management has been transformed from a static publishing process to a highly engaging web experience that compels audiences to interact and engage. As businesses try to find the balance between outbound and inbound marketing, the website is still at the forefront of every conversation with the customer. Using your website to create fresh, relevant, targeted content specifically designed to reach a distinct audience segments is key. Inbound marketing, significantly less expensive than outbound marketing, includes strategies such as social media marketing, blogging and content marketing, podcasts, white papers, eBooks, infographics, etc., and can be used to personalize the experience of customers, engage with them and let your brand shine. With a web experience management strategy and supporting platform in place, Digital-First enterprises can report and analyze the usage of pages, content and other relevant objects to increase the visibility of any information delivered in a personalized way and to optimize their knowledge regarding consumers’ expectations through any related business process, business partner and enterprise application. This will help to drive a higher customer lifecycle value and increase upsell revenue. Find out more about the OpenText™ Web Experience Management platform, and how you can use it to deliver compelling, and adaptive experiences across multi-channel touch points, to transform everyday online transactions into actionable, strategic insight.

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Creating Interactive Dialog With Your Customers

interactive dialog

What if each customer felt that every communication with you was not only well managed, but a meaningful, interactive dialog? What if every employee engaging with your customers could generate communications that not only inform but engage? Imagine using your customer communications to turn documents into dialog, communications into conversations. Every touchpoint with your customer is an opportunity to engage in a meaningful and relevant exchange. In today’s digital market place, the customer is empowered like never before. As a result businesses need to exploit every opportunity to communicate as clearly and consistently as possible across every channel and medium; whether online or offline, on paper or electronically. Most companies have yet to exploit the potential for driving additional business through customer-facing communications. These communications, the data that feeds them, and the exchanges between a customer and a company are critical assets for strengthening relationships and fueling sales. Tailoring each customer’s correspondence with personally relevant information, informing and engaging customers with every communication, deepens the relationship. The ability to work more personally with customers, even in regular mass-distributed communications such as bills, invoices, statements, notifications etc., is a strong competitive edge. Acquiring new customers can cost five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers, and a two percent increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by ten percent. Yet research has shown that 68 percent of customers who break away from a relationship with a company and go elsewhere do so because they feel unknown and unwanted. This alone justifies efforts to connect more personally at every touchpoint of the customer’s journey and to create easy, frictionless, ways for customers to initiate and manage their own contact. Smarter Communications Improve Revenue and Streamline Costs: Enable business managers to drive business: Direct, hands-on connections to customer communications remove the lag time between seeing a business opportunity or necessity and acting on it. Business managers create and manage marketing messages and campaigns and the rules that deliver them to the right customer at the right time. Match the message to the customer: Whether it’s welcome packs, order confirmations, delivery notices, invoices, or statements, personalized documents build customer loyalty. Even at high volumes and processing speeds, personalizing every document, including cross/up-sell offers or other notices can be tuned to each customer. Let the customer control the conversation: Through simple self-service, customers can specify their preferred channels; print, fax, email, mobile, web, and other electronic channels. This variety of choice empowers customers and also gives you multiple channels for new services or business development initiatives. Interactive content presentment: Rich media, dynamic charts and graphs on communications not only provide better information, they create dialogues between supplier and client. Each touchpoint brings you closer to your customer, providing valuable insight and a better customer experience. Find out more about how you can use OpenText™ Communications Center to establish a modern communication processing environment in your enterprise. Using data from your existing business systems (without requiring any changes to those systems) to dynamically generate the communications you use to run your business and correspond with your customers, partners, suppliers, and employees.

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It’s Technically Easy to Upgrade to the Latest Version of Exstream

Data barriers

OpenText™ Exstream is a powerful, efficient and robust multichannel customer communications solution that allows users to create a variety of simple and complex customer-facing documents with dynamic content for interactive, on-demand or batch environments. Release after release, Exstream brings a lot of new exciting features mainstream, while ensuring backward compatibility for Exstream applications developed through older releases. You may be wondering if it is difficult to upgrade to the latest major release – it’s not. There are just few steps to execute, and that’s it! Know before you go! Information on upgrading to OpenText Exstream can be found in the User Guides. It will help you to better assess what needs to be done during the upgrade process. There are several ways to make the upgrade process easier. Following are a few modules you might have installed that can assist with the upgrade process: Test Data Capture – Optimizes your test data for the upgrade Rule Analyzer – Checks whether your business rules were triggered or not Output Compare – Compare PDF, PostScript and AFP generated by the old version and the new version, in the Workstation Output Batch Compare – Does the same as Output Compare but with larger files, in the server If you do not have these modules installed, please reach out to your OpenText Exstream account executive for more information. Collect test data What you need to know is that a complete test data coverage is the key to a successful upgrade. But don’t try not to use an entire data set from a production run as it can be too cumbersome and time consuming to manage. As mentioned above, we recommend using Test Data Capture in order to decrease the amount records in the Test Data file. Preparing for the upgrade In order to prepare the upgrade, some key activities are necessary: Duplicate the Database Instance and work on this duplicated database to perform the preparation Delete any unused objects you see and empty the Trash Can of Design Manager Execute Database Maintenance before upgrading the Database Choosing the right methodology to upgrade OpenText Exstream Engine only upgrade No need to perform the Database migration to the latest version Useful to fix a defect that only occurs with the engine It does not allow you to use the latest features of Exstream Design and Engine upgrade Install the new Exstream Design and Production on a targeted workstation Simply use DBAdmin_DBCS.exe to migrate the duplicated instance of the database This will allow you to use the latest feature of Exstream For a full upgrade, you can repackage all the applications (manually or through Batch packaging). It is then recommended to test the output with the one generated with the older version You can still use the engine with the old packages and only repackage once a modification is done in the application Additionally, you can use a step-by-step migration using XOB that will need more time to achieve the upgrade and require two engines in the same environment. This method is typically suited for: Allowing you to continue developing with a minimal business impact Revamping the applications in the new version in order to better control which new features can be applied The upgrade is fully supported by OpenText. You can also rely on the Exstream Professional Services team to ensure best practices are applied and to accelerate the process thanks to the experience of our consultants.

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Media Management is Now Mission Critical to Providing an Engaging Customer Experience

digital media management

In today’s customer-centric environment, digital media management is an imperative. The customer experience is becoming more visual every day with the rapid growth in the consumption of videos, the use of photography, infographics, and other rich media assets that provide your customers with an engaging experience. A well-defined media asset strategy and associated technology platform is essential to help companies enhance their investment in brand value while maximizing the ability to manage and control media assets across various departments and optimizing resources, efforts and budgets. Digital Asset Management is a core technology and a critical infrastructure component for creating that engaging customer experience. From creation to consumption, a Media Management platform provides a “single source of truth” and consolidated asset repository for marketing, branding, commerce, video and global distribution. It becomes the focal point of an ecosystem with interconnected and interdependent contributors and production environments (such as agencies, photo, video, audio, graphics, layout) provisioning digital media content for the multi-channel digital supply chain, digital operations, marketing and brand management, and more. In every organization, the quantity of rich media assets is exploding. And, the investment in acquiring, creating, managing and using all those assets is significant. OpenText™ Media Management: Reduces spend by managing assets for re-purposing and reuse – not re-purchase or replicate. Increases productivity with a simple yet powerful user experience to search and find media assets in an enterprise-wide, centralized repository. Increases revenue with faster time to market, transforming and publishing your content with adaptive delivery and multiple renditions for multi-channel, multi-device experiences. Energizes your media supply chain with secure and controlled access for internal and externals users, partners and groups. Protects your valuable assets from costly misuse with flexible and granular user and asset security policies and integrated rights management. Media Management consolidates all your digital media and video into a single managed, controlled and centralized repository with rich metadata to accelerate publishing and distribution to multiple channels and devices for better customer engagement. Eliminates multiple systems, shared drives and local storage for media assets. Provides metadata capabilities to personalize, profile and manage assets for more relevant and engaging customer interactions. Offers localization and multi-language capabilities to support global operations. Embeds rich media analytics using data and predictive capabilities to provide understanding and smarter decisions about customers, the business landscape and market trends for better insight. Media Management supports the entire media content lifecycle with integrated processes and functionality for planning, creation, production, collaboration, approvals, delivery, asset /usage performance and archive disposition. Find out more about OpenText Media Management and how it helps companies enhance their investment in brand value and digital media with technology to manage and control media assets across various departments and optimize resources, efforts and budgets in an organization-wide strategy that delivers on your brand promise.

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Contact Center Industry Predictions for 2016

contact center

From the desk of Dr. WFO: 2015 is almost over! Can you believe it? Friends and colleagues are already talking about resolutions for 2016, (I shared one of my resolutions here). After attending and speaking at several industry events, participating in various roundtables, and talking to numerous analysts, customers and prospects, below are my thoughts on themes within contact centers for 2016. Emerging and/or continued investments in the following areas of technology: Multichannel analytics Desktop optimization (analytics) Managed services Cloud-based solutions where it makes sense Predictive analytics Mobile applications Emerging and/or continued focus on customer experience (CX): Need to establish multichannel strategy based on your customer demographics and expectations Determine if you are ready to deliver a seamless cross-channel strategy; if you do not have a solid multichannel foundation in place, don’’t get distracted by the term “omni-channel experience” Review current metrics to determine if these are appropriate based on your strategic and operational plans; are you measuring customer effort? If not, why? If so, how are you doing? Self-service options that are well executed Continued investment in human capital: With an ever evolving workforce, investments in training, succession planning, and overall development must continue to be a focus at all levels within the contact center Rewards and recognition programs improved (one size doesn’’t fit all) Using a multichannel analytics application can provide the necessary data to measure, take action, and laser focus in a few areas: agent productivity and customer experience. Agent Productivity With multichannel interactions, the opportunity for agents to handle multiple chat and email sessions can reduce the cost per contact compared to agent handling a voice call. The cost per contact is even less when work-at-home agent are handling chats and email interactions because there aren’’t brick and mortar costs to be factored. Customer Experience Keep in mind, changes to the demographic landscape are evolving as your customers are becoming younger and younger. Self-service will continue to become an expectation from consumers. Timely and accurate resolution to an issue/inquiry without the customer having to wait in a queue for an agent will often result in a better customer experience. For those consumers who take advantage of the self-service channel, they have communication expectations and requirements including – their inquiry has been received, a particular person is handling it and will get back to them, and when they can expect a response. Organizations who provide self-service channels must measure the effectiveness through post-chat surveys, Net Promoter scores, customer effort and even SMS or email surveys. What do you see as key themes for the contact center in 2016? Let me know in the comments below. Enjoy the holidays and I look forward to a great 2016!

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: It Only Takes a Finger

My niece recently went up to my TV and said the “swipe” wasn’t working. When I read her a children’s book, she asked, “What’s a radio?” She’s five, which means touchscreen devices have been around longer than she’s been alive. New college graduates have been completely raised in the Internet Era. In ten years, college graduates will have been raised on “one finger”. Digital engagement isn’t optional, it’s required. And it has to go beyond easy, and be intuitive. When a five year old goes up to a TV to swipe it, that’s intuitive. Consumers have grown accustomed to sending messages, downloading music, opening a bank account, and even purchasing a house—all with just one finger. In the digital world, they have infinite choices at their fingertips. Customers can browse, compare, research, and purchase without setting foot into a physical location—at any time, from anywhere. The digital world is always on. Decisions are made quickly, but they are informed. Gratification is immediate. This means that you have mere seconds to captivate a customer. And you have to demonstrate that you “know” them in those few seconds. So that first impression (which can be your only and your last) is more important than ever. Customers are growing increasingly savvy and fickle, and their loyalty must be earned. Every unnecessary click or irrelevant message aggravates, pushing your customer into the welcoming arms of your competitor. The Digital Leaders know this. That’s why they’re already innovating and creating wildly compelling omni-channel experiences. But this requires digitalized customer journeys and consolidated information. This starts behind the firewall and extends outside the enterprise across the supply network. Only then will you be able to predict what content will positively influence your customers, respond in real time, and deliver highly curated and satisfying experiences. Remember, your customers have the world in the palm of their hand. If you don’t impress, it only takes a finger… to unlike, unsubscribe, post a bad review, or buy now—from your competitor. In the next post in this series I’ll look at how seamless, consistent, personal, and engaging experiences are they key to winning and keeping customers. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The New Barbarians

Digital is second nature to Millennials and plays a significant part in their lives. They believe new technology makes life easier and brings people closer together. Millennials are mobile. They are hyper-connected and always on. Based on their love of all things Digital, Millennials are introducing a whole new value system to the workplace. They eschew traditional hierarchical structures, prefer working in ways that are open, flexible and social, and are introducing new digital technologies into the enterprise (even if it means circumventing IT policy). They are multicultural, global, and believe in a work-life balance. This demographic will soon make up 50% of the global workforce. To accommodate their needs, corporate cultures will have to create an environment that caters to them (flex hours, remote access, BYOD). And if their demands are not met, this band of talented nomads will simply move on. Their influence extends beyond the enterprise. Millennials are making demands in the marketplace too. Being hyper-connected has created an “anytime, anywhere” expectation. As consumers, convenience and instant gratification are key—otherwise they’ll find another brand that can satisfy their expectations. Millennials are informed. They are communicators. And they value authenticity. All of these factors are driving brands to support digital, omni-channel shopping experiences, forums for open dialogue, and co-creation—where the consumer is empowered to interact with and influence a brand. Armed with new technology, influential opinions, and wallet power, Millennials have the means to supplant incumbents. If you fall short of meeting expectations—if you fail to deliver relevant and authentic digital experiences, provide flexible work environments, and adopt open communications—you will not survive the invasion. In my next post in this series, I’ll explore how engaging digital experiences are no longer optional, and what Digital Leaders are doing to fulfill this new business requirement. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

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