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Upgrading Your CCM Environment? Three Reasons to Do More Than That

Why today it makes sense to do more than just an upgrade of your aging CCM tools – and how to get buy-in for making the investment.

Over the past few years, many of our clients have been in the same situation: They’ve neglected their document composition environment for years, fallen several versions behind, and are now either out of support or paying extra for extended support for end-of-life software versions.

The trouble is, in many cases upgrading the software is expensive and labor-intensive – not much different than re-platforming. Nobody wants to pay for an expensive project with no clear business benefits other than support, stability, and feature improvements. And make no mistake, these are expensive projects, and they only get more and more expensive the longer you wait.

Sooner or later, you’re going to have to spend the money to move off of an aged or unsupported solution. In our experience, the organizations that succeed in actually gaining momentum and making significant progress in this space are those that address real business benefits at the same time as they deal with IT modernization imperatives. In fact, it often takes business stakeholders to force the issue and drive the modernization in the first place.

Given how expensive an upgrade or migration can be, this means expanding the project scope to deliver real business benefits, even if it winds up increasing your project scope and costs. So what kinds of benefits are business stakeholders usually willing to support?

  • Better customer experience. If your composition platform modernization project simply calls for a “lift-and-shift” of existing templates, you’re missing a big opportunity to make your documents more customer-friendly and impactful. This requires defining overall standards for how you want to communicate with your customers, including guidelines for clarity and simplicity of language and tone of the communications. While in some instances the language you use will be dictated by regulations, in many cases the regulations only dictate what you need to say – giving you latitude in exactly how you say it.
  • Consistent branding and look-and-feel. As with customer experience improvements, composition platform migrations provide the opportunity to standardize the design of your customer-facing documents. By developing standard for document layout and design, you can take advantage of the opportunity to repeatedly reinforce your image and brand by ensuring that all of your customer-facing documents have a common design that reflects your branding standards.
  • Improved manageability and faster turn-around. If your upgraded environment embraces the concepts of content re-use across templates, you’ll make maintenance and changes easier for IT. For example, changing the signature graphic that appears in 27 different templates no longer requires making a change to all 27 templates. With modular templates, changes will be much faster to implement – especially for changes that span a collection of documents. This will be welcome news for business stakeholders, who are likely experiencing frustration with how long it takes IT to implement what they consider to be simple changes to their document templates.

While it can be challenging to develop black-and-white business cases for these types of business benefits, we encourage IT groups dealing with solution obsolescence to partner with their business customers to form teams that can deliver on these benefits. And doing it right involves heavy lifting.

You have to inventory your documents, determine which ones are actually in use and which ones can be retired, determine which ones are redundant or similar, develop modular templates with practical levels of re-use and variables, and ensure those templates adhere to your branding standards and writing standards. But without this heavy lifting, all you’re providing is a like-for-like replacement – with a big, ongoing price tag.

Joe Fenner
Joe Fenner
I’m VP of Consulting. I oversee Doculabs’ delivery team and consulting practice, as well as leading numerous client engagements.