This article appears in the Winter 2019 digital issue of DOCUMENT Strategy. Subscribe.

Image by: Igor Korchak, ©2019 Getty Images

Developing a customer communications management (CCM) strategy is analogous to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. To arrive at the solution, the pieces need to be interlocked together in an integrated technology infrastructure to manage the entire communications life cycle, from data through delivery. For some organizations, this means outsourcing the required technology model to a hosted managed services provider.

In our recent report titled “Customer Communications Management Hosted Managed Services Market Update, 2nd Edition,” Madison Advisors has a more optimistic—yet still conservative—view of this market, and estimates it to be greater than five billion dollars in the United States alone. Although there are some early adopters of CCM hosted managed services, significant opportunity still remains in verticals such as financial services, insurance, utilities, telecommunications, and others that generate large volumes of transactional communications.

Smaller organizations, which typically lack the resources and/or expertise in CCM technology, present additional opportunity for this market to grow. Our research at Madison Advisors shows that enterprises are beginning to recognize the importance of CCM and its impact on customer experience. As a result, leveraging the capabilities of a CCM hosted managed services provider may be a viable option to meet these strategic business goals and objectives.

We’ve identified seven critical capabilities of CCM hosted managed services, each of which is crucial to managing the end-to-end communication life cycle. These capabilities can serve as decision markers for selecting a CCM hosted managed services provider.
  • Data Aggregation: Companies that use data to enhance their value proposition and increase customer satisfaction will most likely stay ahead of the competition. Data collection and management is the most critical aspect of a customer communications platform and an area of expertise for capable hosted managed services providers, who can ingest data files in a wide variety of formats.
  • Customer Profile & Delivery Preference Management: Customer expectations can now be managed by dynamically presenting content preferences, allowing a customer to have control over a two-way conversation. Competent hosted managed services providers collect customer profile information necessary for both postal and electronic mail delivery, mobile messages and alerts, and delivery preferences for all channels and all communication types.
  • Content Management: Second only to data management, content management is a critical component of a hosted managed services solution. The content repository stores all of the components necessary for generation of communications. It has a thin client user interface that provides business users the ability to control and manage content, without relying on information technology (IT).
  • Document Composition & Post-Composition: Data, content, and business rules are stored separately from document templates, which allow for easy and efficient changes as needed. As a result, proficient hosted managed services providers create flexibility in the change control process. This allows enterprises to design a communication once for delivery across many channels.
  • Omni-Channel Delivery: A successful omni-channel delivery strategy requires the ability to engage customers in their preferred channel with content that is personalized and relevant. Adept hosted managed services providers support all delivery channels for customer communications, including print and mail, interactive PDFs, web portals, secure email, tablets, smartphones, and SMS texts.
  • Archival: An archive copy of communications is created from the document composition process. If preferred, such output can be directed to a client archive. A hosted managed services provider will manage the archiving, so it contains the appropriate indexing for easy search and retrieval as well as redelivery, if needed.
  • Dashboard & Reporting: Having a dashboard that shows the status of communications from both a logical and physical (print and mail) perspective is important for managing strict document service-level agreements (SLAs). This reporting functionality is accessible through a browser-based thin client from the hosted managed services provider. All production-related information (from the point of file ingestion all the way through to the delivery of communications) is available to the user.
For more information on the full report, visit

Gina Ferrara is a Senior Analyst with Madison Advisors and provides advisory services to organizations in the financial services and service provider industries. Visit or follow them on Twitter @madison_advisor.