Enterprise Personalization Firm Announces Award Winners
Enterprise Personalization firm Exstream Software recently announced winners of its 2005 Visionary Awards.
Presented at Exstream’s fourth annual North America user conference held in Lexington, Kentucky, May 1- 4, 2005, the awards recognize customers who have achieved outstanding results using the company’s Dialogue enterprise personalization software.
Forty-three Dialogue applications addressing a variety of challenging business requirements were submitted from the more than 200 customers who attended the conference. Seventeen of this year’s submissions were for interactive document applications, using either Dialogue Real-time or Dialogue WebVerse. Awards were given in six categories, including Best Designed Application, Most Significant Return on Investment, Most Improved Time to Market, Most Personalized Application, Most Sophisticated Application and Most Interactive Application.
The Best Designed Application was awarded to DST Output, a Kansas City-based provider of customized print and electronic documents. This is DST Output’s second Visionary Award, having won in the same category in 2004. This year’s submission was a complex redesign of an investor product statement for a leading financial services provider.
The goals of the statement redesign included the addition of personalized marketing messages and news content, making the statement easier to navigate and reducing production costs. The new Dialogue-developed statement incorporated extensive use of variable graphics, such as complex charts that were embedded into tables, to help clearly communicate financial information to the recipient.
The redesigned statement eliminated one of the two base paper stocks originally needed to produce the statement, allowing production requirements to change from cut-sheet to continuous form printing, resulting in significant cost savings.
The Most Significant Return on Investment award was given to The Hartford Financial Services Group, an industry leader in the sale and distribution of individual and group annuity products, mutual funds and insurance products through its Investment Products Division. The Hartford purchased Dialogue in 2003 to upgrade its mainframe-based document composition platform and reduce overall development and production costs.
It also wanted to bring financial information closer to the customer through a custom-built web application. In early 2004, The Hartford began converting its customer communications to Dialogue. In December of that year, the conversion of its individual variable annuity statements yielded more than $900,000 in annual savings, with a five-year internal rate of return of 80 percent.
TPSi, one of the major independent service bureaus in the U.S., was honored with Most Improved Time to Market for using Dialogue to create an e-statement application that makes it possible for a credit union’s customers to view their most recent transactions online as quickly as 30 minutes after they are made.
TPSi’s credit union customer, reluctant to implement an expensive home-banking solution, asked TPSi to develop an alternative solution. TPSi used Dialogue to build an application that allows its credit union client to upload transaction history for its e-statement-enrolled members twice daily. Within two minutes of clicking the RUN button, 4,000 transaction-history PDF files are posted on the Internet for customer viewing. The application was designed to run independently, eliminating any ongoing involvement from TPSi.
The Most Personalized Application was awarded to W. A. Wilde, a Boston-based provider of advanced solutions in direct mail and fulfillment. W.A. Wilde used Dialogue to develop a web-based application that would allow investment managers to produce fund holders’ investment reports on demand so they could make recommendations to them.
Because each investor’s needs are unique, W. A. Wilde’s financial services client requested that all content, color and formatting be easily editable by the investment manager. Dialogue’s ability to process live customer data to produce personalized documents made it possible for W. A. Wilde to build a web interface to capture data and display Dialogue-generated previews of the document for the investment manager’s review.
Using Dialogue’s user-friendly design environment, the investment manager can adjust the content as necessary, choosing variable charts, fonts, color schemes and data-driven tables to create a highly personalized document for the recipient.
The Most Sophisticated Application was presented to EATEL, one of the fastest growing telecommunications companies in the Gulf South providing local phone service, long distance, Internet, web development and e-Commerce solutions to nearly 100,000 customers in Louisiana. EATEL used Dialogue’s robust capabilities to accomplish a complex redesign of its residential and business telephone statements. Dialogue made it possible to streamline each bill’s new requirements by processing data files simultaneously, so variable information such as headers and table of contents with page numbers could be selected for both bills within the same print stream.
With Dialogue, EATEL was able to display endless variations of customer calls, while optimizing space on business bills for additional billing information. Dialogue’s dynamic charting provides the customer with a visual representation of calls by authorization code. To accommodate the requirements of EATEL’s service bureau, Dialogue’s Output Sorting and Bundling split out the bills in color and black and white for distribution to different output devices, sorted for postal discounts (PAVE) and updated with postal barcodes, zip codes and other postal information. Additionally, EATEL used Dialogue’s ability to automatically create PDF output of the statements to replace its current archival system. Storing the statements on PC disk drives makes them accessible to the customer service department when handling calls from customers.
The Most Interactive Application was captured by The Principal Financial Group, a leader in offering businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services. Using Dialogue’s integrated web application development environment, WebVerse, The Principal developed an interactive system to create customized pitchbooks over the Internet. The web-based application allows over 250 field users to easily create custom sales proposals from 14 combinations of products. When selection of the proposal content is complete, the order is sent to the in-house print facility where it is printed, collated, bound and shipped to the requestor in the same day.
The web system is making it easier for The Principal’s field offices to produce proposals consistent with the company’s key messages. It is also dramatically speeding time to market and reducing print and warehousing costs by 50 percent.
“Each year I am more impressed with the complexity of the applications submitted and compliment our customers on their ability to use Dialogue to its fullest capacity,” said Davis Marksbury, president and CEO of Exstream Software. “What’s most impressive this year, however, is how many of our customers are using Dialogue as it was intended-to be an enterprise platform on which they can build and deploy all their personalized customer communications. We are absolutely thrilled with the outstanding benefits our customers are realizing using Dialogue.”
The North American Exstream user conference is held annually to provide customers with an opportunity to network with other users and learn new ways to improve customer communications, increase productivity, enhance customer service and grow their business. The 2005 event was sponsored in part by APT Digital, Art Plus Technology, Doculynx, Inc., Prinova, Simplified Communications Group, Inc. and Solimar Systems, Inc. Exstream also held its first annual European user conference this year, June 7-9 in Paris, France.
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