Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009 - (Page 12)

Employing Technology In today’s economic environment, cost containment is constantly top-of-mind. This was evident in our recent Print Suppression study of nearly 30 Fortune 500 firms looking to understand the current state of electronic adoption and, more importantly, where the trends are heading. Lack of vision and strategic direction can cause your project to stall, even before it gains momentum. Here’s how to not let this happen to your business. With Kemal Carr The Strategic Factor An Obvious Answer Conventional thinking would lead you to optimizing the process, eliminating all costs and locking in on specific products or a rigid workflow to maximize productivity. While that thinking might have made sense previously, we’re finding firms that have multiple document creation systems where necessary. It might make sense if your work mix requires broad capabilities, such as high-volume transactional along with full-color marketing applications. It’s true that many of the solutions today can support multiple environments; however, the devil is in the details when ensuring your specific needs are met. Another option commonly overlooked is selective outsourcing — figure out what you do well and focus on that while sharing those 20% of the applications that cause 80% of the headaches. Plus, it saves the organization from having to build it all, at least initially, which is smart. You might find it more advantageous to be best at five things rather than good at 10. The world is changing, and the economy is different. We all want to make good decisions, which requires good information. Without complete and accurate information, the decision process fails, and we compromise the potential outcomes. Our recent Print Suppression Study indicates that our Fortune 500 clients have become increasingly focused on cost control, alternative delivery models and customer experience, many with our assistance. As our work in this area has increased, we’re seeing the shift in philosophies — be prepared and keep the end in mind. Can You Identify The Problem? The line of business (LOB) has attended a recent trade show and returned all excited about personalization, one-to-one marketing and TransPromo. They’d like to introduce color printing into the current operational environment and begin to take advantage of these new capabilities. The LOB may even have had a conversation with a print service provider that convinced your customer that their services and color workflow could be deployed much more quickly and less expensively. Now you’re playing defensively, rather than jointly working the solution. One key driver that often gets overlooked but is only recently becoming a factor is the increased focus on electronic delivery alternatives. And while less paper doesn’t necessarily translate into paperless, at least in the near-term, the organization must be positioned to provide multiple channel delivery, including both electronic and hardcopy — which will eventually mean color print. In the short term, this situation can stress the organization and resources; however, the goal to provide a flexible and creative delivery process is critical to your long-term success. Is this where we see most of the challenges? Where are most organizations struggling? Is there any commonality? Borrowing from one of Steven Covey’s seven principles, we should begin with the end in mind. Sounds simple; however, without the rigor of process or methodology, firms often default to past behaviors, which may not be adequate when developing an output strategy. Consequently, this doesn’t imply locking in on a specific solution and inhibiting flexibility; rather, it creates that shared vision that supports both current and future states. It can be a challenge, especially if you’re not staying close to your clients, either the internal or external ones. 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. To contact Kemal, email For more information on Madison Advisors, visit NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2009 a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009

Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009
Editor’s Note
Real-Life Management
Software Byte
Employing Technology
Everything IMB
Ship It
Best Practices
What You Think
From the Source
Mail Managers React to Economic Times
Cost Comparisons
The Intelligent Mail Challenge
Special Product Profile Section
Reality Check
Pushing the Envelope

Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009