This article appears in the Spring 2018 magazine issue of DOCUMENT Strategy. Subscribe.

With 2018 in full swing, you’re probably already focusing on new ways to improve your business communications and planning your trip to Boston for the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum (DSF ’18). While you’re at it, I invite you to also look at the areas that don’t receive much attention, but they are still critical for your customer communication success. Here are four worth considering.

1. Walk the Walk

We all love being on a project, but it can easily turn into a rat race.

It’s important to think about the upstream and downstream impact of every project at your organization. Check in with the project management office (PMO) to map and compare output, or glance at the organizational chart to see who might be doing similar work. Simply walking down the hall to talk to other teams in the company will give you a better understanding of how your project fits into the larger picture.

Here’s the payoff: If you’re willing to walk the walk, you will be seen as a leader with a vision, one who is bent on saving frustration and reducing friction within the overall business.

2. Applying Knowledge Grows the Business

The insights gained from industry reports on new and emerging technology markets are critical for every technical implementation. I know I’m anticipating reading key reports from Doculabs, Forrester, Gartner, and Madison Advisors.

To select the right technologies, it’s important to understand the individual nuances of each market, including business intelligence, business process management, customer experience management, customer communications management, customer relationship management, digital experience platforms, enterprise content management, robotic process management, web content management, etc.

Yet, the intersection between the markets is potentially just as valuable. Homing in on solutions that fall between the most talked-about solutions will help your department make its mark. Ask your vendors to prove that their technology will effectively tackle your needs at both the tactical and strategic levels.

3. Have Larger, Slightly Chaotic Meetings

As I meet document experts around the globe, I’ve noticed that project teams are getting larger, with stakeholders from varying departments sharing the responsibility and their budgets. When these centers of excellence go well, there are plenty of interested and engaged people at the table. While the meetings can be a bit awkward at first, a diverse group can quickly identify real issues within a company’s communication efforts.

You will find that each department uses different terms for the same things or even measures time differently, but with patience, sorting through this chaos can reveal the path toward cohesive communications.

With today’s requirements for omni-channel communication, everyone has to be aware how each channel is deployed. In the age of customer experience, we have to connect each project to the relevant customer journey.

Customers are not willing to tolerate mismatched communications and documents from different teams.

4. If You Do It First, You’re the Expert

Don’t be shy about calling yourself the expert. If nobody is studying those empty spaces between the big issues—and you are—you can become the expert very quickly.

There is a plethora of educational resources out there for discovering new communication and technology trends. Additionally, there are conferences and events where you can gain valuable insights to take home and implement immediately.

One such event is DSF ’18. This year, it’s being held May 21-23 in Boston. I relish the event’s post-presentation conversations when an audience member chats with a speaker. This is where real engagement is taking place, and these conversations show what it looks like when problems are actually being solved. I’m always excited to be a part of it!

Scott Draeger is Vice President of Product Management at Quadient. He joined the digital document industry in 1997, after graduating from UNLV. He started as a document designer using a collection of hardware and software technologies, before moving to the software side of the industry. His broad experience includes helping clients improve customer communications in over 20 countries. For more information, visit or follow him on Twitter @scottdraeger.