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    Maturity models are not new, and chances are your organization has utilized a maturity model in the past. A maturity model enables an organization to assess its methods and processes according to industry best practices and a well-defined set of benchmarks and objectives.

    In many cases, maturity is evaluated against defined “maturity levels.” This enables the company to compare its maturity level with other organizations in its vertical or even among departments within the same company. The biggest benefit is realized when an organization understands its current maturity level in a given area and has a precise plan to improve and move to the next level. High-performing companies see maturity models as a valuable tool to identify specific areas for improvement.

    There has never been a better time to assess your company's customer communications management (CCM) maturity levels. The CCM market has evolved rapidly—from the convergence of document generation/composition and output management technologies to encompassing core elements of a design tool, a composition engine, a workflow/rule engine, multi-channel output management, and customer journey mapping. As Gartner has observed, the next evolutionary step will be to transform CCM software offerings into customer experience management (CXM) platforms. With this transition, it’s expected that peripheral markets, such as data quality, will start to converge on the space as well.

    Employing a maturity model approach to CCM can help an organization set a solid baseline, which is an essential first step to defining and optimizing the customer journey, in order to move toward holistic customer experience management.

    Getting started with a maturity model assessment
    The first step in a maturity model assessment is to better understand and document your company’s strategy regarding customer support, digital transformation, customer experience, and line of business (LOB) vision. Most likely, these items are created and executed in various silos. The objective is to get a big picture of where your organization wants its customer communications to go within 24 to 36 months. The big picture should not be limited to CCM technology but also examine a broader scope of topics impacting the overall customer experience, including:
    • The various types of communications being sent
    • Roles and responsibilities for customer communications
    • Business rules and workflows
    • Compliance and regulation requirements
    • Communication channels and composition methods
    • Accuracy of customer data quality (DQ)
    • Enterprise content management (ECM) and digital asset management (DAM)
    • Mobile and social media strategies
    • Call center objectives
    Each of these functions may be at a different maturity level, providing a reason to drill down into each. Moreover, since CCM touches so many different aspects of the organization, the development and execution of a plan based on the maturity model assessment should involve a diverse group of technical and business stakeholders.

    "High-performing companies see maturity models as a valuable tool to identify specific areas for improvement. "

    A CCM maturity model assessment will allow stakeholders to determine the initial maturity of their organization’s customer communications. Because it is very common for a company to be at differing levels of maturity in different aspects of communications processes, it is critical to understand and note that the maturity model only represents an initial evaluation. More detailed analysis of organizational policies and practices will be necessary over time.

    Engaging in a holistic look at CCM
    In the initial CCM maturity model assessment, organizations would do well to pay particular attention to the following four areas:

    1. Document gaps
    Identify the gaps between your organization's current CCM program and the desired level of maturity for your organization or lines of business.

    2. Risks and benefits
    Assess the risk(s) and potential benefits to your company related to the largest gaps.

    3. Additional analysis and key stakeholders
    Determine what additional information and analyses are necessary for improvement as well as who the key stakeholders within your company are that must be on board for improvement efforts to succeed.

    4. Further development and communication priorities
    Think about how to assign accountability and garner buy-in for further development of your customer communications.

    The road to great CCM requires a continued commitment to improving your proactive and reactive efforts at every step of the customer journey. The CCM maturity model approach can provide a launching point to help you holistically assess your organization’s current level of effectiveness.

    Aligned with a well-defined CCM maturity plan, your CCM strategy will be a critical component in optimizing customer experiences across devices, channels, and communities. Companies that adopt a fully integrated CCM strategy, including technology, will be well-positioned to win market share by providing a superior customer experience—and will further their leadership position as they evolve their existing CCM capabilities into next-generation CXM platforms to create more effective and personalized customer interactions in every step of the process.

    For more information on building a fully integrated CCM strategy, look for GMC Software's special session at DSF ’17, May 1-3, 2017 in Downtown Chicago. Visit http://documentstrategyforum.com.

    Elizabeth Dailing is Senior Director of Portfolio Marketing for a group of Neopost companies, including GMC Software Technology. Her background includes strategic marketing, enterprise software sales, and marketing management in multiple data domains: security, movement, integration, and data quality. To contact Elizabeth, visit www.gmc.net or follow her on Twitter @ecdailing.
     

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