This marks my third year attending the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum (DSF), and each year, I learn something new and talk to interesting people.

Some of the ideas are not new, but I did come away with some changed perspectives, all filtered against a backdrop of what this means to me, my company and my customers.

David Smith, research director and lead analyst at Aragon Research, started us off with a discussion about four major trends: cloud, collaboration, mobile/Internet of Things (IoT) and predictive apps. What a great way to set up the conference!

Surely, cloud, collaboration and mobile are not a surprise, but the rise of IoT is just beginning and will have a major impact on our behavior, our conveniences and security. When your car or house (appliances, security systems, etc.) become Internet-connected and turn into one of those “things,” what you have is an open door into your life with access to previously non-interconnected “things.” Some of you may have seen the 60 Minutes story on connected cars being hijacked, with the hacker controlling the speed, steering and braking, or the reports on hackers taking over alarm systems to break into homes. Those are some of the downsides to IoT, but the upside is enormous.

What does the "Internet of Things" mean to the document industry? Clearly: smarter machines with intelligent software with more data and predictive analytics; more effective customer communications; and the repairman showing up just before you need one (with the right part)—the list of possibilities is endless. Mailing equipment has been moving to the cloud for rate updates, supplies purchases and statistics. So why not get rid of the keyboard and display and do all of your business on the iPhone. On June 2nd, Apple released the first "smart" home gadgets that can be controlled by Apple's voice-activated digital assistant, just days after Google announced it is building its own software for Internet-connected home appliances and other gadgets.

Panel discussions
The meeting continued with panel discussions. David Ewell, director of sales consulting and strategy for the Oracle Documaker, said, “Businesses must be customer-driven and not just cost-driven.” I could not agree more, and Mark Blazek, assistant vice president at USAA, pointed out that “cost reduction concerns are paramount,” especially in these times of flat revenue. Equally importantly, Roger Cope, programs manager and assistant manager at American Honda Finance, spoke about “the need for increased convenience and a focus on the customer experience—this is the age of the customer.”

So, how do we leverage the four trends mentioned by David Smith with the thoughts of the panelists, and how does this relate to e-delivery, e-billing and e-payments?

IoT and e-delivery, e-billing and e-payments
More and more, our daily activities will revolve around our mobile devices. Multiple interfaces to the world will become a single interface. No more car keys, no more physical credit cards and wait—no more passwords.

Research has highlighted that one of the main barriers to customer electronic engagement is password fatigue. People have too many usernames and passwords. They cannot remember them, and when they forget, the recovery process can be truly painful.

So, how can we eliminate passwords? Perhaps by substituting and/or combining “something you know (like a shared secret)” or “something you are” with another device-specific factor to maintain or even enhance the level of security while, at the same time, simplifying the customer experience.

There was an excellent article in the the Economist, “Passé words.” Smartphones are moving to the use of tokens (for example, in Google Wallet and Apple Pay) to be "paired with 'something you are,' such as an analysis of the user's voice, iris or fingerprint.” Another idea is to utilize a mobile device's GPS system to confirm activity within your typical zone of operation, much like banks do today for payments and transfers, as an added safeguard.

There is also a consortium of major players (Samsung, Visa, Alibaba, among others) who have founded the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance to evaluate approaches to strengthen multi-factor authentication. They are working to include public key cryptography, with public and private keys, which could again be combined with “something you know” or “something you are” to eliminate passwords altogether.

If done right, cramming everyday life into a mobile device could lead to a better customer-driven solution for e-billing and e-payments and much higher adoption rates—a solution that is simpler to use while, at the same time, being more secure. Thus, bringing together what we are all looking for:
  • Lower costs for the company
  • Greater customer convenience, with
  • A better customer experience
Exactly what the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum presenters were asking for.

The 2016 DOCUMENT Strategy Forum will take place on May 10-12, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. For more information about the industry’s first and only Peer-Driven, Peer-Reviewed and Peer-Produced conference dedicated to the professionals charged with delivering superior customer experiences, please call 203-378-4991 or email

Richard Rosen is the chief executive officer of The RH Rosen Group, a firm that provides solutions to help businesses improve processes and customer communications with the intent to create real, recurring benefits in: cost reduction, electronic payment, shipment tracking and printing/mailing. Contact him at or visit

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