In our previous blog we talked about how you can’t go without data visualisation if you want to deliver decent customer communications. Data visualisation helps you display content in a way that’s easy for the reader to digest, understand and record. In this blog we’ll delve deeper into the possibilities of data visualisation and more specifically how a customer communication management platform can help you create documents and communications with data coming directly from your ERP system.

ERP challenges

But first, let’s discuss the challenges. SAP is one of the most widely used enterprise platforms in the world. They have very robust pre-defined implementation methodologies, but there is no way to easily create the business documents and customer communications needed to run your business. Also, there is a serious gap in the ERP product line. Even a simple change in an ERP form requires expensive technical resources, which creates higher costs and a longer time to market. Some customers reported it took them up to 84 man-days to make simple changes to a template.

For today’s corporations, the basic output capabilities provided by ERP systems are no longer adequate. Use of corporate branding cannot be enforced and graphical design capabilities are very limited. There is no easy and flexible way to produce output for email, web or other channels without programming. When the company style changes, all the templates need to be updated manually one by one. As every change needs to be programmed, tested and deployed, IT spends too much time making changes to templates.

No central overview

Also, the ownership of documents and communications lies with different departments. It is the default owner of everything output related in an organization. They have the technical skills, but they are not familiar with how the documents are used and therefore often can’t respond fast enough. Business users have firsthand experience with the customer and are ideally placed to pick up on new trends or requirements, but they lack the technical knowledge to update or maintain output documents in SAP. To make matters worse, when customer communications are eventually sent out, there is no central overview, leaving business users in the dark when they interact with customers. This leads to frustration and disappointment for both business users and customers.

Customer Communication Management

A key to success in this area is a good customer communications management (CCM) platform. Such a platform improves the creation, delivery, and tracking of outgoing communications across print, email, mobile, social, archive or web and thus helps boost the digital transformation. A CCM system provides an intuitive graphical environment to design templates and enables users to compose complex output templates according to corporate brand guidelines with rich graphical features, define business logic and specify production characteristics without programming.

With many ERP systems, it could take hours to get data into a document. Cutting and pasting results in errors which might be disastrous in front of your customers. CCM tools make it easier to insert data from an ERP and other systems, without additional manual steps and without technical knowledge.

Take a look at the invoice below. In terms of specifics and information, they are both identical. But stylistically, they are day and night. It’s a prime example of how a CCM platform can help you visualise specific customer data drawn from your ERP system in a communication that’s easy to digest and appealing to the eye of the customer.

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