Highlights from DSF18: The DOCUMENT Strategy Forum

David Stabel
 Jun 12, 2018

Celebrating its 10th year, the 2018 DOCUMENT Strategy Forum (DSF18) was held last month (May 21 – 23) in downtown Boston, MA. This peer-driven, peer-reviewed, and peer-produced conference is designed to educate professionals on how to deliver and manage customer communications, customer engagement, and information management. As was the case in previous years, the 2018 event offered a wide array of educational sessions, executive round tables, panels, and inspiring keynotes. Visitors had plenty of opportunities to network with industry peers or any of the 44 exhibitors in attendance.

This year’s opening keynote speech was given by Ian Khan, a world-renowned speaker and author. During his keynote entitled “Tomorrow 4.0: Are You Ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?”, he asserted that man and machine are coming together in new and unprecedented ways in today’s era of digital disruption.

Industrial revolutions are momentous events, and many experts believe that only a few have occurred to date. The first was triggered in the 1700s by the commercial steam engine and the mechanical loom. The second took place prior to World War I with the harnessing of electricity and mass production. The third occurred when technology shifted from analog electronic and mechanical devices to digital technologies and computers. A number of industry strategists now believe that we have entered the fourth revolution, which builds on the third revolution. It is driven by interconnected digital technologies and has been marked by technological breakthroughs in a number of fields.

During his keynote speech, Khan hinted that we might actually be on the cusp of a fifth Industrial Revolution, which is all about Artificial Intelligence (AI). He believes that many of today’s emerging technologies will impact industries more profoundly in the very near future than they have in the past 500 years.

Timur Kalimov, Vice President of Products and Services at HyperScience, expanded on Khan’s keynote by talking about the claims that vendors make about AI. When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, Kalimov suggests being skeptical of vendors that fall into the following categories:

  • “Singularity” vendors basically claim that their AI solutions can handle everything in terms of performing machine learning. For machine learning to work well, though, the AI solution must develop a painstaking understanding of the specific business problems that the company is working to address. Unfortunately, none of today’s AI solutions have been able to master this capability.
  • “Trainer” vendors promise to deliver a working product after the business has provided its customer data. The challenge is that this data will not usually have been collected with machine learning in mind, and it will often be subject to strict security and privacy constraints. Furthermore, since machine learning is  uncertain by its very nature, it is impossible to know if a functional solution is even a reality at the outset.
  • “Perfectionist” vendors promise 100% automation with no human involvement. The issue with this approach is that neither people nor machines are perfect. The reality is that machines will need human supervision when real-world problems arise.

Another concept that was front and center during the sessions at DSF 18 was the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was officially implemented on May 25, 2018. The legislation is expected to influence the formation of data localization laws on a global basis, and it will likely have a major impact on where and how enterprises do business. During a Compliance Power Session during DSF 18, Lauren Barnes (S&P Global), Kurt Neumann (Prime Therapeutics), Tom Serven (State Street), and Lane Severson (Doculabs) spoke about how today’s businesses can prepare for regulations like GDPR. Although this is a European initiative, GDPR is expected to have wide-ranging implications for companies on a worldwide basis.

According to survey data on Marketing Communications from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends, only 41% of respondents in North America and 56% of those in Western Europe had already taken steps to prepare for GDPR. Most respondents were at least aware of the regulation, but the share of respondents who were unaware of it was considerably higher in North America than it was in Europe.

Another common theme that came up multiple times during the educational sessions at DSF 18 was the commoditization of the customer experience. Today’s businesses are strongly focused on delivering a better overall experience to increase customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. In response to this, a number of vendors are developing solutions that are designed to improve specific parts of the overall customer experience.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe of DEEP ANALYSIS presented a session on the impact of blockchain during the PFMA Annual Conference, which was co-located with DSF 18. Pelz-Sharpe believes that blockchain—a shared digital ledger for recording the history of transactions—will be the biggest disruptor of business information management in decades.

Blockchain is distributed across a network, so the entire ledger is stored multiple times in various locations. Every computer that is part of the blockchain network will contain a complete copy of the entire ledger. This method of storage is absolutely secure because the ledger in the blockchain is immutable and cannot be changed. This makes it ideal for documenting contracts, legal documents, and other critical documentation along a variety of supply chains.

The 10th annual DOCUMENT Strategy Forum placed a strong focus on transforming processes, the changing regulatory landscape, and disruptive technologies. Artificial Intelligence, regulations like GDPR, the customer experience, and blockchain will continue to shape and reshape our industry. Industry players must keep pace with and react to these new and emerging trends, and educational events like DSF are a great way for service providers and vendors to ensure that they can do just that!

Comparting 2017: “Digitalizing Communication! Digitalizing Business Processes!”

David Stabel
 Nov 17, 2017

Under the motto of “Digitalizing Communication! Digitalizing Business Processes!”, this year’s Comparting conference, held November 9-10 in Germany, was all about how digitalization affects the document and output management for enterprises as well as print service providers. Keypoint Intelligence’s Pat McGrew had the honor to provide the keynote titled: “Let’s Get Digital!” Other presentations also focused around the topic of digital transformation of customer communications. And, of course, Compart’s latest innovation, DocBridge Impress, had a central role at the conference.

Harald Grumser, CEO
Thorsten Meudt, CMO

Compart, who celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has successfully hosted this annual event since 2005 with the number of participants increasing each year. More than 400 people from 14 countries world-wide attended the conference, representing a 10% increase over last year. The number of participants outside of Germany almost doubled from 25% in 2016 to 40% this year and reflects Compart’s growing international business.

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Quadient: A New Ecosystem for Customer Experience

David Stabel
 Sep 12, 2017

Today, Neopost announced the introduction of a newly created business division: Quadient, replacing its Enterprise Digital Solutions (EDS) business division. With Quadient, Neopost combines three companies that operated independently under EDS into a new division focused on digital communications and customer experience solutions:

  • Satori Software. Acquired in 2009 and a provider of mailing and data quality solutions. Satori software allows mail senders to validate addresses, correct them, update them in real time and remove duplicates.
  • GMC Software. Acquired in 2012. Today, GMC Software is considered a leader and innovator in the customer communications management (CCM) solutions space.
  • Human Inference. A data quality solution provider focused on master data quality improvement. Neopost acquired this Dutch based company in 2012.
The New Quadient Logo

The New Quadient Logo

These past acquisitions fitted into a bigger strategy. To leverage the power of that strategy, it makes sense to reorganizing into Quadient. By doing so, Neopost is repositioned to focus on offering enterprise solutions for customer experience management (including CCM), mobile application development/digital experiences, and data management. The logic is simple: as customer experience becomes a strategic component for businesses, businesses need ways to quickly implement and personalized these experiences along the customer journey. Tools for managing this process as well as the data (quality) required for personalization are key.

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How OpenText Is Improving Customer Experience With Intelligent Forms Automation

David Stabel
 Jun 14, 2017

It has been almost one year since OpenText announced its intention to acquire HP LiquidOffice, HP TeleForm, HP Exstream, and HP Output Management for a total transaction value of $315 million. Today, these products are housed within OpenText’s Customer Experience Management (CEM) Suite, which was recently updated with the Release 16 Enhancement Pack 2 (EP2). On the LiquidOffice and TeleForm side, OpenText has completed a wealth of additional integrations with OpenText Content Server, OpenText RightFax, and MS SharePoint.

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In a recent interview with Mark Jackson, Senior Product Manager, and Bob Murphy, Sales Director for OpenText LiquidOffice and TeleForm, we learned more about today’s market for enterprise forms solutions and the dynamics driving increased demand. Before diving into our discussion with Mark and Bob, here’s some background on OpenText LiquidOffice and TeleForm.

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Highlights of the SmartVideo Summit 2017

David Stabel
 May 5, 2017

SundaySky recently held its fifth annual SmartVideo Summit in New York, NY. This year, SundaySky invited a couple hundred partners, customers, and analysts to discuss “The Art of Personalization.” SundaySky also used the Summit to update the community on its latest developments and strategic direction moving forward.

Jim Dicso, CEO at SundaySky

Jim Dicso, CEO at SundaySky

In the opening presentation, Jim Dicso, CEO of SundaySky, discussed the importance of scaling personalized customer engagements to tackle the strategic challenge of improving customer experience. This next generation of personalization is all about moving from simple (“Hello Jim…”) to individual/one-to-one personalization (“Just for you…”).

AT&T, Hilton Worldwide, Royal Bank of Canada, Verizon, and others shared their challenges and successes as they implemented personalized video campaigns as a mean to elevate their respective organization’s personalization capabilities. In addition to the presentations, there were networking opportunities, as well as a chance to speak with SundaySky’s senior management and specialists.

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Key Take-Aways of Xploration 2017

David Stabel
 Apr 13, 2017

On March 28-30, Xplor International held its annual Xploration 2017 conference in Orlando, Florida, providing more than 60 educational sessions for vendors, service providers, enterprise attendees, and other industry experts from around the world.

xplor17

The educational sessions covered a broad range of customer communications management (CCM) and related topics including customer experience, workflow and automation, data management and compliance, e-presentment/payment technology and much more. This year, senior analysts from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends hosted multiple educational sessions, participated in several panel discussions, and hosted a special Industry Analyst Workshop. Here are our key takeaways from the conference.

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Highlights from the Pitney Bowes 2017 Software Technology Analyst Summit

David Stabel
 Apr 6, 2017

Pitney Bowes held a Software Technology Analyst Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, on February 28 to March 1. It was the first dedicated technology analyst event in several years for the company. With 34 analysts from 19 firms in attendance from around the world, including senior executives from Pitney Bowes, the Software team was making a statement that they were ready to put their corporate wide go-to-market strategy center stage with the analyst community.

Marc Lautenbach

Pitney Bowes had put together a comprehensive and highly informative 1.5 day program to bring participants up-to-date on its software strategy, latest business developments, and latest software innovations. Next to the agenda and scheduled 1:1 meetings with senior management, participants had plenty of opportunities to network or to get live demonstrations on some of Pitney Bowes’ latest software innovations.

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Highlights of GMC Software’s European Events

David Stabel
 Mar 3, 2017

GMC Software (GMC), a Neopost Digital Company, recently hosted two events in Europe. On February 14th, it held its first EMEA analyst summit in Paris, France. The following weekend, it hosted its Service Providers Executive Advisory on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. InfoTrends was invited to participate in both events.

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The EMEA analyst summit included discussions around GMC’s latest major product release, R11, the future state of customer communications technology, and GMC’s future strategy. In addition to presentations of Henri Dura, COO at Neopost Enterprise Digital Services (EDS), Scott Draeger, VP Product Marketing at EDS, and several other product managers at GMC, there was ample opportunity for 1:1 networking with the leadership team.

As for the executive advisory board, GMC did a great job of pulling together a group of 13 service providers and 15 representatives from various countries in Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Attendees received updates from leadership at GMC on enhancements to the offering, discussed market disruption and service expansion opportunities during the session, as well as shared best practices and provided input on how GMC can continue to evolve its offering to best support their future needs.

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Digitization of Banks: A Shift from Back-end to Front-end Thinking

David Stabel
 Feb 16, 2017

In the age of enterprise digitization and increasing competition within the banking industry–from established players to disruptive outsiders–banks are accelerating the modernization of their customer communications technologies. Key strategic goals often associated with this technology overhaul include customer experience improvement and operational efficiency as our 2016 customer communications technology enterprise research shows. Banking respondents of this research cite that improving customer experience is the number one business objective relative to invest in this technology, followed closely by improving the efficiency of front office employees.

Trying to implement these goals has proven to be a big challenge. Accumulated IT systems over the last generation created a legacy IT architecture—including siloed point solutions, custom integrations, and self-developed scripts—inhibiting innovation in this area for keeping up with new digital competition. That said, we are also seeing successful initiatives as this case of DZ BANK AG (DZB) in Europe.

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DZB is the third largest bank in Germany and is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The company is conducting a multi-year digitalization project within its corporate banking strategic business unit (SBU). InfoTrends had the opportunity to be briefed on this initiative.

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Takeaways From the SPS Analyst Summit in Vietnam

David Stabel
 Dec 15, 2016

Swiss Post Solutions (SPS) recently invited the analyst community to its Industry Analyst Symposium held in Vietnam on November 23-26. During this multi-day symposium, SPS’ senior management briefed analysts on the SPS business, its latest technology innovations, as well as on its Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) strategy. Analysts were also invited for site visits to both of its Vietnam offshore facilities in Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho City. This blog post covers our takeaways from the event.

SPS

SPS Industry Analyst Symposium in Vietnam, Nov 23-26, 2016

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2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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