Recently Madison Advisors completed an in-depth Post-Composition Analysis of some of the leading solutions.
“The line between document composition and post composition software is starting to blur due to the fact that post composition software, once considered a tool to “fix” applications prior to print production, has now evolved into a multifaceted solution with feature-rich capabilities for enhancing and managing customer communications.”
Madison Advisors Post Composition Solutions Market Study
This has created a lot of buzz around the Inkjet mailing world given that for many years Composition vendors have been telling enterprises that new CCM systems are the solution. However, large organizations and nearly all service providers still invest in post-Composition software and solutions. So, let’s take a look at the Top 6 reasons that a Post-Composition Solution may be the best option for your organization.
Multiple Composition Systems:
As Enterprises have evolved over decades, new data composition systems have been added. Maybe a company acquisition has occurred adding yet another composition system. In many cases once a new system has been implemented the old one is never decommissioned resulting in multiple CCM solutions for creating transactional output. If you have a legacy Billing system for Statements and a new CCM platform for customer communications, the chances are that it is a multi-year process to migrate the billing into your new CCM platform. During this multi-year project, most organizations want to use their new full-color Inkjet printer and all the automated manufacturing processes that go with it. The only way to do that is to insert “Middleware” or a Post composition solution to fix or augment the legacy billing data to meet the requirements of the new printer.
Composition Systems can be very complicated to learn, and it is not unheard of a contract programmer asking for $200 per hour to setup or change an existing application. When you think of how many times an application will require testing in Development, then QA and finally UAT before going live, the internal costs of multiple composition changes can be quite significant. While leading Post Composition solutions, like Crawford Tech’s Operations Express, traditionally utilize “Normalization Standards” that in most cases can be setup in 15 minutes and run through automated QA in less than an hour - saving significant time and money. Traditionally, Post-Comp tools are managed by IT or the Print Department and do not require multiple levels of approval to get a project setup and moving.
In the 1990s, there were a few dozen billing systems that ran on mainframes to create transactional bills. Today, there are thousands of applications and every one outputs PDF files. Many, like Oracle Financials, NetSuite and Salesforce, have very little understanding of high-volume transactional print. The PDF files they create may print fine on a desktop printer or copier, however when you try to run them on a 1000 ppm inkjet and then move them into your ADF you will find the PDF is not optimized for print and control marks, mailing information and mailing control files don’t exist. Using Post Composition, running postal software and creating MRDF, KIC or JIF files to connect your print files with your inserters is standard and just part of the process. In this instance Post Composition saves time, money and enables you to accept all type of files and print virtually any output at high speed in an automated process.
Print Suppression/Omni Channel:
Removing individual communication pieces from a print stream is also a common practice these days for many companies. Everyone approaches it differently, however many large organizations have discovered that centralizing their “Preference Management” database, removing it from their communication creation process provides flexibility and improves customer experience since you can now interact with an individual consumer across all their correspondence preferences rather than just specific business lines. It has become common practice to process all data through a post-Composition step and check for pulls and/or suppress “Electronic/Digital” only correspondence. Centralization of preference management and print suppression is the easiest way to create harmonious messaging to a customer, member or recipient.
Print Stream Normalization/Management:
As the world has moved to PDF for many office documents and large volume mail applications, Printer Definition Language (PDL) formats still exist in legacy IBM (AFP) and Xerox (LCDS & Metacode) data streams. Combined with new CCM applications that produce PDF or PostScript and you have the alphabet soup of print streams making the creation of standards nearly impossible. Utilizing a centralized data normalization and optimization step enables an organization to accept virtually any print stream in any format and covert it to a standard normalized format. This streamlines and optimizes processes for all steps in the production of critical communications.
In 2021, postal integration has again jumped to one of the most highly requested workflow review areas for many of our staff. As the USPS has, once again raised prices, organizations are looking to understand if they are mailing their communications at the lowest possible rate. In many cases, the answer is no. Post-composition enables organizations to correct the address at the time of print, commingle like jobs into larger print runs to gain better postal code saturation and thus reduce mailing costs. Many of our postal experts have started to educate organizations on the benefits of printing and mailing their 5-digit work directly with the USPS while moving 3-digit and other mail to external Pre-Sort Bureaus to presort and mail at a reduced rate. This method has been dubbed “Split 4 Sort” and is ideal for taking a few thousand dollars per month off your already strained postal budget.
Post-Composition software can easily enable you to improve your automation and reduce your mailing cost while enabling projects to be in production within days instead of weeks that IT had originally projected to take years. Organizations are constantly looking for better ways to enhance and improve automation and in 99% of cases, it can be quicker to add applications rules to a post-composition solution than to open complex legacy billing programs and try to connect them to your Customer Experience platforms.
Save time, and Money and look at the winner of the Madison Advisors Post-Composition Study.