The Digital Document Race – On Your Mark, Set, Go!
For companies that choose to be second – lost opportunity awaits in the form of delays in digital engagement and customer experience improvements. Whether return-on investment is calculated in improved net promoter scores, reduced operating expense or increased brand equity, delaying digital efforts has impacts that affect your company. Of these, operating expense is the easiest to evaluate since it lends itself to financial modeling. Let’s dive in.
Operating Expense Model
Assume a company with 5M customers, a 0.5% monthly bump as a result of efforts to drive digital document adoption, and a $0.50 monthly savings per digital document conversion. The opportunity cost of waiting one year is $975K. Extend the period to two years and it’s a whopping $3.75M. Run the numbers using your company’s data. Do you see opportunity?
Looking beyond cost savings, digital capabilities are rapidly expanding, and value awaits as technologies and applications emerge. Digital marketing comes first to mind with its multimedia and interactive possibilities. Embedded links in digital documents provide the ability to leverage your company’s digital marketing investment with your bills and statements.
New channels for digital documents represent an area of both excitement and risk. Whether it’s a new digital file cabinet service or a new app for personalized cloud use, new channels will continue to emerge and your customers will expect you to allow access to their favorite digital destinations.
Accessibility applications benefit from digital technology. New applications continue to improve the lives of people with impaired vision or reading disabilities such as dyslexia. Not only are accessible solutions socially responsible, a competitive advantage in this area could drive increases in the customer base. Per the 2010 U.S. Census, 8.1M Americans have some form of difficulty seeing, and the Dyslexia Research Institute reports that ten to fifteen percent of Americans have some degree of dyslexia. And as technology provides better solutions, compliance to legislation may become a hotter topic.
Hopefully, you see the value in running the digital race. Should you go at it alone with do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions? If so, how will you keep up with new channels, new apps, and new technology? The good news is second-generation distribution solutions are currently available. These solution providers offer to relieve you from much of the heavy lifting and one-off development that a DIY approach often requires. With one integration, second generation solutions provide access to multiple channels and a path to new channels. They relieve you from having to continually go back to your IT department for enhancements to stay current with new digital capabilities. And like the race for digital documents, there’s a race for your business. Now is a great time to find promotional offers as second-generation providers seek to quickly expand their customer bases.
Ultimately, leaders must look at their particular circumstances and do what makes sense. It’s my hope that I’ve helped build the case that the digital document race is worth running and winning. Others may choose to wait. If you do this, do so wisely. Be prepared to defend your reasons and expect that at some point, a new technology will become available with strong appeal. Then, you may have to enter the race anyway with your competition far ahead of you.
Innovation evangelist, print and mail expert, digital communication transformation consultant
Keanon Swan is Principal Advisor at Cygne Advisors. Keanon is a recognized expert in innovation in print and digital communications and a strong advocate for environmental sustainability. He spent 20 years as general manager, IT Care and Billing Services print and digital programs at Sprint. If you would like to contact Keanon, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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