If your job is to produce documents, whether you are in-house or a service provider, most likely, your clients need your help—help that you are uniquely qualified to deliver to them. Clients work with you as they plan projects, request changes, perform audits and pay for your services. If you own the communications for just one channel, your business user partner probably has to deal with three or four other project teams just like yours. For example, if you provide print services, your customer may also be working with a web portal team, a social media team, an email team and an app development agency. Think about how complex one project can be, and then multiply that complexity by the number of channels your client has to manage.

    Ultimately, business owners are responsible for the design, content, approval and budget for any communications sent to customers. Line-of-business experts are required to execute well across a growing variety of channels without fully knowing the technical nuances of each channel. In doing the best they can, many are struggling. This struggle adds time and cost to something that was a simple job 10 years ago when there were fewer channels of communication available.

    According to Gartner, 25% of businesses will have a chief digital officer (CDO) in 2015.

    As your clients are working to manage more channels than ever before, your guidance has value. They can be more effective working with a single partner who can advise, design, optimize and deploy to each of the channels and who understands there are different data, content, archive, production and security challenges for each.

    The CXO/CDO is coming!
    According to Gartner, 25% of businesses will have a chief digital officer (CDO) in 2015. Other similar titles include chief experience officer (CXO), customer experience executive and other customer-centric positions in the C-suite. This means that enterprises will be concentrating on holistic communication experiences to improve customer experience. These decision makers will have performance metrics that ensure consistency of corporate voice across channels. They will be compensated based on customer experience scores and customer satisfaction metrics. Most importantly, they will be revising systems that are not already creating the type of unified, consistent experience they want to deliver.

    As a result, channels will need to be coordinated even tighter than they are today. These new executives will not listen to excuses like, "We need a longer lead time," when they have a market need to quickly produce or revise communications across all channels. These executives need an agile customer communications team that can act instantly and execute across all of the channels. Today’s siloed approach to customer communications will be broken. It is time to get ahead of this growing trend and to ensure you are prepared to provide the omni-channel capabilities CDOs and CXOs will be requiring.

    Let’s prepare
    In order to meet the growing trend toward multi-channel and omni-channel communications, it is important to create an infrastructure that leverages data, design, content, rules and processes across the different steps of the customer journey. If you put in some extra effort and investment now, you will be the kind of partner tomorrow’s clients will seek—which will make you even more competitive today.

    The DOCUMENT Strategy Forum, May 12-14, 2015, presents a great opportunity to build your knowledge of what’s behind producing multi-channel and omni-channel communications. I will be giving one of several presentations on these topics, and I encourage you to stop by.

    Whether you produce documents in-house, or you are a third-party service provider, understanding how best to streamline the entire customer communications process will show how valuable you are to the C-suite and to your clients.

    Scott Draeger is vice president of product management at GMC Software Technology, a provider of multi-channel and highly personalized document outputs for customer communications management. For more information, visit www.gmc.net or follow him on Twitter @scottdraeger.

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