With industry news continuing to focus on omni-channel, opti-channel and improving customer experience, the question remains: how does transactional print evolve in this digital-first world?
This article is the first in a series exploring how the leading composition software companies are investing in their tools and platforms for clients that still have the need to create and manage printed documents and content for delivery across digital channels.
Two leading software firms, Quadient and Messagepoint, shared their perspectives on client communications and their approach to R&D investments for their software tools.
I spoke with Patrick Kehoe, EVP Product Management, Messagepoint and Avi Greenfield, VP of Product Management, CXM at Quadient. They shared how their companies are investing in software platforms and what their largest clients are doing to enhance the relevancy of print communications in a digital world.
Messagepoint works with customers all over the globe; including banks, insurance companies and healthcare providers. Messagepoint provides a CCM platform that leverages AI-powered content intelligence to automate and simplify the process of migrating, optimizing, authoring, and managing customer communications across all platforms and channels. Their product offerings have evolved from their original content management systems initially used to create personalized documents.
Messagepoint customers are seeing the nature of communication changing. No longer are static documents the focus. Consumers expect an intelligent, personalized experience. They expect personalized content on different devices, with two-way conversations, from human to device to app. Messagepoint customers are challenged with unlocking content from traditional channels like print to deploy communications in digital channels.
“Kehoe explained that the solution enables non-technical business users to personalize communications and provide a better user experience in both print and digital channels. In their upcoming release, Messagepoint plans to add a connector for Twilio which will extend support to WhatsApp and provide an additional option for SMS.”
Integration drives new product features
With client input, Messagepoint is expanding their AI and content intelligence to provide more APIs and headless CCM. This architecture approach exposes content to digital endpoints to support better integration for mobile and intelligent voice recognition. Kehoe said their clients are trying to simplify architecture and streamline their technology stack. Clients are also eliminating technical complexity around communications to future-proof customer communications. Messagepoint is responding to client demands for the need to simplify communications. Enhancements include tools that can be implemented by business users to avoid IT bottlenecks.
Kehoe said that some of their largest clients want to reduce costs and seek to reduce print volumes. These brands know they must provide a better digital experience to consumers, to encourage paper suppression and further digital adoption. Messagepoint customers that embrace the shared content model are able to deliver personalization and consistency across channels. Many are also improving the design of their printed documents and seeing higher engagement with digital channels. Kehoe has also seen clients break down their operational silos. Some clients are taking a more holistic view of customer communications across all channels with teams reporting up to one leader.
Quadient is a recognized leader in the CCM space with 1800 customers globally. Beyond CCM, Quadient provide solutions for intelligent parcel lockers, shipping and mailing equipment, services, and Business Process Automation Solutions. The Quadient Inspire platform has its roots in document composition. The company has made significant investments expanding features and capabilities supporting content management and delivery across digital channels.
Quadient gathers client input for product development from several sources. Insights and requests are gathered from the Quadient customer advisory board, Quadient University. QU is their hub for community and user support, their professional services team, and strategic partners.
Customers drive R&D approach
Quadient makes R&D investments based on how useful a new feature or product will be to customers, the number or percentage of customers that will benefit on new capabilities, innovation, and potential for new revenue. Greenfield said that their investments typically include one-third toward innovation, one-third on customer driven priorities and one-third on product maintenance and security. In the areas of innovation and customer requests, Quadient is planning several enhancements to make cloud integration easier with AWS and MS Azure, as well as expanded integration with business software. New integration support includes SAP, Guidewire, Salesforce.com, and Duck Creek. Client demand has included development for integration with MuleSoft. It is a SaaS model platform to standardize API integrations.
Customers demand ease of use
Like Messagepoint, Quadient is also responding to customer demands for business users to manage more content and templates without the need for technical and programming support. Their next product release will include enhancements to streamline usability and provide a more ‘MS Word like’ user experience.
Customer demands have accelerated the push to an open API and the ability to provide headless composition as a micro service. Quadient clients are building their own communications platforms comprised of components for various functions. Quadient will offer micro services separating their products modules to include standalone services for composition, email delivery and SMS delivery.
Quadient’s largest customers are service providers (PSPs), and are shifting their approach from content for a single channel – like print – to managing content centrally and delivering it in multiple channels. Often the request is to reuse content for two channels, print and one other. Print and email or print and SMS are typically specified by clients.
More complex graphs and charts
Quadient’s roadmap includes new features to higher level charts and graphs for both print and digital delivery. With client input they are planning new features for data visualization, mapping, and charts with thermometers showing progress to savings/investment goals. These features will include interfaces that can be defined by product and marketing business users without the technical skills of a programmer.
The ongoing shortage of technical workers across all industries is driving the need for software designed to give power to the business users. Software platforms for communications must integrate easier with more business systems. Print operations is no longer a silo. Content must be managed centrally to drive consistent delivery across many channels. As more decisions are driven by impact on customer experience, the functional silos in large organizations will collapse.