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.

The role of mobile in customer communications

At this year’s conference, there were more discussions around mobile than in previous years. For some, mobile is seen as just another delivery channel that is critical in reaching younger generations and a vehicle for getting consumers more engaged. For others, mobile is just another output format in which responsive HTML plays an important role. In our educational session, we presented the hypothesis that the mobile channel will merge with user portals evolving into mobile eco-systems that go beyond the delivery of customer communications.

A continued focus on customer experience

Customer experience has been a key topic in the customer communications community in recent years. This year’s conference was no exception, with discussions centered on how the quality and consistency of transactional communications can significantly impact overall customer experience. This topic is not lost on the exhibiting CCM solutions providers, who all seemed to promote their solutions for improving customer experience.

CCM discussed within the broader digital transformation context

Stakeholders in the customer communications industry are also beginning to acknowledge their role within the broader digital transformation context. Digital transformation was being discussed in several panels and educational sessions. It became clear from these discussions that the importance of CCM is growing within the enterprise, though it is increasingly facing off with competitive digital technologies.

Data security and compliance

Data security and compliance was a common topic this year, as it usually is. Interestingly, the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe was not central to the discussion, although any organization worldwide that has anything to do with European residents (e.g., profiling individuals by personal data to predict personal preferences, interests, locations, or movements) will be affected by it and should comply by May 2018.

Production Workflow

Underlying the sessions covering the customer experience and the technical sessions looking at speeds, feeds, and data streams, there is always workflow. This year, InfoTrends hosted a dedicated analyst workshop on workflow during the last day of the conference. This workshop included two panels. One focused on helping companies deliver the best customer experience, while the other addressed the hard questions that arise relative to document creation and delivery when evaluating customer communication environments, whether it is an internal audit or through work done with a vendor.

InfoTrends’ Opinion

The customer-centric storyline—and everything that happens behind the scenes to get there—continues to grow each year within the educational sessions at this event. Even so, the event seems to be struggling to grow on its current path with attendance down this year over previous years, and fewer returning sponsors. Rethinking the mission of Xplor in light of the changing customer communications industry (such as a more concerted effort to attract direct mailers/marketers) might allow it to find the audience it needs to get back into a growth mode. As always, InfoTrends highly values this conference and is looking forward to next year’s event!

 

Matt Swain, David Stabel, Pat McGrew

InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence, continues to track the customer communications and production workflow markets closely. We provide deep insights into these markets through our primary research, forecasts, and proven industry expertise of our senior analysts. For more information on our advisory services or how to gain access to our research, contact Deanna Flanick today at deanna.flanick@keypointintelligence.com!

 

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