In this first instalment of our Digital Communication Transformation Series, Phil Coleman, Director of Innovation at Adare SEC, discusses the importance of digital communication transformation and system integration. In this series he will share how businesses can tackle the technology barriers to change, how to realise the benefits of digital communication transformation and explain through real-life examples how digital communications can benefit businesses. Here, he talks about how to embrace digital communication transformation and how to achieve quick results.
Regardless of size or sector, one of the most important changes a business will undergo is ensuring they have the choice to send their communications via paper or digital channels. Digital transformation is far more than going paperless as many suggest – it’s about using technology in new and innovative ways to enable completely different business strategies and maximise the power of data, processes and people. Businesses need to be able to react fast to remain agile and to avoid being left behind.
The process of moving documents and workflows to a digital platform is not a transition that happens overnight, however, it’s an ongoing, evolving process.
It’s also a journey that requires agility, responsiveness and the flexibility to integrate with existing systems. If it’s not approached cohesively, it won’t work and wastes valuable resources, time and budgets.
Many of today’s customers are tech-savvy and demand choice. They expect relevant, personalised messages delivered quickly via their preferred digital format, while others prefer more traditional printed communications. Delivering this multi-channel approach efficiently, is key to the success of customer communications in modern businesses.
Yet, despite many perceived and real problems that need to be overcome – from legacy systems, the lack of available IT resource and the uncertainty around how to undertake the digital transformation journey – the benefits once implemented are too high to ignore.
Legacy system integration could be the key to quick results
Businesses contemplating a digital transformation may find the idea of generating the right output from their existing systems daunting. For many companies, significant investment, both financially and in terms of employee training, will already have been made in systems that are focussed on creating traditional personalised print, not digital output.
There will be many priorities, not related to digital transformation, that will take valuable technology resources to deliver, which often results in digital transformation not being implemented until resource is available.
However, it is possible to integrate the latest innovations with legacy systems without starting from scratch and without taking technology teams away from urgent day-to-day tasks and other priority projects.
Before any changes are made, it is important to have a clear communications strategy in place, which defines where you want to go; an ‘as-is to-be’ plan, so that the ultimate destination is clear.
The route to that destination, however, is not restricted to building the technology platforms needed to achieve that ultimate goal. That should be one thread to follow.
Another is to look into how some of the goals can be achieved immediately, well before new systems are in place, by interfacing with existing solutions.
Maximising existing technology
Leading document composition platforms enable almost any legacy or current data format to be ingested and used to compose digital output. It does not matter if the data is in a raw format, in a database or composed ready for printing. Also, intercepting data in flight, from a mainframe to a printer for example, enables content to be extracted from that data stream to create new digital communications.
The integration of inbound communications, such as regulatory forms or unstructured content, paper or digital, into existing back-office systems is also possible.
Robotics, in combination with good data capture solutions, can receive the inbound document, extract the required content and input it directly into back office systems with limited human intervention – even if the only way this used to be achieved was through a human operator inputting the data into an old ‘green screen’ monitor.
Robotics are there to perform these repetitive tasks by emulating what humans do. This can be taken further by implementing Artificial Intelligence to understand the intent behind a received message, directing a new order to the order processing team, or sending a complaint to the complaints department.
While some of the integration discussed above could be achieved using existing, internal, technology resource if priorities allow, outsourcing these types of tasks to an experienced integrated communications provider will enable the latest innovations to be quickly and seamlessly linked to legacy solutions without affecting existing projects or completely replacing existing systems.
At Adare SEC, we will not only advise on the various steps needed during the integration process, we can help businesses develop and implement clear, achievable communication objectives to meet client needs over an agreed period of time, to make their digital communication transformation a success.
Watch out for our next instalment of the Digital Communication Transformation Series where we will feature ‘What the Benefits are of Undergoing the Digital Transformation Journey’.