By Gina Ferrara
2018 was the year for re-evaluation. Enterprises continue to work on digital transformation, customer experience and customer communication management (CCM) strategy and improvements; technology providers are repackaging their solutions and considering new pricing models; and print service providers (PSP) are enhancing their service offerings to enrich their value propositions.
Trends to Watch
Here are a few of the trends that Madison Advisors followed over the last 12 months:
Many organizations have focused on digital transformation initiatives and customer experience improvements—and rightfully so—since consumer expectations for personalized digital experiences continue to rise. Undergoing a customer journey mapping exercise is a critical first step to better understand a consumer’s experience for a particular interaction across all touchpoints. However, enterprises are starting to recognize that since consumer interactions are bi-directional, they must re-evaluate their existing CCM strategy to focus on both outbound and inbound communications. While many digital transformation initiatives focus on activities including customer acquisition and new account opening, introducing automation to back-end processes like management of inbound mail, as well as redesigning forms to allow for straight-through processing are some examples that can improve processes and ultimately the customer experience.
CCM software solutions allow non-technical business users to manage document changes, variable content, and messaging through a browser-based interface. This capability alleviates the burden on internal IT and empowers the subject matter experts within the lines of business to closely manage customer communications. In addition, this capability allows contact center personnel to create ad hoc customer communications based on a phone inquiry. Many of the technology providers are evaluating their portfolio of solutions, which were either developed organically or obtained via an acquisition, and are now working on aggregating these solutions into a more seamless offering with appropriate cloud-based interfaces. Another trend worth noting relates to pricing models for CCM technology. Currently, pricing models are based on the number of licenses plus an annual maintenance fee. With the increased number of business users—particularly at large enterprises—this model has become cost prohibitive. As a result, CCM software providers are starting to re-evaluate existing pricing models and are considering a consumption-based model to become more price competitive.
The landscape of CCM solution providers has been changing for years and 2018 was no exception. While some companies have exited the market, new entrants from Australia, Brazil, and Europe are starting to penetrate the North American region to build an expanded global presence.
Color inkjet technology has become table stakes for any PSP and leveled the playing field with respect to image quality and price point. To remain competitive, PSPs re-evaluate their service offering to identify ways to expand their value proposition. PSPs’ clients are challenged by legacy systems and digital delivery benefit from additional solutions for data management and analytics, communications redesign, and omni-channel delivery, which PSPs are beginning to offer. These differentiators will be the key to revenue and margin growth. Those PSPs that are unable to establish their uniqueness in the market will be forced to compete on price, which will continue to encourage more consolidation in the marketplace. The leaders in this space are those who have been able to market themselves as a technology or solutions provider in addition to offering quality print services at market prices.
On to 2019
Although 2018 is over, enterprises, CCM technology providers, and print service providers continue to re-evaluate their current strategies for digital transformation, customer experience, CCM technology, and value proposition. Madison Advisors continues to monitor these industry trends in 2019 and beyond.
Gina Ferrara is senior analyst at Madison Advisors. Connect with Madison Advisors on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/madison-advisors or on Twitter @madison_advisor.
Jan2019, DPS Magazine