Category: Digital Transformation

DirectMail2.0 Launches Their Inaugural Market-Edge Event

Pat Nolan
Nov 6, 2017

Market-Edge 2017: Direct Mail, Digital, and Beyond

From October 26th to October 27th of this year, DirectMail2.0 hosted their inaugural Market-Edge conference at Wyndham Grand Clearwater in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Sponsors included Pitney Bowes, Konica Minolta, AccurioJet, Alesco Data, and Enthusem. Discussing Market-Edge with DirectMail2.0’s Marketing Coordinator, Iris Shalev, I was able to shed some light on why they wanted to put on a conference and what they hoped that their business and attendees would take away from it.

The purpose of the event, she said, was to act as a hub for direct mail marketers and printers that is more personal than a trade show and to provide a face-to-face networking opportunity for attendees outside of the usual competitive context. DirectMail2.0 wanted to strengthen this community with Market-Edge, and bring stakeholders with different expertise together to learn from each other for a 360-degree experience, Shalev continued.

In his opening remarks, DirectMail2.0 CEO Brad Kugler also touched on his company’s intended outcome of the event. They wanted to host an open forum for printers and direct mail marketers to come together and solve their common problems. What is the root of those problems? The answer is represented both by what DirectMail2.0 does as a business – they are an integration platform that offers online services to printers and direct mail marketers – and by the theme of Market-Edge: to bridge the gap between offline and online, to bring print into the digital world.

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Does Your Company Need a Technology Refresh?

Sheryne Glicksman
Oct 17, 2017

After missing Print17 and BTA in Philadelphia because of Hurricane Irma, I was more than thrilled to travel out of my home state of Florida to attend Loffler’s Tech Fest 2017 in St Paul, Minnesota this past month!  Tech Fest is a one-day annual event that Loffler hosts bringing partners and companies together to learn about the latest technology trends and tools. Their focus on educating the audience about a technology refresh, message of helping customers and giving back to the community was clear throughout the entire day. If you haven’t heard of Loffler, you might want to check them out at https://www.loffler.com/. They started their business in a garage in 1986 and have grown to become one of the mega-dealers in the United States.

As quoted by James Loffler, Vice President – IT Solutions Group, “At Loffler Companies, helping our customers succeed is the “Why” behind what we do.  Tech Fest is an example of that commitment.  The day is spent sharing best practices, educating on the latest technology and leadership trends and strengthening customer relationships.”

Here are three best practices I would recommend for anyone considering their own Tech Fest:

Start with Having a Panel Discussion

Loffler’s Tech Fest started with a panel of four local business leaders representing the retail, legal, healthcare and hospitality markets. Discussion around top IT Security and Business Continuity concerns was kicked off by James Loffler and hosted by Jeff King. Security, industry regulation, more educated customers and IT governance came up during the panel discussions. It was noted that augmented reality will drive future sales in retail with the new iPhone coming out allowing shoppers to scan store aisles for specials.  It was also stated that small incremental changes based on needs are the best approach with technology. Most of the panel experts said we should pay attention to artificial intelligence and look at data around value based outcomes. Of course, security was top of mind for everyone who stated that companies like Loffler are key to helping businesses with specific strategies related to security needs. It’s ok to outsource some of your IT work to free up your own internal IT staff. What are you doing to leverage IT strategies and protect your business?

Highlight your Vendor Support and Do Breakout Sessions

Loffler partners with key vendors in the digital imaging channel and they have their own business units of expertise.  Scattered between the vendors, they set up their own specialty booths highlighting their experience in Managed IT, Managed Print Services and Loffler Consulting and Management Services. This company walks the talk of being more than just a copier company! I was pleased to see some familiar vendor partners such as Square 9, Xerox, Perceptive Solutions, Quest and networked with vendors I haven’t met such as Biscom, FR Secure, Artic Wolf, Communication Systems Specialists, Zerto and many more. I would suggest continuing to leverage your partnerships with key vendors and industry analysts, we can help drive business leads your way!

I found that Loffler’s Tech Fest breakout sessions were extremely educational. They prompted additional dialogues throughout the day around leadership, careers in technology, the importance of continued learning and the fact that we all need to be comfortable being uncomfortable with the pace of change in technology happening so quickly. Attendees were interested in how they can get more information on industry trends and blogs and they were also interested in learning more about how technology tools will help them solve their business problems. (I may have helped Loffler sell Square 9, not that they need my help).

They talked about the importance of IT. That it can no longer be considered a tactical part of business. That applications dictate our business processes and good data is important so we can mine it and make intelligent business decisions with it. Today, companies still lack the data they need or they must pull it from many places. What are you doing to streamline your applications and data to be more efficient?

It was noted that Shadow IT in an emerging challenge to pay attention to. Shadow IT is a term often used to describe information-technology systems and solutions built and used inside organization without explicit organizational approval. It is happening when departments choose to deploy their own solutions without involving IT.  The IT department must be at the table with the business units so everyone is on the same page aligning the business with the technology. I believe it’s one of the first steps in crafting a technology refresh for your company.

Commit to Partnerships, Culture and Diversity

Everyone has a mission statement and culture description on their website however how many of you really believe in this mission and support the culture you represent online? It was exciting to see that Loffler’s online persona and in person presence matched with their core values.

At Loffler, they believe in blending together voices from all types of people to move forward with one shared purpose of exceeding the expectations of their clients, employees, partners and community. Diversity in IT matters. This was even more apparent when key note speaker took the stage.

Their long-term partnership with the Minnesota Vikings and key note speaker Kevin Warren hit home for me. Mr. Warren spoke from the heart, showed passion for what he represents and does for a living. He spoke highly of the true partnership that Loffler has with the Vikings. He spoke about how important it is to evolve as a company, support diversity and streamline efforts on the business side to grow. I was blown away by the new interactive campus they are building in Egan. He showed us the new U.S. Bank Stadium where Super Bowl 2018 will be hosted. (I’m currently available to attend)!

Technology Refresh

In closing, it’s been noted that 3% – 7% of a company’s revenue will be spent on IT. Have you thought about your own Tech Fest? How are you leveraging your vendor partners? Have you looked at your own website lately to make sure it represents who you are today?  Are you having dialogue with your customers to understand their business challenges and prepare for growth while aligning the technology tools to help them? Do your sales reps know what challenges technology can solve? If so, you are on your way to building a technology refresh for yourself and your customers.

Quadient: A New Ecosystem for Customer Experience

David Stabel and Pat McGrew
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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Do You ChannelCon?

Sheryne Glicksman
Aug 15, 2017

CompTIA ChannelCon event was held in Austin,Texas in August. It was an amazing event filled with tons of educational seminars, interactive events, several vendors, great dialogues along with fun things to do like participating in a 5K walk/run and going to an event where we were fitted for cowboy hats. Everything is big in Texas!

ChannelCon’s message of Be the Change was apparent throughout the event. Cool posters were on the wall all over the venue such as the one highlighted that I captured while walking to another session. Discussions around diversity drove home the need for everyone to focus on unconscious bias and prioritize inclusion to help change a rigid culture. I believe one of the most important elements to a successful digital transformation is a collaborative culture with diversity at top of mind. Diversity IT Matters.

ChannelCon3 (3)

Community forums such as Advancing Women in Technology, Advancing Diversity in Technology and the Technology Lifecycle Services held various meetings throughout the week. Women in Technology had a great discussion on the importance of mentorship including insights on reverse and pacing partner mentoring. Advancing Diversity had a launch party to kick off this new community and we were informed that the old ITSS Community now includes the MPS group and has a new name.

In one of the sessions, it was stated that disruptive trends such as Cloud, Mobility, Big Data, Automation and IOT will result in $2 trillion of IT spend in the future. These trends are creating different expectations from our customers as we change our conversations from product focus to the experience of impact focus. A large corporation we all know stated they are flooding the market with technical resources to help partners craft solutions. Many experts stated that subscription or pay as you go licensing programs will continue to emerge and new companies will be born in the cloud.

Customers will continue to look for partners who understand their business goals and drivers and can help them solve their problems. Sales reps & IT professionals need to move beyond conversations around speeds, feeds, solutions and have dialogues around business outcomes to eliminate the analog mindset. Sales and marketing departments will need to work closer together breaking down silos to drive brand awareness and a better customer experience for everyone.

Did you know that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years? This led to discussions on data silos inside companies, the importance of data driven decisions and the continued growth we will see with data along with future career opportunities in technical roles associated with data security.

It was noted that three breakthrough accelerators in 2016 were processing power, storage and bandwidth. Did you know processing power is doubling every 2 years and storage is doubling every 12 months? 5G bandwidth is next on the horizon which will provide us 100X faster connectivity, 50X faster data access and 90% less energy used. By 2030, over 100 billion devices will be connected. The number and nature of the devices that are connected to the internet are concerning to businesses with BYOD and Security at top of mind all related to the Internet of Things (IOT).

In closing with the future of technology, it was stated again that customers said they are using technology to drive business outcomes however many of these small to mid-size customers also stated they aren’t as confident yet in their internal IT staff. This gives opportunity for our future leaders in the IT world to help impact change. I would suggest taking the time to review all different types of candidates coming into the IT world today that can help make a difference in your business tomorrow and into the future.

Overall fabulous event. Look for details on next year’s ChannelCon and join me to Do ChannelCon in 2018.

 

 

Nuance Announces eCopy ShareScan 6.0

Rebecca Schiffenhaus
May 18, 2017

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On May 17th, Nuance announced eCopy ShareScan 6.0, an update to their popular capture and workflow solution. eCopy ShareScan offers sophisticated tools while retaining simplicity for any customer. Nuance has added new features for productivity and security, designed with the prevalence of ad hoc capture, mobile workers, and the need for custom workflows in mind. To serve those looking to automate, Nuance eCopy 6.0 features innovations in the mobile space, “learning worker” level workflows, easy deployment and maintenance with added security features, and extensive integration with Microsoft Office 365.

Mobility

Nuance eCopy can now be integrated with Nuance Business Connect, the mobile application for iOS and Android. Subsequently, users can capture a document with a mobile camera and access workflows via mobile devices with support for form data entry and document signatures. These documents can then be processed via Nuance eCopy to content management systems, email services, collaboration tools, and more. This allows remote workers to work as effectively as those in the office.

Workflows

The Visual Workflow Editor and Personalized Workflow combine to make workflow design simple and easy for every worker. At the administrator level, the Visual Workflow Editor offers a guided building experience, drag and drop functionality, intuitive possible steps, and a built-in test simulator. The Personalized Workflow allows any user to configure connectors via an easy to use wizard for custom “send to folder” workflows. RapID remembers user’s preferred or recent settings, simplifying repetitive document tasks.

Deployment and Security

To ensure eCopy serves each aspect of an organization, Nuance has considered concerns like support and security. To keep servers from being overwhelmed, eCopy enables industry hardware load balancers like Citrix Netscaler. Nuance has also added several security features. Content-based security warnings monitor scanned documents and flag predetermined classified information via an email. Enterprise-grade security standards, TLS 1.2 and SNMP v3, are now supported as well. The integration with Windows Active Directory also furthers security, ensuring only authorized users have access via secure session log-on. For those already using eCopy, upgrades are as simple as installing eCopy 6.0 over eCopy 5.0, keeping all saved workflow settings.

The trend toward business process automation is highlighted in the InfoTrends Future of Office Print study, which suggested that more organizations are discovering the benefits of document software solutions. Nearly two thirds of respondents indicated that their companies have taken steps to remove, simplify, or automate document-related business processes. Nuance answers that growing demand with this new version of eCopy, a scalable solution to simplify document workflows in and out of the office. Nuance eCopy ShareScan 6.0 will be available to partners in June, and satisfies the needs customers looking to gain control of document processes, empower mobile workers, and manage costs without sacrificing security.

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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Is it time for a Workflow Intervention?

Pat McGrew
Apr 17, 2017

Workflow ChaosBAs we come to the last few items in the Workflow Quiz it is time for some of the heavy lifting that comes with optimizing and right sizing tasks and processes in the workflow. Not everyone will be happy with the process because it uncovers their pet projects and sometimes lead to power plays that start with “this is how we have always done this job” and end with annoyed team members. Despite all of those risks, it is time to look at all of those places where it takes some type of manual intervention to get a job from start to finish.

Let’s start at the beginning. When you take on a job from a new customer, how much of the job setup requires a person talking to a person or a person talking with a group of people to get all of the specifications identified and coded into the system? Are there manual checklists sitting on a service representative’s desk in addition to what is in the system? Sticky notes on monitors in prepress and account management that detail what is missing in the job notes? If so, you have opportunities to optimise because all of those notes are taking time to manage!

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Key Take-Aways of Xploration 2017

David Stabel, Matt Swain and Pat McGrew
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 of Adobe’s Marketing Summit 2017 in Las Vegas

Ashley Bilko
Apr 10, 2017

Recently at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Adobe employees, partners, customers, press and analysts gathered for the annual digital marketing conference, Adobe Summit 2017. With over 250 sessions this year, the event drew over 12,000 attendees—a 20% increase over last year’s participation—including more than 120 sponsors and 1,500+ partners.

Adobe Summit 2017 Welcome Banner

Adobe Summit 2017 Welcome Banner

The event took place over the course of three jam-packed days with a little something for everyone in attendance. Keynotes and break-out session topics ranged from cross-channel marketing, to customer experience, data-driven marketing, integrated marketing, mobile marketing, and programmatic advertising.

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2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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