Mailing Systems Technology - May/June 2009 - (Page 12)

Employing Technology Change is difficult. Inertia is always a challenge, and in a slowing economy, the lack of project funding can be stifling. While there is no lack of worthy projects, and relative improvements are obvious, there are several roadblocks that keep you from proceeding. With Kemal Carr The Human Factor An Obvious Answer? Due to the complexity of the issues and number of moving parts, there may not be a single, simple best answer. That’s the bad news. The good news is that this may present the single best opportunity for a process and solutions revolution ever, as opposed to the standard evolution that generally occurs with most firms. But with your subject matter experts gone, where do you turn for support? To make the best decision, you may need to leverage objective, unbiased parties, i.e., those who put your organizational needs and priorities ahead of their own. Finding resources that have experience in this type of situation is critical, as you’ll find that today’s market is flooded with such professionals, all with varying degrees of expertise and skill sets. Most everyone wants to make good decisions and to do so requires good data or information. Without it, the decision process fails, and we compromise the potential outcomes. In recent years, Madison Advisors’ Fortune 500 clients have migrated through several consolidations and mergers, many with our assistance. As this activity has increased, we’ve seen both the good and bad, as well as what improves the chances for success, and what to avoid. Only an independent and objective third party with the technology, industry and market knowledge, as well as practical expertise gained from overseeing myriad solution selection processes, can provide the thought clarity and accurate information necessary to make the best decision. New technologies can be a godsend; however, they can also be disruptive. The trick is knowing which is in store for you before it’s too late. Never looked at it like that? It happens all the time. a Kemal Carr is the President of Madison Advisors, an advisory firm that specializes in print and electronic communications. Kemal also acts as a principal analyst for Madison Advisors. He provides project-based advisory services designed to assist clients with business strategy and technology selection decisions. To contact Kemal, email kemalcarr@madison-advisors.com. For more information on Madison Advisors, visit www.madison-advisors.com. Can You Identify The Problem? Firms often don’t fully capitalize on opportunities to move the organization forward, and the industry as a whole suffers. Let’s say your firm has purchased a competitor, and now comes the task of sifting through the systems and platforms to determine any production or operational synergies. To improve costs, the team has been reduced to the core knowledge set to keep the operation functioning, and gone are many of the team with application-specific knowledge that is so useful in these reconciling situations. On the revenue side, the acquisition looks like your standard 1+1=3. However, on the cost side, management is looking for 1+1=1.5. It’s standard for the expectation to be multiple cost saves on the back-office and production expenses, while the SG&A expenses balloon initially before being reigned in. The challenge is that you’ve lost the critical skill set necessary for a successful transition, AND you’ve been given a mandate to cut further. The path of least resistance is the norm. Leave existing systems and work distribution in place and defer reconciliation. This poses several challenges, such as lost cost-saving opportunities, inefficiencies across sites, brand management conflicts, and a whole host of quality and process error opportunities that must be managed. Often times there are budgeted funds to support the transition to a combined organization, but it can be a challenge that few are interested in stepping up to. In addition, the diverse platforms and systems may hold no simple common processing denominator, which probably means a change to maintaining two, rather than one, operations. A systems upgrade here, a processing patch there, and several workarounds later it becomes the new business as usual. 12 MAY - JUNE 2009 a www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com http://www.madison-advisors.com http://www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mailing Systems Technology - May/June 2009

Mailing Systems Technology - May/June 2009
Contents
Editor’s Note
Real Life Management
Software Byte
Employing Technology
Everything IMB
Ship It
Best Practices
What You Think
From the Source
The Key to Approval
Practical Insights
Mail.XML and Services Oriented Architecture (SOA)
Implementing the Intelligent Mail Barcode
Internet-Powered Postal Mail
Using Personalization Technology
Reality Check
Pushing the Envelope

Mailing Systems Technology - May/June 2009

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