To Build Trust: Deliver for your Customers. Integrate Legacy and DX, Destroy Silos and Points of Failure
From Scott Gerschwer, Ph.D., Compart NA Marketing
According to American Banker magazine, SunTrust Bank reported that its online banking systems went down on a Sunday - the online and mobile banking platforms are down due to a system upgrade that went awry, and it was unclear when customers will be able to access their accounts.
SunTrust is not the only bank to have these problems: last January, customers at Capital One were charged multiple times for the same debit card transaction and Wells Fargo customers were double-billed due to an "internal processing error." Last February, many TD Bank customers could not digitally access their accounts for more than a week and BB&T reported a 3 day equipment malfunction that caused outages at ATMs, online, and mobile banking. It's not an isolated incident, it's an epidemic.
The banks are doing everything they can to prevent these glitches. What they may want to try next is the integration of these newer channels with the legacy systems that have run the bank for decades. Legacy systems tend to be tied to the print operation, which many banks have been outsourcing in hope that they will go away. But they might have been better off integrating those systems to their online apps and digital assets instead of creating a whole new layer of processing.
At the end of the day, these are basically just communication channels; so while the banks are creating entirely new processes they could have simply converted the print streams to the desired formats needed for those channels, fed the information back into their databases and analytic and record-keeping systems, and not thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
Companies initiating digital transformation have the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate existing business processes. Processes that are inefficient or faulty should be replaced. But processes that work, that have long worked and that are critical to support the core business should probably be integrated with, not replaced by, new channels that meet customer demands for a better online experience.
The steps needed to upgrade business processes and workflows to integrate legacy systems and digital technology into all areas of the business and improve interactions at every customer touchpoint are not trivial, but they are within the reach of most organizations with a little help from the outside.
"Omnichannel" Includes Print
Numerous banks and insurance companies we have spoken to have decided to outsource their legacy print to print service providers and start from scratch building digital communication systems. This is a big part of their digital transformation: what they call "omnichannel communication". And, yes, omnichannel means including whatsapp, youtube, snapchat, Wechat, etc. But omnichannel means omni-- “all of the above.” Communication must be consistent across every channel at the same time. Memo to decision-makers: print/mail is a channel. Electronic mail is a channel. Yes, messaging is an amazingly fast, quick and easy instantaneous way to chat with customers. There may come a day when someone wants to be clutching a piece of paper in their hands -- possibly when taking you to court. You might want to make that file accessible and searchable and downloadable and printable so you can do the same. For posterity.
So where are we headed? Have we foolishly created more silos instead of eliminating silos?
Documents are Data in Action
Documents are data in action. Every message you send a customer is rife with data: who they are, where they live, how old they are, what kind of business they do with you, their value as a customer to you, etc. Every document has meaning: act now, confirm, please pay, etc. The content of the message, including much of the metadata (time stamp, etc.) is the important part, not the format. Let the device determine the format.
The goal is to alleviate one of the main constraints of siloed document production systems. In practice, such a repository must be able to contain production system data as well as those extracted from email engine, SMS or social messaging platforms… the list goes on and on and must be able to evolve with the communication needs of the company. Eliminate grey areas: that is, keep the information that is usually lost along the way during the production process. Only this allows for the visualization of the entire processing chain from end to end. Each communication process must be the subject of an upstream analysis that: a) identifies the essential data to be kept, in order to: b) assess (efficiently) the integrity of the process at all times. The goal, of course, is continuous improvement; therefore the analysis is not a one-shot deal but ongoing so that it integrates progressively, including new data, which will enrich the process each time a message is sent.
From this data, business users can also set alert thresholds to anticipate the consequences of a production incident or to better allocate the workload over a period of time. It can be a statistical view of volume production, but also an individual alert. For example, a CRM database can be fed with an indicator from the auditing system so that an account manager can remind his client over the phone or by text message that an offer or a response letter was sent to him and requires action. All of a sudden your beautiful app or GUI has some real teeth behind it that actually enables stakeholders to conduct business, which is what this is all about.
There is more to this, of course, and a white paper is being prepared that will explain it in greater details. Stay tuned. But for now it is enough to think about the Big Picture and not get so carried away with digital transformation that it becomes an activity done for its own sake and not for the sake of doing business better. Integration is the key: if it isn't integrated it ain't worth a thing. Just more silos keeping you further from your customer instead of closer, which is where you want to be. DocBridge® software solutions get you from where you are to where you want to be.