2 ways technology is changing content creation

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Technology has changed the way we spend our lives and the way we consume information. Are you keeping up?

After all, in our personal lives, almost everyone uses a smartphone to stay connected. If your organisation isn’t using current technology to communicate with customers, odds are, you’re falling behind the competition.

As of 2015, 73 percent of the world’s population has access to an internet enabled smartphone or feature phone. The same report notes that the average adult in the USA now spends more than 39 hours a week on the internet.

That’s a full-time job!

Clearly, as consumers, we want to research a product, service or company, find the best deal and transact, all via the internet. And we want every step of this process to happen without paper.

From a business standpoint, technology has been the enabler for companies around the globe to provide their services to whoever, wherever, whenever. As such, the way businesses communicate with their customers is changing. Social media, web portals, apps – they all provide a means to market and undertake business.

Empower your business with today’s technology

Taking advantage of these digital tools can also provide your business with real-time feedback on customer activity; enabling instant, personalised, user-centric marketing of new products to each customer.

But just because customers don’t want you to send them paper doesn’t mean that you don’t need to create content. Regulatory documents, contracts, product information sheets; you still need to create that content. It’s just that your customers simply want to consume it digitally.

But creating digital content is a different process than in the paper world. Here’s how you do it correctly.

Digital document creation is achieved in two ways, representative of the industry demand, vision of the business, and realisation of customer values: Firstly, dynamic content generation; and secondly, what I will call a customer document hub.

Dynamic content generation versus a customer document hub

Many systems are set up for dynamic content generation. Documents are generated on-the-fly to consumers in a manageable file format and either made available instantly as a pop-up or sent to the customer via email.

Rather than generate documents and have them exit the business, a customer document hub – also called a customer document management system – seeks to ingest the created document and make these documents available to customer via a web portal. These systems provide customers with personalised views of the documents the business is storing on their behalf.

Many businesses bought into dynamic content generation technology when they started to embark on a digital vision, as it provides a simple means to reduce the amount of paper they generate. This, in turn, reduces costs and risks while increasing speed and accuracy.

The need for visibility and control

However, dynamic content generation solutions pose issues: no control, no audit, no proof of delivery, no further value added functionality, and on and on. Once you create a document, there is no means to control the document, since it is not being controlled by any application.

As there is no control, these solutions do not provide any audit, traceability or compliance functionality.

Simple dynamic content generation solutions also do not deliver any innovation to the businesses; perhaps the generated document is a contract that needs to be signed, or the document can be reviewed, amended or re-issued at renewal time. But without control over the document, it is hard to deliver it digitally.

The latest standards and compliance initiatives, especially in the European financial services and insurance markets, expect that your organisation controls content at all points in time. To manage documentation according to standards, you need to be able to prove that customers have accessed and understood content. Simply explaining that you generated a document and sent via the customer’s preferred communication method does not comply with business standards.

That’s why, more and more, business are looking towards creating or enabling a customer document hub.

As I have alluded, print media is in decline, as customers are demanding digital alternative communications with businesses. Technology also provides businesses new means to deliver instantaneous, personalised marketing to customers.

When print media was the primary way in which businesses communicated personalised marketing to customers, they deployed customer communication management (CCM) systems to generate this content. However, CCM systems have typically been expensive to procure and manage.

In today’s market, other systems provide this personalised experience, and so the actual content the business needs to create does not need to be so complex. A simple document containing the key information is all the customer expects.

Business are looking for innovation in this area. Primarily, content creation solutions that are simple to deploy and easy to maintain, fully integrated into a secure storage platform with integration capabilities for a customer document hub (via a web portal, or a mobile app). Moreover, a less expensive alternative to a traditional CCM system.

Capitalising on trends with ECM

That’s why many organisations are now looking to enterprise content management (ECM). They’re using these powerful systems to create, manage, access, integrate, measure and store content.

The right ECM system empowers businesses to operate, maintain, modify, and extend their solutions. Look for a system that helps you do this by providing easy-to-use point-and-click configuration tools, as well as easy-to-understand configuration guides.

Your ECM system should also provide you with a full suite of tools that enable you to compose documents and immediately make these documents available to third parties using mobile applications or web portals; all in a context that is easy to use by both an internal user and the customer.

All the while, it should monitor your documents to record a full audit history for each document, maintaining compliance with the very latest standards.

A new customer recently told me this: “There will not be a document created by our business that is not composed and or approved by our ECM system. When our business changes, it provides us with flexible technology that we can configure. This allows us to be as agile as the business demands.”

I will leave you with some questions: Do you currently provide a fully digital means for your customers to transact with you, which also provides feedback informing you when customers access content? Are you spending too much on content creation? Is your business agile?

Are you keeping up?

John Rockliffe

Working out of Hyland’s London office as part of Hyland’s Enterprise Solution Architecture team, John brings more than 10 years of corporate experience ranging from enterprise content management (ECM) to project management for clients ranging from HSBC to Gucci. John has seen many changes in system and solution approaches, and brings a business-first approach at looking at enterprise solutions.

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