One fits all is no solution!

Business communication components as program extension

When you can no longer see the program because there are too many extensions …

A program extension with a seemingly adequate output management component can quickly lead to an unnecessarily complex IT system landscape. Ultimately, it will not only cost money, but a lot of stress as well. Despite this, well-functioning core systems for the company-wide control of business processes provide built-in solutions for organizing corporate communication.

You then have to ask yourself: for what companies are these built-in solutions useful, and for what companies are they utterly useless?

What integration solutions are we actually talking about?

There are currently very good standard software packages on the market for a wide range of corporate areas, such as controlling, distribution, purchasing, production and human resources. They successfully help companies to digitally control a wide range of business processes. In most cases, however, they do not provide an integrated component for external corporate communication. This means that customer communication via various channels is not directly linked to these areas, but has to be created manually and filled with the appropriate data.

As a consequence, simple, static program extensions for output management come into play that can be integrated at a later stage. These offer the supposed solution of equipping the core system later with off-the-peg document creation tools. The users can then create communication documents from the core system. Theoretically.

At first, this solution sounds good, primarily because it can also be purchased very cheaply. However, what many users quickly lose sight of is the fact that as the number of tools increases—one for each channel—the programs become more complex and no longer work faultlessly. In addition, they are usually not multi-layered enough to do justice to the individual requirements of the users.

Before implementing a built-in solution, you should therefore carefully scrutinize your company’s internal infrastructure with the objective of determining whether the integration solution meets ALL requirements of your own business processes and does EVERYTHING that you require of it.

A standard solution or an individual solution? That is the question.

There are some situations in which an integration solution is a good choice. The important factors for the decision are the size of the company, the complexity of the business processes and the number of communication levels.
 

Decision factors for communication components
Company sizesmalllarge
Complexity of business casessimplecomplex
Number of communication layersfewmany
Used languagesonemultiple
Process of approvalsimplecomplex
Volume of communicationlowhigh
The following rule of thumb could therefore also apply:

“The more complex, large and multi-layered the processes are, the sooner an off-the-peg solution will reach its limits.”

If you examine it closely, the use of such a built-in solution only makes sense, if there are simple procedures and standardized processes in the company that do not have to be communicated via multiple channels.

Just ask yourself:
How is a simple solution going to control a complex business case? You don’t just want a sticking plaster when you really need a plaster cast!

An individual solution as an effective alternative to an integration solution

An off-the-peg solution will always reach its limits when it comes to dealing as individually as possible with the subject of customer communication. In addition, it is never tailored exactly to the needs of your own company—after all, it is off the peg and not from a tailor.

In addition, important features, such as post processing and quality assurance, are not integrated as standard. If you try to adapt or upgrade this system later, let’s be honest, you will just make a botch of it and exponentially increase the complexity of your own IT system landscape.

For example, let’s say you want:

  • to centrally make content adjustments to a point, which are then immediately active via all communication channels → a single point of change will then be necessary so that you do not have to repeatedly perform a manual edit of all the copies.
  • to track company-wide what communication costs will be incurred in what area so that they can be optimized in a targeted manner → to do so, you need company-wide transparency in all areas where your tool is being used.
  • to obtain a precise insight into what information leaves the company by what path (digital, postal, SMS, etc.). Would you like to track who has access to it and calculate what it will cost—not only in terms of bulk mailing, but for all individual documents as well? → if so, you should attach great importance to compliance conformity.
  • that any communication whatsoever is subject to strict quality management. In the process, it is particularly important for you to filter out critical content so that it can be subjected to a manual checking process without losing time every day (on non-critical processes). → then you should not save on quality management.

 
Unfortunately, none of this works with classic extension solutions.

However, if you would like to make it possible, this is where a workaround begins. As a result, the system that was initially cheaper, causes high follow-up costs and becomes a time-consuming and nerve-racking undertaking.
All of this would be dealt with quickly and easily with an individually tailored solution, though.

So, anyone whose own company processes have reached a certain size and complexity needs to urgently integrate individually tailored systems. If you opt for small solutions to deal with complexity, you will soon find yourself forking out more money. The initial budget is often used up quickly, there is a constant need for a workaround and integration of the solutions will soon no longer work. So it’s better to decide on an individual software solution from the very start! Ultimately, it’s often better, cheaper, and meets your needs exactly.

Conclusion:

The built-in variant of core systems can be a good choice for small companies that have clearly structured requirements of their customer communication. However, if the underlying business structure is complex, you should definitely give preference to a tailored and customizable system. If you take those recommendations to heart, you will achieve better results, lower cost and faster processes. You will then soon be able to concentrate again on what really matters: your core business.

Companies that focus on individual solutions have to constantly keep on proving themselves. This means that time and again we guarantee efficient functioning and that your solution can do what you require.

Write to us! We’ll analyse your IT system landscape and help you find the right solution for you and your company.