"To be honest, choosing the Compart software was the right decision. All our really specific requirements were able to be implemented in the shortest time."
One Pilot for Every Need
The ROLAND Group, an international Insurance Company, with a specific focus on Legal Protection, has recently updated its Output Management System. At the core of this IT transformation is the Compart software DocBridge Pilot, an important tool allowing ROLAND to manage the printing of around two million documents annually.
Approx. 3,5 million documents a year
90 different print stacks
All the popular data formats as input and output
Customized mailings for every channel
One Pilot for Every Need
The ROLAND Group generates approximately three and a half million documents a year: policies, correspondence with attorneys and clients, premium statements, account cards, reports, etc. Of those, 260,000 land directly in the archive, with the remainder output through various channels in the form of a fax, e-mail or printed copy.
Soon ROLAND, the international provider of legal protection insurance wants to send certain correspondence as an E‑Postbrief (legal letter of the German Post). Managing these various documents through different channels is a complex task. In the print area alone, ROLAND runs 90 different print stacks, based on the category and recipient of the communication.
It is easy to see just how quickly data could get mixed up or even documents output incorrectly, such as producing the premium statement as an e-mail attachment instead of a physical letter, as specified. Alternatively, a customer card may be missing from the insurance policy because the system did not have the necessary data for including the attachment. In short, the challenge is to combine documents produced in different departments centrally, bundle them and mail them to the correct address.
Customized Mailings for Every Channel
ROLAND was therefore looking for a tool that would automatically recognize which document to process, how to process it, and output it via the correct channel. They also needed software that would support all the popular data formats as input and output, such as PCL, PDF and AFP, since those were the primary ones the company used. (See glossary for more on data formats.)
Over time, the IT infrastructure of the insurance company had undergone repeated changes. Without doubt the most significant was switching over to a new system for the core insurance business, requiring all the upstream and downstream soft- and hardware systems to be updated, including document management. Report generation needed the most significant attention. "We had to address the issue of how we were going to print reports at all," recalls Ilja Wiemers, Head of Document Management (DM) at ROLAND Rechtsschutz-Versicherungs-AG. There was an IBM-based print tool, but it covered only the "last mile" to the printer. What was missing was a complete DM system that could read out the data for printing and prepare the necessary spool files. Enter DocBridge Pilot.
The software developed by Compart is platform-independent and supports customized mailings into every type of output: print, e-mail, fax, archive file, and download-file in Web portals. The import of the documents to be processed is kept separate from the output of the mailings. The software copies the data and converts it while retaining the file format. At this stage, the document can be modified, distributed, classified, indexed, and converted into all the standard formats–whatever is required. This enables documents to be displayed, printed, archived and processed accordingly. The information needed for this process is extracted as metadata. While the software assigns the documents to a central pool, the metadata is stored in a relational database. A printer driver implemented on the PC clients allows users to also save office documents in the same mailing pool and continue processing them centrally.
Documents are Retrieved Automatically
Then there are the different functions for outputting the documents, such as sorting, converting to the desired format, or "enhancing" pages with additional information for continued processing. It is also possible to bundle multiple documents from different sources and in different formats but destined for the same recipient. Depending on the software configuration, this task can be done completely automatically or initiated at some defined point in time. The advantage is that the software takes into account the permissible weight limit for a particular postal rate when it generates the mailings. Overall postal charges can be optimized in this way.
ROLAND uses DocBridge Pilot solely for printing. Once a day, all the documents created via an integrated scheduling function are retrieved from a central data pool and loaded into DocBridge Pilot. There the documents are prepped and converted into AFP or PDF spool files.
No Safety Net or False Bottom
Ilja Wiemers: "To be honest, choosing the Compart software was the right decision. All our really specific requirements could to be implemented in the shortest time." For example, Output channels needed to be sorted by postal code and then segmented by specific value while the mailings were numbered sequentially in the address window at the same time. Another challenge was generating an AFP output data stream in which the different documents were saved as images.
Countless modifications that were needed are simply part and parcel of DocBridge Pilot today, including the option to copy print jobs. For Wiemers, the quick implementation was a major factor in the project's success. The forward-looking approach and professionalism of the Compart consultants also played a huge role. "Thanks to many insider tipe, we avoided unnecessary delays." Wiemers and his colleagues could not afford delays in any case: they had only three months to get DocBridge Pilot up and running. The new system was scheduled to go live on January 1, 2007. The "highwire act" proved a success, with even the subsequent upgrades to DocBridge Pilot coming in on time and in budget.
Alas, not everything went off without a hitch. There were problems configuring an AFP spooler, which took longer than expected. It is however extremely stable now. Linking up a partner company with whom they had set up the first fully electronic document exchange also proved complex. The files had to be prepared and enhanced so the company had all the information it needed for continued processing. But the project was never in any real jeopardy.
Die ROLAND-Gruppe ist ein europaweit operierender Spezialisten-Verbund mit Konzernsitz in Köln. In Deutschland gehört sie zu den führenden Anbietern von Rechtsschutz, Prozessfinanzierung, Assistance und Schutzbrief. Mit Niederlassungen in Österreich, Italien und den Niederlanden arbeitet ROLAND im Bereich Rechtsschutz auch international – und gehört in Österreich und Italien zu den wachstumsstärksten Anbietern der Branche.