10 reasons why every business needs output management software
Output management software (OMS) is the descriptive, but not very catchy, term used for solutions that centralise and automate part, or all, of the processes required to produce digital and hard-copy customer communications, including document design, processing, production, dispatch and archiving.
The dryness of the term doesn't do justice to the far-reaching benefits that OMS solutions bring to organisations of all sizes – particularly at a time when businesses are under pressure to save money and increase productivity, strengthen compliance and digitise their operations, whilst also meeting growing customer demand for tailored, relevant, accurate and timely communications.
Output management software can help achieve all these things – and the broad range of solutions available, for everything from simple mail processing to managing enterprise-wide multi-channel customer communications, means there is an offering to suit almost every type of business. Because they are modular and, in some cases, offer the option of hosted or on-premise deployment, solutions can evolve as your business grows and requirements change.
So, without further ado, here are 10 reasons why you should take a closer look at output management software for your business.
1. Contact customers via their choice of channel. Today, more than ever, consumers expect to be contacted via their choice of communications channel. This could be the post, fax, telephone, email, social media, web-link or SMS – and it could change depending on the subject matter or even the time of day. Output management software simplifies the implementation of multi-channel communications by automatically distributing documents via each customer's preferred communication channel, with significant benefits for customer satisfaction and loyalty.
2. Digitise your business – at your customers' pace. Digitisation is the Number One priority for businesses today. Everyone wants to to be paper-free, but getting there can be difficult. In a new study by Xerox1, IT decision-makers confidently predict that within two years only 9% of key business processes will run on paper. However, more than half admit that their processes are still largely, or entirely, paper-based. About one in three says they still use paper, not email, to communicate with customers. This is bad for them and bad for their customers (see above). Output management software that supports multiple communication channels lets you make the transition from printed to digital communications seamlessly and at a pace that suits you and your customers.
3. Maintain visibility & control. One of the difficulties in adopting multi-channel communications is keeping track of what was sent to whom, when and how. With integrated archiving, OMS software provides a consolidated view and record of all communications, irrespective of whether they were distributed electronically or printed and posted. Employees can see at a glance when and how something was sent, without having to switch between applications and/or filing systems.
4. Consult audit trails for proof of delivery. Instead of having to rely on someone's word, output management systems provide an audit trail of communications activity so that you can confirm and, if necessary, prove that something has been sent. Some systems provide digital certification of electronic documents to prove authenticity and proof of receipt. The result? Better customer service and faster dispute resolution. In the case of invoices, proof of receipt can even help you get paid faster.
5. Ensure Compliance. Audit trails are just one example of how output management software aids compliance. By automating the preparation, production and despatch of customer communications generally, OMS software makes it easier to stick to relevant rules, regulations and standards, from the pre-sorting of mail to maximise Royal Mail discounts (see below) to the archiving of invoices to HMRC standards.
6. Personalise customer communications. Increase response rates and build stronger customer relationships by personalising transactional and marketing communications. OMS software lets you do this in a number of ways, from changing greetings on letters to varying the offers, promotions and marketing material sent to each customer. One of the key functions of almost all OMS solutions is the generation of barcodes and/or optical marks containing processing instructions for folder-inserters. These are read by the folder-inserter, which modifies envelope insertions accordingly. In a recent survey by Ricoh Europe3, almost two thirds (64%) of consumers said brands could do more to tailor their communications to their needs – and 80% said they would be willing to share data to enable this. Automating insertions eliminates human error and ensures that each person receives the documents they are meant to. This is particularly beneficial for organisations that handle sensitive customer data, especially those in healthcare, social services, education and financial services. Figures from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)2 show that sending sensitive data to the wrong recipient is one of the three most common causes of data security breaches.
7. Boost productivity. The above is just one example of how OMS (and folder-inserters) can increase productivity by reducing manual processing. In fact, output management software has a massive effect on staff productivity by automating almost every aspect of the communications process, from the use of templates for document creation to the automatic pre-sorting of mail. Neopost estimates that automatic mail processing saves 30-60 seconds per item. Claims Management Company Claim Eazy has reduced the amount of time it takes to process outbound mail by 80% since installing an intelligent Neopost DS-200 folder-inserter and output management software.
8. Save money. Hand-in-hand with productivity enhancements are big cost savings. These come not just from increased efficiency, but also from the substitution of printed communications with digital messaging (where desired). Within a month of introducing output management software and giving customers a choice of receiving invoices in the post or by email, bakery products supplier Ransons had cut its postage and paper costs by 20%. Further cost savings come from a reduction in costly errors associated with manual processes; improved data accuracy (certified address management software is included with Neopost output management software); and sophisticated mail processing. For example, OMS can save postage costs by combining multiple letters to an individual in one envelope and by grouping and pre-sorting mail to maximise Royal Mail volume discounts.
9. Make better use of resources. Enjoy economies of scale and simpler management by centralising document production and despatch. Organisations with multiple branch offices don't have to install printing and mailing equipment in every office or put up with slower, less productive devices in satellite offices. With output management software, all documents can be processed and despatched centrally. As well as reducing support requirements in branch offices and enabling organisations to make productive use of larger, more economical devices in the corporate print/mail-room, centralisation maximises possible Royal Mail volume discounts. For small and medium-sized business, the Hybrid Mail feature of Print Machine or OMS-500 enables the outsourcing of printing and mailing to a Neopost UK mail centre.
10. Maintain a consistent corporate identity. The document design features included in many output management solutions let you centralise the creation of transactional and marketing communications for a more professional corporate image. Templates for invoices, sales orders, statements, forms and other documents let you apply a consistent design across your business, from typefaces, fonts and graphics to output choices, such as single- or double-sided printing. A multi-channel solution like GMC Inspire provides a single design platform for print, email, mobile and web.
Neopost provides a full range of output management solutions to meet the diverse needs of customers, including OMS-200 (adding intelligence to folder-inserters); OMS-500 (document personalisation and multi-channel distribution); Print Machine (document design and mail processing); and GMC Inspire (omni-channel document design, proofing and delivery of personalised communications). Starting from different points and with different priorities, all four solutions can help businesses save money and improve communications effectiveness, while satisfying growing demand for relevant, tailored, timely communications.