Compart - Document- and Output-Management

Trends

Guided Interactive in Customer Communications

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Form-based Creation of Individual Documents by Means of Interactive Dialogue

Many processes in the customer communication management (CCM) of companies today run automatically. Just think of the creation of invoices, consumption statements, account statements, etc. - all highly standardized processes in which the CCM system ingests the data from "upstream" applications (e.g., ERP, CRM, specialist applications), creates finished documents and sends them to the appropriate channel. Take forenstance, the conclusion of a mobile communication or insurance contract via the provider's web portal, for example, now largely takes place as automated " Lights-out " - in this case triggered by a specific business process (transaction) on the part of the customer.

But what about documents that still have to be individually adapted by the clerk? If, for example, the tax office employee still needs certain documents or information to process the tax return, he or she uses a form prefabricated by the tax authority, but still has to add to it individually - depending on what documents or additional information is involved. When preparing the tax assessment - which is basically also a standardized process - the tax official also has to add something manually to the form from time to time; for example, when it comes to the justification for the recognition or rejection of claimed income-related expenses. Here, they would enter an individual text into the form for the tax assessment.

The proportion of interactive communication is not only high in public administration. Insurance companies, banks and telecommunications providers, to name just a few industries, but also has to deal with a volume of individual document creation based on forms (templates) that should not be underestimated - for example, when it comes to contract changes (tariff change, adjustment of the sum insured, change of term, etc. ).

Infobox

Reading time: 10 min

  • What is Guided Interactive?
  • Create interactive documents: "Safeguarding" through rules
  • Workflows for automated further processing
Interactive communication

"Safeguarding through Rules" in the Customization of Forms

There are now software solutions that support this type of form-based, individual document generation. The basic principle of these so-called Guided Interactive solutions is to guide the clerk safely through the document generation process by means of a kind of "interactive dialog", thereby significantly reducing the risk of errors (incorrect entries, false plausibility, rule violations regarding wording). Depending on the input and the content, document modules can be added or deselected and further dialog inputs can be used to individualize existing content. This approach is safer (safeguarding by rules), faster and easier for the clerk, as no technical knowledge is required.

Guided Interactive ultimately means that the clerk is not given the "freedom" to change the entire (prefabricated) form, but only certain areas in the template that are precisely defined beforehand and stored in the system (restriction of usage rights according to area of responsibility). He or she then makes changes and additions in these areas, whereby the system offers various options (including fields for free text, radio buttons, checkboxes, drop-down lists, sentence blocks).

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The system can be configured very individually and task-specifically. For example, it is possible to define when which functions and selection options are available to which clerk for which business transaction. This applies not only to corporate styling, but also to aspects of plausibility. This ensures that the adjustments made do not violate the Corporate Identity and other compliance rules and are consistent in themselves, i.e., that a customer is only offered the option of switching to a new rate plan if they already has a mobile communications contract. That you only sell them a router that is suitable for their local Internet access (technically feasible transmission speed). This possibility of storing business logic is a major benefit of Guided Interactive.

Various parameters for this can be defined individually, for example:

  • How much text may be added to a form (template)?
  • Which selection options (e.g. checkboxes) does the clerk get for which business transaction?
  • Are text modules available?
  • Which fonts and font sizes may be used (Corporate Identity)?
  • Which fields in the document must not be changed and which must be filled in?
  • What data may be added manually?
  • Module B can only be added to the document if module A has been deselected beforehand
  • Which inputs must the "interactive dialog" additionally display if certain options have been selected in the form (e.g. a number above X automatically activates the "Release by supervisor" menu)

Additional workflows for particularly sensitive or business-critical documents can also be "triggered" in the system - for example, release mechanisms for the approval of loans or for the settlement of insurance claims. The different budget sovereignty of clerks up to what amount may the clerk decide for himself? At what point does he or she have to submit the transaction or document to his or her superior for a final decision?

In short, the person responsible "assembles" the document with the support of the system while adhering to the defined guidelines for quality assurance (compliance) and - if necessary - can have it approved by other instances (e.g. dual control principle, authorization by supervisor). The big advantage of this is that the user does not need any technical knowledge, and the system can be operated intuitively.

Create interactive documents

What should be Done with the Document afterwards?

Guided Interactive software such as DocBridge® Impress offers further possibilities: For example, downstream document and output management processes can be triggered directly from the application - individually depending on the business process or customer. So what should happen to the document after it has been completed and approved? Should it be printed and sent as a classic letter? Or electronically, for example as an e-mail attachment (PDF)? Should it also be archived?

Imagine the following workflow: If a document cannot be sent as an e-mail (for example, because the customer has not given his consent) or comes back with an "undeliverable" note (because the e-mail address has changed or is stored incorrectly in the system), the recipient automatically receives an SMS or WhatsApp message that an important document is ready. Or, after a certain period of time, the document is automatically delivered as a classic letter. The range of processes that can be configured in this way is extensive. Processes such as the commissioning of a technician (for example, for the installation of an Internet router at the customer's home) can also be triggered by the clerk. When the document is completed and sent, a message automatically goes to the responsible service technician.

Interactive Documents
for Interactive Communication

For each workflow that you want to map with Guided Interactive, you configure a specific dialog in the system. The principle is the same: The master data from the upstream application is merged with the stored form (template), the clerk adds customer-specific information, and only then is the document created and further processing automatically triggered.

Guided Interactive therefore means customizing prefabricated forms (templates), releasing them if necessary, and using them to generate a document that relates to the individual business process, complies with the rules, and can be automatically processed further (including printing, e-mailing, SMS, archiving). In view of the advantages - ease of use for the clerk, high process reliability, and great integration capability in existing customer communication structures or leading business applications like Salesforce - the demand for Guided Interactive solutions is growing.

What does Guided Interactive Mean?

Guided Interactive in customer communication describes a principle for form-based, IT-supported document creation by means of intuitive user guidance ("interactive dialog") with the aim of making individual adjustments and additions to document templates in compliance with regulations. "Guided" in the sense of "guided" or "instructed" refers above all to eliminating errors and simplifying the adaptation for the clerk without having to fear that he or she will violate compliance requirements.

The main advantages of Guided Interactive software are the high degree of user-friendliness (users do not need any programming know-how, for example, in HTML, XML, XSL, etc.), the flexibility in storing business and language logic, and the possibility of triggering upstream and downstream processes (including data transfer from applications, conversion, bundling, checking and dispatch of the finished documents on analog and digital channels) according to freely definable criteria.

The basic principle: From a business application (ERP, CRM, specialist application), the user calls up an "interactive dialog" and is shown the form (template) to be edited, which can now be completed. Various input options are available for this purpose (including fields for free text, radio buttons, checkboxes or drop-downs). The selection options can be loaded from the data of the upstream business application or freely defined. If necessary, a request can also be sent to a third-party system, for example to call up the availability of a technician (e.g., if a customer's router needs to be changed).

In addition, default values and mandatory fields can be defined, which are then displayed in the "interactive dialog". Based on the raw data automatically loaded from the upstream application (CRM, ERP, etc.), preset form modules as multiple choice selection as well as additional fields for individual entries (e.g. free text, text modules) and the associated template, the respective document is then created and displayed in a preview. In addition, it can - if necessary - be "channeled" through an approval process. It is also automatically available for downstream processes (e.g. generation of the desired output formats such as PDF, PDF/UA, AFP, e-mail, plain text for SMS, WhatsApp message, transfer to the print center, dispatch as e-mail or via messenger services, archiving).

Compart: Solutions for Automation & Guided Interactive Communications

Within its DocBridge® Suite product family, Compart provides various components - both individually and in combination - that can be used to implement individual, form-based document creation with automated further processing for almost any IT infrastructure.

The DocBridge® Impress and DocBridge® Gear solutions play a central role in this.

Interactive document composition

DocBridge® Impress is a web-based, platform-independent and cloud-enabled software for the page- and device-independent design of documents. With the Composition solution, documents can be created and sent to all relevant channels and displayed on different media: as printed pages, as a PDF in an email attachment, as a responsive HTML page in a web browser and on a smartphone/tablet, via messenger services, etc. Each new document needs to be created only once and is available for all media without effort.

The architecture of DocBridge® Impress is based on the consistent separation between a web-based editor (Impress Designer) and the actual composition tool (Runtime Impress Engine). Depending on the application scenario, both components can be used individually, in combination with each other or together with third-party systems. The connection is made via standardized interfaces (API).

DocBridge® Impress Designer
With this tool, the user (e.g. template designer) designs a document (template) via an intuitive interface and, if required, adds layout details for the digital channels or print output. Business logic rules can be stored there and determine in which languages it should be available.
The Impress Designer thus supports the user in creating the document templates. These can then be adapted by Guided Interactive for the individual creation of communication.

DocBridge® Impress Runtime Engine
The Impress Engine merges the templates created in Designer or already available elsewhere with the variable data ("raw data") from business applications and creates the finished documents using the defined rules and the resources provided (images, text modules, etc.).
These can be transferred to downstream applications for further processing and distribution or dispatch on the desired channels. Of course, storage in archiving systems or a return to a business application can also be realized.

Guided Interactive Integration mit DocBridge

DocBridge® Gear, in turn, is the tool with which the upstream and downstream processes of Guided Interactive document creation can be individually configured (upstream and downstream orchestration). This means: From which upstream systems should the data for creation come? What should happen to the finished document? Should it be printed and sent as a classic letter or electronically - for example as an e-mail attachment in 508 compliant PDF/ua format?
What happens if the PDF cannot be delivered (for example, because the e-mail address is incorrect)? In this case, should the document then be automatically sent to the recipient by analog means (letter)? Or should the addressee be informed in advance by SMS or WhatsApp message? Likewise, an additional approval workflow can be established (certain documents must be checked and authorized by an additional instance before they can be produced and sent).

In short: DocBridge® Gear is a platform that can be used to configure all document and output management processes (creation, modification, conversion, checking, approval, enveloping, monitoring and dispatch) according to customer specifications.

More about DocBridge® Gear is here www.compart.com/en/docbridge-gear

Background

Today, the customer communication of companies, organizations and public administration is essentially characterized by three basic processes:

Automated batch processing (Lights-out processing)

Typical scenario: The existing document templates are automatically merged with the variable raw data from upstream applications and created into finished documents using the defined rules (business logic) and provided resources (text modules, images, fonts, etc.). However, individual adaptations or additions are not provided for in this case. On key date X, the documents are then sent automatically or made available digitally (e.g. web portal, e-mail dispatch). As a rule, this process is used for highly standardized documents such as invoices, consumption statements, and account statements.

Transactional processing (On Demand)

Documents are generated from a specific business process (transaction) - for example, when a customer of a telecommunications provider requests a detailed itemized bill via the provider's portal in addition to his monthly bill, notifies a change of address, or wants to cancel his contract. But here, too, this is generally a kind of "Lights-out processing" in which document generation takes place by and large without manual intervention.

Guided Interactive (form-based, individual document creation)

On the other hand, is a mixture of standardized and individual document creation. Within the scope of his authorization, the clerk makes individual additions to a document template on the basis of a stored business logic and by means of intuitive user guidance supported by the system and, if necessary, can still send it through an integrated release workflow, for example by his supervisor. A typical use case for Guided Interactive processes is the processing of contract terminations or changes. For example, the clerk could include a special offer (particularly favorable rate, bonus points, etc.) as free text or text module in the obligatory cancellation confirmation in case the customer withdraws his cancellation

Conclusion

The challenge is to cover these typical requirements of modern customer communication in terms of processes and IT - if possible in an integrative, scalable and high-performance system that is cloud-enabled and based on open, standardized interfaces (API) so that third-party applications can also be integrated quickly and flexibly. One might think, for example, of the connection of weather apps in the claims settlement of insurers in order to be able to check whether a storm really occurred in region Y on reference date X (e.g., for the claim of hail damage). Also interesting in this context is the possibility of integration into an existing user interface (UI) by means of l-frame - whereby GID can be displayed in SFDC, for example.


With the component-based architecture of the DocBridge® Suite, Compart offers a suitable technological basis for this that has been proven in practice.