August 30, 2016

Know your Archive, Part 1

In today’s online world, businesses connect with their customers via telephone, email, Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter and other digital platforms in addition to traditional paper-based forms of communication. To provide excellent customer service and, in many industries, to meet regulatory requirements, a comprehensive record of customer communications and content is required. There are multiple enterprise-wide archive and content management systems based upon this new paradigm.

Customers are used to reading PDF documents through the ubiquitous standalone Adobe Acrobat reader and browser plugins. This is so seamless that many people do not see the technology switches between presentations and fewer still understand the potential complexities involved. Behind the scenes there are many technologies and standards working in cooperation in order to provide your customer with a positive experience.

The Legacy Problem

The majority of legacy archive content was created when all communication was paper based. IBM mainframes and supporting devices were the distribution channel of ‘choice’, in that they were the only automated distribution channel and document lifecycles ranged into tens of years (think pension plans and mortgages). Their use and legacy is still common place today however. Welcome to the world of AFP.

Within your legacy archives there is a wealth of information that is only accessed when necessary. Sure your archive may be indexed with a reference number but that’s about it. You want to move the archive to your new content management customer communication platform - but how? The programmers who implemented the systems are now managers or have moved on and the teams using the newer document composition technologies simply generate AFP and PDF that ‘just works.’ The surrounding infrastructure and printer controls insulate them from the nuances of external resources, image resolution, and font substitutions. However, the maintenance and support of the platform and software that holds your legacy archive is becoming ever more expensive, and its value beyond mandatory regulatory compliance is falling day by day.

Over the next few week Crawford Technologies will be publishing a series of articles and recordings that will explain the technology and terminology that underpins these archives and how you can use it to integrate their contents into your single customer view.