Information Management

Know Your Cloud Fax Service Provider’s Strengths

A cloud fax service provider usually has many unique capabilities. There are some questions we should ask EVERY cloud services provider. For example what is the service level agreement they provide? What about their track record with regards to customer base, on-going infrastructure investment and network capacity? But even these questions aren’t enough. When vetting an enterprise-class cloud fax service provider “capable” isn’t enough; you want strength in these areas. Some of the specific strengths to look for are: company finances – if the cloud fax provider is a publicly traded company – you can investigate their financial health. Research overall company reputation and position in the market. whether the cloud fax provider’s clients include a significant portion of Fortune 500 companies – proves they possess the ability to interact, consult and service large organizations that typically operate on a global scale if on-going investment in their cloud network and platform infrastructure is a strategic imperative – confirms a commitment to keeping their network optimized and aligned with the latest cloud technology standards and protocols number of users of the service – if they’ve served millions of customers it shows the cloud fax provider has a proven track record of successfully handling customer inquiries, implementations and deployments, as well as discrepancies issues number of transactions annually – millions or billions of transmitted messages each year indicate scalability, meaning the cloud fax provider possesses the necessary pedigree and capacity to support large data transmissions, including peak periods Many vendors offer several cloud fax solutions to address various information management issues; most are very capable at it too. However OpenText’s history of offering enterprise-class cloud fax services across a multitude of industry verticals, spans over 20 years. During that time it’s allowed us to become not just “capable“, but the leader in cloud fax services. NOTE: This is an installment of a Blog post series on enterprise-class cloud fax services. To view other posts in the series please refer to the following links: What Makes Cloud Fax Services Enterprise Class Assessing Cloud Architecture and Fax Performance Recovering from Fax Disaster Fax Compliance in an Ever Changing World Cloud Fax Takes Information Management to the Next Level Cloud Fax Services Make Administration Easy Simplify Global IT Support with Cloud Fax

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Archiving – Do You Need to Upgrade? [Part 2]

Part 2 – Symptoms As an archive system falls behind the times, the symptoms of its failure show up in the organization with increasing frequency and virulence, frustrating users and negatively impacting the bottom line until a tipping point is reached and action is taken. Let’s take a look at symptoms of an outdated Archiving System. An uptick in certain business, governance, and technical problems within an organization could be symptomatic of an outdated archive system. Here are some tell-tale signs to watch out for. Business Symptoms When an organization finds it increasingly difficult to meet important business deadlines or fulfill Service Level Agreements (SLAs), one of the root causes could be a poorly performing archive system. More obviously, a spike in user complaints about system availability or content accessibility suggests that an archive system is no longer meeting users’ needs and expectations. Users may also complain of an inability to extract content or data for targeted messaging, transpromotional marketing (transpromo), next best offer, analytics, and other sales and marketing functions. Another symptom of an outdated archive system is users’ increasing frustration with the lack of basic and advanced search functionality, something that many people now take for granted in modern business applications. Finally, from a cost point of view, when the total annual cost of an archive system increases out of proportion to usage rates or functionality, it’s probably time for a change. Governance Symptoms If an organization is unable to reliably store or locate content that it has a legal responsibility to retain, the archive system should be carefully re-evaluated. Likewise if an organization finds that its ability to mount a vigorous defense against a lawsuit is compromised because it either doesn’t have or can’t find relevant internal documents. An archive system that’s incapable of automatically destroying old or outdated content, as per government-mandated retention guidelines, should also be evaluated for an upgrade because manual destruction of obsolete content is fraught with error. Old content is often left to clog up the system resulting in additional risk of eDiscovery while current content periodically gets prematurely deleted, violating records retention regulations. The most extreme governance-related symptoms are compliance infractions leading to investigations, fines, license revocations, or lawsuits. Technical Symptoms One of the most common (and obvious) indications that an archive system needs an upgrade is the official termination of support by the vendor of a major system component. Without vendor support, the burden of maintaining an aging legacy system—and making it work with newer business systems—falls squarely on the shoulders of the organization itself. Over time, this maintenance burden will increase even as the archive system yields diminishing returns. The system will be superseded throughout industry by newer technology so the pool of IT personnel qualified to maintain it will shrink, making it increasingly difficult and expensive to operate. At some point, the IT department may become unwilling to commit valuable resources to propping up a labor-intensive legacy system built on old technology. Another symptom of an outdated archive system is slow performance, relative to either the system’s past performance or current technology benchmarks. If performance has degraded over time, the system might not be flexible or scalable enough to keep up with the organization’s changing needs. When it becomes prohibitively expensive to boost performance or add new capabilities/features, an archive system should definitely be evaluated for an upgrade. If an archive system has excessive storage requirements because, for example, it retains multiple copies of a logo image that appears in many documents, perhaps it should be upgraded to optimize storage methods and redistribute content to less expensive storage media, thus reducing storage costs. Still on the topic of storage, another symptom of an outdated archive system is the inability to transfer, store, and deliver content in multiple different formats. This technical limitation places unnecessary constraints on what and how organizations serve their customers in a modern, multi-channel environment. Other restrictions on content or data usage can also be symptomatic of an outdated archive system. For instance, an inability to: Combine content into logical groupings or packages Use or combine content from business systems, including other repositories Use content in new business flows or modern channels such as email, mobile, and tablet Integrate data-oriented systems such as analytics and visualization. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, perhaps the most easily recognizable symptom of an outdated archive system is the inability to connect with social media. An archive with social media integration can store customer comments and feedback, providing consumers with additional information and context for the content they are viewing. In the next blog post, we will take a look at the modern features you want when evaluating an archive. To learn more, download a free white paper, How to Recognize When Archiving Has Become a Problem.

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Simplifying the Conflict Minerals Reporting Process

Earlier this year many North American based companies were filing their conflict minerals reports for the first time. The Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals Law was introduced to help understand the source of conflict minerals across global supply chains, primarily in the high tech, automotive and CPG manufacturing sectors. This is an area that I have blogged about before, however this blog will provide an update on how this year’s reporting process went. I will also be covering this subject in more detail during one of my presentation sessions at our Enterprise World conference next month. This new law was introduced by the US Senate and applies to any North American based company filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC. Companies have to provide evidence that their supply chains are not using conflict minerals. Even though it was just North American based companies that had to report to the SEC, suppliers located in other countries would have to provide evidence to their respective customers in North America of where potential conflict minerals were sourced from. Conflict minerals, namely Tin, Tungsten, Tantalum and Gold (collectively known as the 3TG minerals) are mined all over the world however this new regulation specifically relates to the sourcing of 3TG minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Africa. Many mines in this region are owned by militia groups and the proceeds from the sale of 3TG minerals are used to fund their military operations. 3TG minerals are used in a range of every day products: The new law aims to check the source of these minerals before they enter the smelter process. In December 2010 the International Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) produced a document describing a five stage process which provides due diligence guidance for sourcing minerals from conflict affected and high risk areas around the world. Stage two of this framework specifically relates to the assessment and reporting process for identifying the source of conflict minerals. To assist with the reporting process, the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) was established to help companies implement a process for assessing their supply chain and to find out where 3TG minerals were sourced from. CFSI devised a SEC approved reporting Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that companies could use for assessing their supply chains. All of the major industry analysts have produced reports offering their own analysis on the sourcing of conflict minerals, however Deloitte succinctly summarised the issues as follows, “The complexity of today’s supply chains combined with the lack of visibility into sourcing practices will be one of the key challenges of ensuring that Dodd-Frank can be adhered to”. So how did companies do during the first reporting period and what were the challenges that they faced during the assessment process? Initial estimates of the number of companies that would be impacted by this new ruling were 6000, however a study conducted by Ernst and Young in June 2014, just after the 2014 reporting process had been completed, showed that the actual number of companies that completed a standard disclosure form to the SEC was just over 1300 and of these just 1000 completed a conflict minerals report as they had reason to believe that 3TG minerals had been sourced from the DRC. The Ernst and Young report went on to say that: Average number of suppliers surveyed was 2500, but ranged from just 5 to over 40,000 suppliers 49% of respondents came from the technology, industrial and CPG sectors 43% of respondents showed sourcing of some portion of minerals from the DRC 52% of companies did not disclose supplier response rates, of those that did respond only 15% of companies had supplier response rate greater than 90% Only 27% were able to provide a list of smelters and refiners After reviewing some of the conflict minerals disclosures on the SEC website it became clear that many companies had struggled to engage with their entire supply chain and in fact there were some remarkably similar issues faced by reporting companies, namely: Ensuring that supplier contact information was up to date to allow reporting template to be sent to them Some companies received no response from their direct and sub-tier materials suppliers, partly due to the complexity of their respective supply chains Information provided by suppliers was often incomplete or inaccurate Suppliers had to be chased up for report submissions to meet SEC’s May 31st deadline Part of the problem related to acquiring information from suppliers is the reporting tool itself, even though it is relatively easy to complete, the main challenge is the distribution of the spreadsheet to a supplier community and then tracking all responses. If a company for example has more than ten thousand trading partners located all over the world then this problem becomes even more complex. OpenText™ Active Community is a cloud based community management platform that is used to manage day to day interactions with a supply chain community. Using a centrally managed archive of supplier contact information combined with comprehensive email management and reporting tools, Active Community can help remove the complexities of managing the distribution of information to a trading partner community. OpenText has re-created the CFSI reporting template within Active Community’s survey module. This means that companies can simply send an email to all their suppliers with a link to a reporting web form and all responses can be tracked and reported on. Using Active Community for the conflict minerals reporting process offers a number of key benefits: Provides an effective cloud based platform for distributing and tracking responses to conflict minerals based assessments Offers a simple and efficient reporting environment to encourage 100% participation from trading partners Ensures trading partner information is accurately maintained within a centralized environment Allows a company to meet an important corporate social responsibility objective and allow a conflict minerals report to be filed on time Even though the reporting process is only mandated by law in North America at the moment, other regions around the world are closely monitoring the US reporting process. The European Union passed a ruling earlier this year that it would allow companies located in member countries to self-certify their supply chains for conflict minerals. The EU ruling currently applies to importers of raw materials and does not include manufacturers and companies importing finished goods. The US and EU rules are intended to introduce more transparency into global supply chains, companies will therefore be ethically compelled to find out what is in their supply chains. Moving forwards it is expected that conflict minerals sourcing will become a core part of a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, which of course has board level support in most companies. OpenText has developed a number of resources to explain how we can help companies simplify their reporting process, these resources include an executive briefing document, a short webinar providing more details on the conflict minerals ruling and how Active Community can help and finally a twenty minute demonstration of the CFSI template within Active Community and how it can be used to quickly survey a supplier community. If you would like to see a short introductory video which introduces the conflict minerals ruling then please see the video below. To access our conflict minerals resources, please click here.

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Redaction isn’t a Good Place for a DIY Approach

redaction

I’ve been covering redaction mishaps for a while now, and happily, the number of high profile snafus has really gone down, but they still happen. So I’m not surprised that groups like TransCelerate BioPharma Inc., a nonprofit consortium of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, are offering guidance on ways to keep private information secure. TransCelerate released a document detailing how organizations should protect the personal data of patients and others involved in clinical study reports (CSRs). It advocates that personal information, investigator names, non-sponsor company names, addresses, patient or subject ID numbers and individual outcomes be redacted.  An explanation of why each item has been redacted should also be provided. “Increasing transparency of clinical trial information by making clinical study reports more widely available is a goal we all share,” said Andrew Freeman, Director and Head of Medical Policy at GlaxoSmithKline, and TransCelerate Clinical Data Transparency initiative co-lead in a press release. “This must be done in ways that protect the privacy of those involved, and the adoption of a consistent approach is an important step forward.” Part of that consistent approach includes the use of professional tools, according to the TransCelerate document: “For documents existing in an electronic format, we recommend redaction utilizing a professional redaction tool that prevents the ability to revert content and unmask redacted information.” Open formats, like TIFF and PDF, can make it easy to share data—but there are also many software programs that can edit the files and even open password-protected files. “Quality control measures must be employed before the redactions are applied and the CSR is rendered as a Portable Document Format (PDF) that cannot be edited,” according to the document. Redaction should completely remove, rather than cover, sensitive content so it can’t be copied or compromised. This is actually the most common redaction mistake made, with very costy consequences, including: Identity theft, which affects more than 9 million people and costs more than $56 billion to the economy every year Non-compliance with regulations such as the Freedom of Information Act or Sarbanes-Oxley Loss of competitive advantage Compromised security and loss of intellectual property as vulnerable content leaves your organization Embarrassing press and possible litigation It is easy to see why redaction is so important, but without a “professional redaction tool” as recommended by TransCelerate, the process can be challenging and time consuming. A survey found that more than 25% of respondents were still doing redaction manually, with markers or redaction tape. This generally means printing out the document, using a black marker to block out confidential material, then making a copy (and often a copy of that copy to ensure the text is fully obscured), and then scanning it back to electronic form. Performing electronic redaction can greatly reduce the amount of time (and money) spent redacting. Read more about a solution here.

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Simplify Global IT Support with Cloud Fax

Enterprises operating centrally-based IT organizations are usually challenged when it comes to managing that infrastructure across continents. It’s a lot to handle because of all the requirements associated with multiple IT resources located in different regions, each with their own hardware, software, telecom and telephone services. Supporting all these variables increases IT budgets while adding management complexity. When enterprise service upgrades are scheduled, this complex mix creates a logistical nightmare that can lead to regional management problems and lost productivity. A cloud fax service provider can help circumvent this. They provide enterprises with one external resource for service operation and technical support. For example, issues around dealing with multiple telecom providers in various geographic regions are resolved. Instead these enterprises rely on one vendor to support service delivery to any continent or country. Taken further, enterprises requiring “around the clock” customer service and technical support can trust an enterprise cloud fax service provider’s network operations centers to manage their services 24/7/365. These operations centers have staff with a wealth of experience and knowledge necessary for identifying and preventing technical issues before they get serious. The staff is basically one central resource for all global support and functions including: network monitoring setup and configuration usage training notification case tracking prioritization self-service According to a national survey by Rackspace Hosting, a segment of the findings stated “by a three to one ratio (75% to 25%), IT decision makers prefer a cloud provider with strong technical support.” I think what the research really indicates is that there’s an expectation among today’s IT decision makers that cloud fax service providers can maximize their resources to support its customers’ new-revenue generating activities around the globe. NOTE: This is an installment of a Blog post series on enterprise-class cloud fax services. To view other posts in the series please refer to the following links: What Makes Cloud Fax Services Enterprise Class Assessing Cloud Architecture and Fax Performance Recovering from Fax Disaster Fax Compliance in an Ever Changing World Cloud Fax Takes Information Management to the Next Level Cloud Fax Services Make Administration Easy Know Your Cloud Fax Service Provider’s Strengths

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Customer Communications Transformed: Who Benefits and How it Works

That was then. This is now. In the past, bank statements and credit card bills – as well as other financial customer communications – would come through the mail. Customers would look through their paper copies once they arrived and file them away for future use. Now, though, more and more people are looking at their statements and bills another way: interacting with them online through secure web portals, mobile devices and email. Reaping the Benefits For customers, the shift to online communications means access anytime and anywhere. They can gain immediate access to their personal transactional data, and don’t have to sort through piles of papers to do so. What’s more, they can visualize and sort that data in a way that makes sense to them, and send it to third parties – during tax season, for example – more cheaply and easily. The result is a vastly improved experience that allows customers to handle their finances the way they deal with many other aspects of their life – online. But online customer communications not only benefit the customers who receive them. The companies that send out those statements and bills gain advantage from the shift online as well. In fact, they can achieve dramatic savings as they cut out costs associated with paper, ink, stamps, envelopes, postage, and printing equipment and supplies. But at the same time, by improving their customer experience, they’re also better able to remain competitive and attract and retain customers. With their customers logging onto their web portal or accessing their mobile app or email communications regularly, those companies also increase their upsell and cross-sell opportunities and can increase their brand exposure – gaining customer insight as well from the resulting data analytics, which help predict behavior, identify trends and so on. How it Works To convert high-volume print streams into information that is accessible online, incoming data must be parsed into an internal (intermediate) file format, where organizations can perform various operations on it – adding, replacing or extracting data; inserting targeted messages; and incorporating images. From there the documents –which include millions of customer communications sent out regularly by organizations such as banks or telecom companies – are transformed into various formats for presentation through desktop or mobile web pages, mobile apps, or into documents that are properly tagged for the use with assistive technologies such as screen readers. To do all of that, and to keep up with customer demands for online access, companies need a reliable, robust technology designed specifically for the task at hand. One that works with today’s customer and organizational needs. What are the must-have features your organization would consider when looking for the right print to web transformation solution? Read this 2-page Business Overview for information on Actuate’s print-to-web technology.

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Accessibility on All Fronts: Creating Accessible Web Content

How are companies today faring when it comes to creating accessible environments for their customers? The answer is more complicated than you might think. Because if you visit a modern office building, or even take a look at corporate websites, accessibility has obviously become a key ingredient for most businesses today. Companies want all of their customers to be able to reach them, whether that means adding wheelchair ramps to their offices, or accessibility tags to their websites. Those that don’t make the efforts have quickly found that there are hefty legal repercussions and lawsuits waiting for them if they don’t comply. But to truly be able to access services, information, etc., individuals with disabilities must have a comparable opportunity to go everywhere customers without disabilities can. And that means businesses need more than wheelchair ramps and accessible websites – they need accessible web content as well. I wrote about exactly this issue in a recent article for Business Solutions magazine, entitled “Creating Fully Accessible Web Content: The Industrial Approach.” The article looked at the changing face of accessible content – from a time when companies required the visually impaired to identify themselves as disabled, and then wait for content to be sent to them in accessible paper formats like Braille, to now, when the visually impaired require and demand immediately available online content, just like everybody else. To stay compliant – and to keep all of their customers happy – companies need to build new options into all of their online content, including PDF statements, account notices and bills. For that to become the norm, though, companies need to embrace technology, specifically automation. They need a technology that’s scalable to their customers’ needs—because building accessibility into these PDF documents manually is too cost and time intensive and simply cannot provide an equivalent or even comparable experience. That means introducing automation with intelligence to maintain standards compliant accessibility rules and formats, to generate these statements, bills and notices accessibly on-demand so that they and readable and usable by those using screen readers. It’s only once that content becomes easily accessible and usable that companies start to come close to true accessibility – and actual regulatory compliance. But they’ll be one step closer to something else, too: customer loyalty. And that can be a hard thing to find in today’s competitive environment. If you want to know more about creating accessible web content, read my original article published by Business Solutions Magazine.

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Streamlining the Signing Process With Electronic Signatures

electronic signatures

With business stakeholders becoming increasingly mobile, it can be challenging to get a document in front of someone for signature or approval. Many industries are turning to electronic signatures, often building them into their enterprise content management (ECM) systems, as a more efficient and cost-effective way of obtaining those signatures. There are two types of electronic signatures that are currently prevalent: A digital signature, which is a type of electronic signature that incorporates encryption and passwords Electronic or e-signatures, which more broadly includes any “electronic sound, symbol or process” used to sign an electronic transaction, according to The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act Both can save time, money and the resources associated with getting a hard copy of a document in front of someone to sign, but let’s look at what makes them work. Digital Signatures Larry Kluger, marketing manager at CoSign by Arx, explains how organizations are using digital signatures for customers, clients and other external signers. Instead of employing an outside service, they can use their own digital signature systems—as long as a couple of important conditions are met. First, the signer must be properly authenticated. This is most easily accomplished in person, with appropriate identification, but there are some reliable ways to authenticate “remote signers.” Second, there must be a way to certify that the remote signer really is the person who digitally signed the document. Kluger suggests having a staff member digitally sign the document, attesting to the validity of the first signature, or having the external signer use encrypted digital certificate technology (commonly used by third-party services). Electronic signatures The procedures that Kluger outlines, however, can seem cumbersome for frequent signatories. Wouldn’t it be easier to authenticate external signers once and input scanned signatures, official seals and initials into one central repository? External signers could then be provided documents on a secure website and easily sign as required. Enter electronic signatures, which can be as legally binding as digital signatures provided the user is logged into their ECM system (the authentication) and that the ECM system records the signature action. This type of electronic signature even meets the strict requirements of FDA CFR 21 part 11. OpenText™ Brava makes adding electronic signatures easy. Simply set up your signature once using either an image or choosing a script font to type it in electronically. Going forward, you can quickly and easily apply the signature, initials and even professional seals—a particularly useful feature for CAD users. When integrated to an ECM system, it alerts the system that the signing event has been completed so it can record it in the database.

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Cloud Fax Services Make Administration Easy

Administering enterprise cloud faxing in simple fashion is another one of the messaging service’s benefits. In fact a leading enterprise-class cloud fax service provider should offer a set of unique features that make administration easy to implement and conduct. Let’s say you’re an administrator for an organization that’s decided to incorporate cloud fax into its messaging strategy. Obviously you’re going to spell out the unique fax feature requirements according to your enterprise’s standard communication architecture. Once confirmed, the cloud fax service provider deploys a professional services team that uses web technology to implement those requirements. The team usually consists of project management, sales engineering, account management, customer support and telecom. Once implementation is complete, you’ll become the cloud fax administrator. You’ll be able to log into a secure web portal that gives you the ability to perform the following: Add, change or delete cloud fax users as needed Manage group properties including options to add, edit and re-assign fax users to specific groups Track the overall success of fax message delivery Increase or decrease time users can access archived faxes Establish detailed reports on fax message transmission from the company to the user level Reallocate IT costs to specific departments or groups according to fax volume Self-provision new fax numbers from a pool of providers Other administrative features include number porting as well as blocking.This helps maintain service continuity and avoid disruptions with key customers or stakeholders. I could go on; however the point is there are many administrative functions for onboarding and managing enterprise cloud faxing to add strategic value across your organization. NOTE: This is an installment of a Blog post series on enterprise-class cloud fax services. To view other posts in the series please refer to the following links: What Makes Cloud Fax Services Enterprise Class Assessing Cloud Architecture and Fax Performance Recovering from Fax Disaster Fax Compliance in an Ever Changing World Cloud Fax Takes Information Management to the Next Level Simplify Global IT Support with Cloud Fax Know Your Cloud Fax Service Provider’s Strengths

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Archiving – Do You Need to Upgrade? [Part 1]

Part 1 – Drivers for Change Large organizations such as banks, credit card, insurance, telecommunications companies, and government agencies use electronic archive systems to efficiently maintain a comprehensive historical record of their activities, content, and customer data. In this blog post, we will examine the drivers for change that cause many organizations to modernize their archive systems. In future blogs, we will identify the telltale signs of an aging system, and suggest decision-making criteria for a major upgrade. Finally, we will discuss how several organizations have successfully upgraded their archiving systems. Why an Electronic Archive? Corporate content assets such as documents, statements, bills, invoices, insurance policies, and scanned images are essential to the survival and growth of an organization. It is vitally important for these assets to be retained intact and in an orderly fashion so organizations can use them whenever they are needed. Modern organizations have largely abandoned paper-based archives in favor of electronic archive systems. These systems typically comprise one or more enterprise-class software applications for storing, managing, and retrieving electronic versions of ad hoc and high-volume content, allowing organizations to maintain a comprehensive, historical record of their activities, content, and customer data. In that capacity, an archive system simultaneously supports a number of business functions: Customer Service To properly address customer inquiries, complaints, and requests Research and Planning To support ongoing activities and prepare for future projects Analysis To predict customer behavior and identify trends Regulatory Compliance To satisfy government recordkeeping regulations Legal Defense To protect their interests in a legal dispute. Like all information technology, archive systems need to be upgraded from time to time. Depending on an organization’s requirements, an upgrade could mean replacing the entire system with a brand new solution or simply integrating a modern repository into the existing infrastructure. Either way, the first step toward an effective solution is identifying the problem. Drivers for Change The decision to upgrade an archive system can be made for any number of reasons, in response to both internal and external drivers. Some of the factors that commonly influence large organizations to make a change are: Evolving Customer Expectations – Ongoing advances in web and mobile technology have made customer expectations a fast-moving target. Service providers that want to remain competitive need to put systems in place that will allow them to continually improve customer experience across all communication channels. Superior Technology – When the performance of an existing archive system is significantly lower than that of the latest technology, organizations naturally consider an upgrade that will bridge the gap. Reduced Support – Over time, vendors consolidate due to market pressures, and their product and support policies change. If a vendor is decreasing their support, it may be a sign that the product is becoming less important to them, and that you should start looking at your upgrade options. Cheaper Storage – The decreasing cost of some storage media gives large organizations an incentive to adopt archive systems with management tools that can make the best use of cheaper storage options and minimize the use of more expensive media. Organizational Growth – As organizations grow larger and more geographically dispersed, with more customers and a broader range of activities, some existing archive systems cannot be scaled up to meet new requirements so an upgrade becomes necessary. New Customer Channels – Modern organizations must have an archive system capable of receiving and serving up content to a multitude of customer channels, including web, social, mobile, tablet, text messages, email, print, and others. Changing Regulatory Requirements – Legislation is constantly evolving to keep pace with significant industry developments. New regulations are routinely introduced while old ones are repealed or modified. To maintain regulatory compliance, organizations must have an archive system that is flexible enough to address these concerns. Financial Belt-Tightening – Some organizations decide to upgrade their archive system as part of a larger effort to cut costs, find efficiencies, increase profits, or squeeze more value from current assets, including content and IT systems. Of course, few of these drivers arrive suddenly on the doorstep, clearly labeled and immediately actionable. Rather, they exert gradually mounting pressure on an organization. In the next post, we will look at the symptoms of an archiving system that may need to be upgraded. If your organization is considering an archiving system upgrade, what are the drivers for change? To learn more, download free white paper, How to Recognize When Archiving Has Become a Problem.

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8 Reasons Why Customers Benefit from Online Document Delivery

Companies today are seeing the advantages of offering bills, notices, and account statements through secure customer portals. But it is clear that businesses are not the only ones who benefit from offering important content online. We are all customers, so we can probably relate to 8 things customers can do with online data and documents:  1.  View Data In the Way That’s Best For Them. With tools available to manage, sort, graph, chart and export data, customers can arrange their information in a way that makes the best sense and allows them to understand it better. 2. Set Reminders. Life is busy and sometimes it’s easy for people to forget what day it is, never mind which bills are due. Email alerts can remind when payments are due or if the account balance is low, making lives a little bit easier. 3. Access The Account at Any Time. With online statements customers can check their most recent statement or balance no matter where they are or what time of day it is, using whichever device is most convenient to them –from their desktop or laptop to their tablet or mobile phone. 4. Easily Access Archived Information. Hard copies can be easy to lose or misplace, but account information online will be there for as long as the average customer needs it – and it’s legislated to be available. A U.S. financial institution, for example, is required to keep account histories for seven years, to exceed typical IRS periods of limitations for income tax returns. 5. Say No to Clutter and Simplify Their Lives. By going paperless, and managing accounts online instead, customers are reducing their potential for clutter. 6. Improve Environmental Stewardship. Paperless also means less waste, which makes the online option more sustainable – a plus for environmentally conscious customers. 7. Ensure Better Security. Printed statements sent by mail can easily be opened by anyone, while online account information is protected by a secure login. 8. Get Accessible Content On Demand. Many organizations today – to keep up with the needs of their visually impaired customers and ensure they remain compliant with regulations – are driven to offer website content, including documents such as bank statements or bills, that’s accessible on demand with the use of screen reader technology. This helps create inclusionary environment where all digital customer communications are available to everyone. More and more customers are setting aside their paper copies and getting on board with online customer communications. Gaining their loyalty and keeping their business means companies need to keep up with those demands—offering the best online environment they can. If you are switching to online document delivery – what are your reasons to do this? 

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Improving Compliance with Information Governance

The Financial Services industry has seen risks and, notably, costs change a lot in the past year. The costs of not being in compliance have increased exponentially. Fines that were considered incredibly high at several hundred million dollars have now crossed the multibillion dollar mark. In one instance, this number raised doubts about the adequacy of one bank’s capital level after they paid the fine. Financial Services is the industry most impacted by the worldwide increase in regulatory compliance. Better Information Governance can position every financial services firm to meet this challenge successfully. The need for it has never been greater and that need will continue to grow with the expansion of compliance regulations. Granted, Dodd-Frank, FATCA, Basel II & III, Solvency II, the Patriot Act, et. al. are very important. The risks of losing a banking license, reputational risk from negative publicity and even inability to conduct basic business like US dollar clearing are now on the line. Will your customers leave you if this occurs? The value that Information Governance brings to prevent these problems is immeasurable. It helps to minimize legal liability, secure sensitive information, improve regulatory compliance and reduce expenses and, most importantly, treat information as a strategic asset. It can be used to show regulators that positive action has been taken and that regulatory compliance is of paramount importance. Kahn Consulting wrote a whitepaper titled, “ 7 Essential Steps for Taking Control of Digital Data Debris ”, which will help you to build a strong Information Governance strategy, while improving compliance. Beyond regulatory compliance, there are other areas where Information Governance can add a lot of value. This includes the security of information and the ability to use information assets to maximize value while minimizing information-related risks. Other important areas are addressed by Records Management, eDiscovery and the defensible disposition of information. This whitepaper will address all of this and more, while helping you gain a much better understanding of the value. Every financial service firm should have a strong Information Governance strategy, process and technology to manage risks better, avoid regulatory compliance problems and maximize the value of your information. At OpenText, we provide a strong platform for Information Governance, which strives to balance value the risks and costs associated with corporate information. Register and join us at Enterprise World, November 9-14, 2014 to share your thoughts and opinions with us.

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Choosing the right fax server: Security, privacy and compliance

Organizations today face a multitude of compliance directives and thus their investments in a fax solution must be able to demonstrate tangible capabilities that contribute to the security and privacy of their faxes and associated data. Many businesses that rely on fax turn to fax servers to provide top-notch security and privacy of fax documents. Faxing, by its nature, is reasonably secure (the point-to-point transmission of a fax over a secure PSTN) and is highly resistant to tampering, interception, viruses, or malware. In highly regulated industries, fax continues to be the main – and sometimes only – acceptable, secure communication method between parties. Specific security features to look for in a fax server are plenty. While some of the security measure may seem obvious, you may not have thought of these: · Look for a faxing solution that allows multiple servers on the same network to communicate directly with each other through least-cost routing to eliminate telephony charges. This will allow for high speed encrypted faxing between network fax servers and will bypass phone lines or dedicated FoIP connections. · A fax solution should be able to encrypt fax images that reside in the images folder/fax database – this protects images “at rest” from intrusions and hackers alike. · Customizable outbound dialing rules can gain precise control of outbound faxing by specifying rules and restrictions over how faxes are sent. · Make sure that a fax server has secure SMTP options for support for off-premises email solutions and provides authenticated, secure, encrypted connections (TLS and SSL). · Many fax servers offer other forms of delivery, which increase the security of transmission, such as secure email, certified delivery, and encrypted PDF delivery. · Tip: Automating paper-intensive delivery processes to eliminate paper handling and reduce opportunities for unauthorized viewing of fax content. Organizations can also eliminate inefficient manual routing that could breach security and privacy guidelines. Other security options are available for making sure the content that is being sent is approved for transmission. Many organizations have strict regulations regarding the type of content that can be transmitted. A fax server should provide the ability to require approvals prior to sending–someone who reviews the electronic document and provides approval prior to transmission. This approval system can be in place for any type of content: contracts, RFP/RFQs, invoices, legal notifications, etc. and is designed to be an internal fail-safe for organizations trading confidential or sensitive content. Regardless of the vendor you choose, be sure to investigate their security processes and review any documentation that the fax server provider has produced. Do they have a whitepaper on their security features? Knowing what to look for is the first step – recognizing it in the fax server provider is now in your hands! Look for the next article in the series, Choosing the right fax server: Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery. 1. What is the Business Need? 2. Desktop, Email and MFP Integrations 3. Production (Automatic) Faxing and Application Integrations 4. Easy Routing and Storage of Electronic Fax Documents 5. Security, Privacy and Compliance 6. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery 7. Ease of Administration and Administrative Tools 8. Telephony Compatibility

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Accessibility Meets Mobility: M-Enabling Summit 2014

First published on G3ict. Shannon Kelly attended the third edition of the M-Enabling Summit on Accessible Mobile Technology for Seniors and Users of All Abilities, this year in Washington, D.C. Here’s her review of the event highlights. How important is mobile technology? To answer that, you need to consider not only the mobile usage of your friends and colleagues – who, if they’re anything like mine, probably pull out their smart phones and tablets every chance they get – but also the usage of mobile technology around the world. That includes developing countries and rural areas, where the placement of cellular service towers and affordable mobile devices have given even remote and underdeveloped communities access to goods and services via the internet. This global access has opened up commerce for a market that now reaches all corners of the world. Mobile technology has become incredibly important from both a social and commercial perspective – ensuring more widespread access to services, information and products. But its new prevalence also highlights the importance of making the technology accessible to everyone – including seniors and individuals with disabilities, particularly visual and hearing impairments. It’s with that in mind that in June this year, I attended the 3rd annual M-Enabling Summit in Washington, DC. (check out event proceedings). Enabling Everyone Focused on “accessible mobile technology for senior citizens and users of all abilities,” the M-Enabling Summit this year featured discussions on everything from social media and web search accessibility, to mobile accessibility as it relates to commerce. Accessibility on the mobile front is an area Actuate is interested in examining further, so I went hoping to learn more about trends in the field. I wasn’t the only one either: a who’s who of the accessibility thought leaders attended, coming from both the private and public arenas – including representatives from the big telcos and cable providers, and financial institutions and – the likes of AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Comcast, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Scotia Bank; Technology leaders Adobe, Microsoft, Yahoo, and IBM were onboard, as were several federal government agencies and non-profit disability advocacy groups. For a conference with an estimated 500 attendees, it was certainly a highly concentrated and focused accessibility group! So, why this focused accessibility attention on mobile technology? After all, a significant segment of potential mobile customers have disabilities, including those with low or no vision. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 285 million people around the world are estimated to be visually impaired – of those,  90% live in developing countries, where mobile devices may be their only way of participating in online commerce. Approximately 82% are 50 or older, meaning seniors also have a vested interest. Those customers don’t want to have to rely on someone else looking over their shoulder, having access to and reading their personal information. They want solutions that enable them to get information independently. And they want to – and have the right to – participate in commerce and make payments on their phones and tablets the same as everyone else does. One of the sessions I attended at the summit – called Making Mobile Payments Accessible – examined just that. The panelists estimated that within five years mobile payments are likely to become as prevalent as GPS mapping or taking photos with your phone. Building accessible but mobile commerce options, then, is more important than ever. Summit Highlights  The event didn’t disappoint. While the session on mobile payments was one of key interest to me, I also sat in on several others. Another was Integrating Accessible Mobile Solutions in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities for CIOs, which looked at how CIOs can integrate accessible mobile platforms into the workplace, to include and enhance the productivity of their employees with disabilities. What Corporations Need to Know About Mobile Accessibility Compliance: Latest Rules for the Implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, meanwhile, examined new regulatory developments regarding the accessibility of mobile devices and services – and how those changes may affect corporations of all stripes. It was an informative two days that broadened my knowledge of mobile accessibility, and that will hopefully help influence Actuate’s own accessibility efforts going forward. In fact, it may have been my first time attending the M-Enabling Summit, but it definitely won’t be my last. It’s an important, ever-changing field, and I can’t wait to see how it develops!

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Using File Transformation Software to Simplify Compliance in Life Sciences

file transformation software

Pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and other Life Sciences organizations must comply with a barrage of regulations in the U.S. and abroad. One key aspect of compliance involves following strict records management requirements throughout the R&D process, and when submitting new drugs for approval. Documentation for a single research study can run to thousands of pages, and key results might be recorded in various ways, including Microsoft Office documents, digital images and even handwritten notes. In addition, Life Sciences organizations often deal with multiple jurisdictions, patent laws and a dispersed workforce—so it’s no wonder that staying in compliance is complex and time consuming. And as in any other industry, time is money. For example, bringing a drug to market one day earlier can save a pharmaceutical company as much as $37,000 in out-of-pocket development costs and net an additional $1.1 million in daily prescription revenue, according to a Tufts study. To streamline the submission and review process, and reduce time to market, the FDA and other regulatory agencies are encouraging Life Sciences organizations to move to electronic submissions. However, the requirements are daunting. For example, the FDA requires submissions to include PDF versions of case reports that are extensively cross-referenced, hyperlinked and bookmarked. An electronic submission comprises a series of electronic documents, with each document pulling together information that includes forms, reports and data. Specialized content management systems from can help Life Sciences organizations to manage complex workflows and stay in compliance. These systems combine enterprise content management (ECM) features such as shared file repositories and document permissions with workflows that move projects through R&D, clinical trials, regulatory approval and manufacturing. They can also incorporate technologies such as OpenText™ Blazon that make it possible to pull content from many different files and produce merged PDFs for review or inclusion in a submission package. Blazon also automates the file transformation process, allowing organizations to create PDFs from files in many different formats. Life Sciences organizations must also comply with data handling and archiving regulations. Drug development, clinical trial data and documentation pertaining to medical devices must be archived in accordance with very strict rules. For example, FDA 21 CFR Part 11 governs how electronic records are to be managed, while FDA CFR 820 (in the U.S.) and ISO 13485 (in the EU and elsewhere) both require that records pertaining to medical devices be retained for lengthy periods of time. These regulations do not specify the format in which data is to be stored, but our customers tend to use PDF/A for archiving purposes. Batch file transformation software, such as Blazon, can be embedded into workflow processes to ensure that documents are automatically transformed to the required format for archiving or submittal. With Blazon, organizations can ensure adherence to regulatory or internal mandates by using the optimal output format—whether it’s PDF/A for long-term archiving, conventional PDF for distribution or filing with a government agency or TIFF for a widely supported format that doesn’t allow text selection.

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Top Tips For Building Customer-Facing Apps For Insurance [Webinar]

Whether your insurance is covered by a gecko, a duck or a smiling pitch girl clad in white, providers are at the forefront of translating your information and data from various sources into an engaging custom experience. But to build these experiences, insurance providers need insight into how to leverage customer portals that will eventually provide a common customer experience. The insurance news website Property Casualty 360 ranked “Portals 2.0″ alongside “Business Intelligence” and “Customer Experience Management” as three of the five hottest technologies for the insurance industry to use. “Portal technology was impressive when it first came about and creating a portal for agents and another portal for consumers. Now, however, the insurance company has to look at other stakeholders and their needs to review, transmit or update information,” the site recently revealed in its 2014 trends piece. Insurers know they have to deliver relevant policy information to their customers and agents on-demand through many channels, including the call center, web, mobile devices and soon wearable devices. For carriers, this creates a defining moment of truth as systems falter due to limited functionality and cost-prohibitive enhancements are required.  If a portal is inconsistent, potentially inaccurate, and frustrating, agents and customers won’t use them, which effectively damages a business opportunity. But at the risk of sounding like an insurance company commercial, help is just a few clicks away. Recently, Actuate participated in a webinar that outlined the best steps insurance companies can take to build a better portal. Allen Bonde, VP Product Marketing & Innovation at Actuate Corporation, spoke about how industry-leading applications are able to manage and deliver visual data and deliver relevant visuals that pull data from a front-end customer portal. Bonde also touched on how technologies like BIRT best address client reporting, APIs, interactivity, scalability, security and multi-tenancy – not to mention the ability to scale to manage lots of customers. Other speakers in the webinar included: Nathan Golia, Senior Editor, Insurance & Technology (moderator) Steven Callahan, Management Consultant, Practice Director, The Nolan Company Chad Hersh, SVP, The Nolan Company To find out how technologies like BIRT reduce the pain of building these insurance portals – and therefore help to create customer loyalty and better experiences, register for the webinar.  

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Cloud Fax Takes Information Management to the Next Level

To this point we’ve discussed the key benefits of enterprise fax services in general – notably their ability to enable cost effective on-demand faxing while providing high degrees of flexibility and scalability. There are however specific features beyond these general descriptions worth mentioning. These features speak primarily to how both individual users and business systems leverage fax technology to optimize enterprise information management. From an individual user perspective, integrating fax with existing email and desktop applications is the main example – whether you integrate with Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes or another desktop program. This enables users to fax files without first printing them – turning a multi-step process into one that takes seconds. Your fax service should be able to convert common desktop file types – like PDF, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint as well as JPEG files to images for faxing without user intervention. Enterprise fax technology should also offer integrations that merge fax with back office applications and systems, multi-function devices (MFDs) as well as terminal systems that support “print only” functions. All of these methods make faxing convenient as it allows users and systems to strategically manage and send documents almost simultaneously. In other words fax technology lets you access various information management platforms and cut the typical cost and productivity drains associated with using traditional standalone fax machines. Enterprise fax services also offer add-on capabilities that streamline operations with regards to certain document management processes. For example you can incorporate capture technology that automatically extracts and converts inbound fax documents into data before delivering it into your unique workflow. Imagine you’re a supplier that receives sales orders via paper fax, but you’re experiencing lags in your business cycle from manually rekeying order information into your ERP system. That’s where these add-on document capture and workflow services can help. They will convert those paper fax orders into electronic data and deliver it into your sales ordering system, like SAP for example, based on your unique business rules. From there you can also add notifications alerting your procurement department an order has arrived, and is in process. Workflow examples like this, where fax plays a key role, can extend to everything from accounts receivable to loan application processing. NOTE: This is an installment of a Blog post series on enterprise-class cloud fax services. To view other posts in the series please refer to the following links: What Makes Cloud Fax Services Enterprise Class Assessing Cloud Architecture and Fax Performance Recovering from Fax Disaster Fax Compliance in an Ever Changing World Cloud Fax Services Make Administration Easy Simplify Global IT Support with Cloud Fax Know Your Cloud Fax Service Provider’s Strengths

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Enterprise World 2014 Invites you to Experience Greatness!

Customer Experience , as defined in Wikipedia, is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. In today’s world, this experience can make or break a business. At OpenText we strive to provide our customers with a platform and applications that allow them to deliver great Customer Experiences to their audiences, buyers and stakeholders. Enterprise World provides the perfect venue to come together and share vibrant stories of greatness. In fact our theme for this year’s Customer Experience Management track is called: Experience Greatness! This post will help you navigate greatness in products , ROI, peer discussions and technical how-to’s. CEM Sessions on Wednesday & Thursday We have over 35 CEM session and activities to help you experience greatness. Keynotes : We begin the day with Main Stage Keynotes from guest speakers and OpenText Executive Leadership. Right after lunch, we will host a mini-keynote session centered on the Experience Suite, where we have organized a “View on CEM” for you. The mini-keynote will tease you with discussions that will continue into more in-depth breakout sessions. It’s Time for Action: Lessons in Delivering Great Digital Experiences from across the world. • How are digital channels changing expectations and how should organizations respond? • Are social media efforts like the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” creating emotional connections that others should follow? • Beyond satisfaction: what is it that makes customers loyal? • What can we learn from companies that consistently ‘wow’ their customers? • Next steps: how should you invest to meet Digital Transformation initiatives? Breakouts : After the mini-keynote, we will have 4 CEM tracks running simultaneously. The 4 track themes each cover important facets that are needed to help build a great experience: Track 1: Great Omni Channel Communications Great communication is an art form. Hear from other organizations how they were able to design, develop and deploy rich omni-channel Communications: personalize and target invoices, email, webpages, receipts, documents and more to improve interaction with you anytime, anywhere and across any device. Track 2: Great Adaptive Content Information is an instrument for communication in every organization; dynamically tuning it for each individual’s preference is the heart of Adaptive content. This track will highlight how organizations like yours are accessing information from multiple sources to share the most effective content based on user preference. Track 4: Great Experiences With the rise in Digital Transformation projects, many organizations are looking at how to create, curate and manage media, web, documents, social and any other digital assets to deliver the most compelling Digital Experience possible. Looking for ideas in digital marketing, customer self-service, supply chain distribution? Hear how other companies have deliver seamless, comprehensive information flows – creation, publication, distribution, analysis and archiving of content to formulate a great experience. Track 4: Great Responsiveness This track will highlight the importance of creating a responsive web and mobile experience that is consistent, compelling and engaging. Adaptive content delivers experiences that are device agnostic, but only a Responsive system can adjust as users switch between devices and channels. Each track is designed to stimulate conversation and interaction with the audience on a variety of topics. Whether you want to continue the technical discussion or look for business oriented sessions, we have something just for you. Each of the 4 themed tracks above are broken into the following focus areas to help you narrow down to your most relevant area of interest. CEM – Experience Strategy – Market leading companies will share their strategic views on topics such as; how best to find the balance between adopting new digital channels and consistency across existing channels. CEM –Experience Insight – It’s all about the metrics. These sessions will provide insights into measurable activities such as; how to best make your customer experience seamless and responsive across the multitude of devices that both businesses and consumers use; or how to improve on your customer engagement. CEM – Experience Best Practices – In these sessions, you will hear direct from the practitioners who will offer their tips and advice on things like; how best to use HTML5 to improve the user experience; or how to optimize social collaboration for positive business impact. CEM – Experience Case Studies – What better way to bring the strategy, metrics and implementation to life than through real-life scenarios? OpenText customers share their stories such as a government’s ability to cement the citizen experience with social media capabilities. CEM – Roadmap – Upgrade Path – Product Management will share their vision for the next releases of our Experience Suite family of products, including Tempo Social, Portal, WEM, CCM and Media Management sessions. Hear how you can upgrade to the full Experience Suite and take advantage of this new integrated platform. Innovation and CEM Labs and Meetings Back by popular demand… don’t forget to stop by the expo hall and check out the latest Customer Experience Management information workflow (we like to call the CEM LAB) . Here you will find the process of creating, managing, sharing and publishing content all visible in one location. Can’t make it through the whole story in one sitting, don’t worry, we’ll have a time table set that you can pop in and out as often as you can to see it all. Expo Hall: WEM, Tempo Social, Portal, Media Management, Customer Communication Management and WSM pods. CEM LAB: Get your hands on (and give feedback to) the new UX designs for CEM products . Meet the Experts: Just in case you want some 1-1 time with our engineers, product managers, support or services staff on site, you can request meeting times with your favorite experts. As you can see, in addition to the great entertainment we have in store for you (announcing soon) , there are many different activities to partake in over the course of the week. Make sure to keep an eye on this community as my next post will talk about the great customers that are coming to join us and share thier stories. Take a look back at last year’s event here. REGISTER NOW to ATTEND! WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!! http://www.opentext.com/campaigns/enterprise-world-2014

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Choosing the right fax server: Easy Routing and Storage of Fax Documents

One of the biggest business benefits of enterprise fax servers is the ability to integrate faxes into a workflow or business process. Did you know that this integration is driven largely by “rules” set for incoming faxes, which are customizable based on a number of inbound fax routing options? A fax server can serve as an on ramp to a workflow process, an index and storage application, or as a routing mechanism to direct documents to the final destinations within an organization. Organizations should evaluate their workflow/business process requirements against the capture routing and storage features of a given fax server. EASY ROUTING OF FAX DOCUMENTS Routing based on phone number dialed, such as DID/DNIS: Administrators can set up rules to automatically use the telephony information associated with the inbound fax for routing purposes and more. For example, if they dial your fax number, the fax comes to you! Here’s where it gets interesting! Routing based on rules: Inbound faxes can be routed based on a number of customizable rules. These routing options are designed to get the faxed documents where they need to go quickly and efficiently. Routing options include delivering faxes to: · An individual user’s fax inbox or integrated email inbox. · All members of a group’s inboxes-Many fax server solutions can provide systematic distribution of faxes to groups of users either linearly (to user 1, 2, 3, etc.) or in a round robin workflow (to the next available inbox). · A network folder · Back-end workflow systems and other business applications · Vertical applications · Content management systems · Storage systems · MFP devices-A fax solution should have a setting for received faxes that allow for inbound faxes to be automatically printed upon receipt. Routing based on fax content: Some fax servers can search the content of an incoming fax and route the fax based on its recognized characters. This is particularly important to those industries that use account numbers, barcodes or other identifying fields in their fax content. · Optical/Intelligent Character Recognition (OCR/ICR): Seek an enterprise fax solution that has OCR processors available. Convert images of text in received faxes into standard, editable text files. · Barcode Recognition and Routing (routes faxes based on barcode data): Barcode information is included in the fax history record and routes based on routing rules. · XML Export: A process by which the fax server application outputs fax image files and metadata in XML format. These can be imported into an XML-compatible document management system, Microsoft SharePoint, etc. EASY STORAGE OF ELECTRONIC FAX DOCUMENTS Don’t forget to keep your faxes for as long as you need them! Archiving fax documents shouldn’t be a painful process. Be sure to choose a fax server which enables fax archiving to allow for easy storage and retrieval of fax documents. These features should include: · Record all inbound and outbound fax transactions and provide searchable access · The ability to archive automatically without the suspension of operations · The ability to export faxes and metadata to third-party archiving or content management systems · Searchable PDF capabilities should be considered if there is a need to create text searchable versions of inbound faxes. This feature is import to companies that need to store or archive faxes with searchable content from keywords and text strings. Search fax history as easily as typing a keyword search string to find related faxes. Also, select a fax server that includes optional automatic archive capabilities such as security and encryption, compliance and audit readiness, and a comprehensive search and retrieval engine. Evaluating a fax server should always include a review of the routing and storage options offered with the solution. These options will help you integrate fax in business processes and get the fax to the right person faster. Productivity increases tremendously when implementing smart routing options. And keeping those faxes in a safe and secure location shouldn’t ever be overlooked. Watch for the next article in the series- Choosing the right fax server: Security, Privacy and Compliance. 1. What is the Business Need? 2. Desktop, Email and MFP Integrations 3. Production (Automatic) Faxing and Application Integrations 4. Easy Routing and Storage of Electronic Fax Documents 5. Security, Privacy and Compliance 6. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery 7. Ease of Administration and Administrative Tools 8. Telephony Compatibility

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Reasons for Customer Communications Management

The concept of Customer Communications Management (CCM) is quite broad. To understand its importance, let’s review the basics and focus on several important reasons why organizations invest in developing and executing a CCM strategy. What You Should Know About CCM Customer Communications Management: Enables corporate-wide deployment spanning different departments and functions. Reassigns responsibility for documents to content specialists. Ensures corporate image consistency. Minimizes compliance and liability-related risks associated with documents. Offers the potential to optimize costs and up-sell / cross-sell. Enables full control over customer communications. Helps avoid errors in correspondence. Provides a central platform for all corporate communications. Optimization in Customer Communications One can maximize profits while cutting costs in the area of customer communications. However, many companies still do not realize this and continue wasting money on postage and impersonal communications with customers. This situation continues to prevail, despite the fact that personalized customer correspondence can and should be optimized more often to help reach corporate goals. A Step Ahead of the Competition with Your Customer Correspondence The way you choose to communicate with customers can be the decisive factor that enables you to stand out in a packed competitive landscape. It is no wonder that a survey of SMEs by IBM® confirmed that customer care is taking on increasing significance for enterprises. The survey revealed that 79% of respondents ranked better customer care as the key issue facing their business. The McKinsey Quarterly listed three facts that highlighted the rising importance of customer communications to enterprises in general: 1. 98% of enterprises lack an effective or efficient strategy on how to deal with documents. 2. For each dollar an enterprise spends on composing a document, another nine are needed to manage it. 3.  Even modest investments to optimize document-related processes can have a major impact on the financial outcome. Optimizing customer communications and all other document-related areas adds value to your IT, editing, document creation, and customer management units while distinguishing you from your competitors. Another way to distinguish yourself is by adding a personal touch to your correspondences. This increases customer loyalty as well as works in your advantage when working to win new customers. It also emphasizes to customers the importance of communication to your company. Constant Emphasis on Costs, Control, and Quality The 21st century’s personalized service mentality and the advancement of social media as the communications platform preferred by many consumers have brought about significant changes in the area of customer communication. Yet, the status quo of many companies remains unchanged, for example: 1. Each department communicates separately with customers. 2. Many data processing applications and IT systems are inadequately integrated, or are not integrated at all, when it comes to processing customer communications and document creation. 3. The Corporate Identity /Corporate Design are inconsistent, depending on who worked on a particular document. 4. There is no central platform for saving, managing, and extracting information. The aforementioned issues cause problems in corporate communications. By passively reacting or not responding to the new ways in which consumers communicate, enterprises are steadily incurring rising costs. Companies experience serious financial drawbacks by choosing to deploy mostly printed correspondence (an outdated approach) instead of opting for more digital communications. Moreover, the costs associated with following-up on written correspondence are relatively high. Wherever communications generate competitive advantage, inadequate control over those communications could mean a significant disadvantage. For instance, it can be difficult to enforce guidelines and standards of quality without keeping the proper tabs on the communication channels and documenting actions and interactions of customers and employees. Therefore, companies must constantly emphasize the costs, controls, and quality of their communications. These are the key parameters to focus on when introducing modern CCM systems to ensure standardized communications. CCM – A Solution for Enterprises The expression “Customer Communications Management” was used by analysts such as Forrester Research, the Gartner Group, and Madison Advisors, to define a convergent set of information technology solutions for communicating with customers (Figure 1, CCM Framework). Figure 1. Customer Communications Management Framework. The goal of CCM is to optimize the way enterprises communicate with their customers. This does not mean sending more offers or information to customers, but rather boosting the relevance, uniformity, and clarity of communication. Create Personalized Correspondence for the Customer CCM is a field in which software is used to format and personalize customer-specific content and send it in an electronic or physical form. CCM encompasses various kinds of content, including letters, bills, financial correspondence, marketing materials, reminders, offers and more. Recognize the Hidden Potential CCM should be one of the core competencies of any enterprise, since it facilitates direct contact with the customer, regardless of the industry or sector involved. Applications can be divided into structured, interactive, and on-demand documents. The relevant processes fall into the 3 categories below: Structured Documents Structured documents are scheduled, consistently formatted, and rarely need any formal changes; thus template management plays an important role here. Such documents are often created in batches or are offset for print runs. Success thus depends on generating large volumes and controlling the print data streams. Examples: phone bills, brokerage statements Interactive Documents Interactive documents require linking the customer-specific data with predefined structures. Compared with structured output, these call for a high degree of personalization. This means that the software uses a particular set of text blocks, rules, and variables to provide more individualized output based on matching customer-specific and customer-relevant data. Many enterprises would like to see templates, document structures, and text blocks controlled by specialists, while having the option to control documents through multiple channels. Examples: customer correspondence, marketing materials, offers, contracts On-Demand Documents These documents are generally triggered by requests from various incoming channels of an enterprise, such as the web, fax, phone, email, and ERP systems with integrated solutions. On-demand output may be initiated automatically or manually. Examples: service correspondence in a call center, documents from a Web portal The CCM concept is a technical one that can be simplified regardless of the kind of output an enterprise wishes to generate. It applies mostly to the data-handling system (CRM / ERP) used to create the documents. In addition, the concept focuses solely on a conversation with customers. Since implementation is straightforward, the IT department can return to concentrating on its main tasks once it hands over responsibility for the CCM system to content specialists. In our upcoming posts, we will examine core components of a successful CCM strategy in detail – stay tuned!  

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