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Is ADF Still Enough?

In many organizations, traditional document operations are shifting to customer communications management (CCM). In a CCM environment, the organization recognizes the business value of documents as much as the production and distribution workflows themselves. It is a subtle but important distinction.

Document production and distribution used to take place in batch environments and behind closed doors. If customers wanted to know the status of their jobs or needed to pull a mailpiece from production, they called their account representative. Document operations handled those requests by walking through the production area to determine which production steps were complete, what work was waiting to begin processing, and which jobs were finished. Once they had the answers, the account managers called customers back.

Though some operations still run that way, those old methods and workflows don’t support the needs and expectations of today’s customers. Nor do they provide managers with the information they need to make intelligent decisions about load balancing, priority shifting, staffing, or scheduling. An automated document factory (ADF) delivers operational control and tracking, but it is only part of a comprehensive CCM solution.

Companies expect their printed and electronic documents to support the organization’s goals for customer relationship management, customer retention, cross-selling, and up-selling. Unless document operations managers have current information about jobs, accounts, and individual documents they cannot ensure those messages contribute to the overall customer experience in a positive way.

Clients want more control and visibility. They want to halt jobs at different points in the workflow and approve them, or make last-minute changes to marketing and promotional messages. A full-featured CCM system allows for these capabilities but also provides the monitoring and tracking necessary for efficient production. Automated controls and management alerts are necessary to prevent circumstances which lead to expensive overtime, extra postage costs, SLA penalties, or impede the effectiveness of associated multi-channel messaging.

Transparency, notifications, and real time status reports are necessary to keep a modern CCM facility profitable and on track. Operations managers need information immediately when an equipment failure, data problem, or other factor will threaten SLA’s. Even the most seasoned operations veterans need help from software to ensure they are on top of every job running in their shops. In an integrated communications environment a CCM system ensures Document Operations processes work impacting business objectives accurately and on time.

Companies are shifting their focus from curbing production costs to creating relevant and personalized customer communications that support business goals. Doing so accurately and efficiently requires CCM-oriented software to produce and track all the organization’s outbound messaging in a central interface.  The technology is now available. Experts advise document center managers to learn about these new approaches in customer communications and prepare to migrate their operations towards CCM.

You can learn more about implementing an effective production workflow and the importance of having visibility of all processes at our September 6 webinar, “Monitoring your Automated Workflow – Why Visibility is Important”, being held at 1:00 PM. Sign up for this free webinar here.

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August 23, 2017


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