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Clarity, Award Winning Technology by Pitney Bowes

Interview with Marie-Pierre Belanger, VP Digital Solutions & Product Manager at Pitney Bowes
By: Skip Henk, EDP – CEO of Xplor International

Xplor’s annual Technology of the Year Award honors an individual, company or organization that has conceived and developed an original concept leading to a significant advancement in the industry.

Each year Xplor’ call for Award Submissions yields a plethora of hardware and software submissions as vendors vie for recognition which tasks the Xplor Award Committee.

This year’s winner of the Technology of the Year Award is the Clarity product by Pitney Bowes, a new cloud offering   that leverages data analytics and services to help increase productivity and lower the cost of running a print and mail operation.

I had the opportunity to speak with Marie-Pierre Belanger, VP Digital Solutions & Product Manager at Pitney Bowes to learn more about their award winning product. Marie assumed her role in August of 2016 with the mission of continuing the success of Clarity by leading highly skilled team of experts to define, develop and deliver PB Industrial Enterprise Mail equipment data optimization solutions.


Skip: First, congratulations on receiving the Technology of the Year Award. I have to say our judges were quite impressed.

Marie: Thank you and we are honored to accept this award recognizing our work in the Industrial Internet and it’s especially gratifying to be recognized by Xplor.”  

Skip: Clarity is part of the Enterprise Business Unit of PB. Could you share with our readers how it fits within the PB family?

Marie: Our clients include many of the world’s leading insurers, telecommunications companies and financial institutions who have come to rely on Pitney Bowes to process billions of pieces of mail annually. Faced with increasing competition and cost pressures, mail operations are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity, and maintain a competitive advantage. By connecting industrial sensors, machine data, people and processes, the Clarity solutions suite helps clients access new intelligence to drive higher levels of operational performance.

Clarity Solutions is a cloud based SaaS offering available on our global fleet of production mailing systems.  It integrates and organizes data collected from sensors on our machines to drive greater operational performance for our clients.

Skip: In a nutshell, what is Clarity and what does it represent to the industry?

Marie: Clarity is a disruptive technology that brings the transformational benefits of the Industrial Internet to production print and mail.   The data and real-time insights enable the predictive analytics, and prescriptive maintenance that drive optimized performance and improved business outcomes.   The Clarity suite is comprised of three offerings:

Clarity Advisor, launched in early 2016, is our new service delivery model that offers an intelligent view into the performance of our client’s equipment to help drive higher levels of machine efficiency.  It proactively monitors trends and patterns to diagnose and resolve issues before they occur resulting in up to 10% greater machine efficiency.   Our technical experts leverage these analytics and insights to prevent system downtime and predict anomalies allowing us to start moving to outcome based service support.

Clarity Optimizer leverages actionable insights and industry benchmarks to identify an optimal combination of jobs, machines and operators to help clients improve equipment performance, operational productivity and capacity.

Clarity Scheduler provides real-time adaptive scheduling to help clients meet critical service-level agreements and drive productivity.

And in late 2017, Clarity for Production Print Systems will provide a detailed view of machine efficiency and consumable usage.

Skip: Clarity utilizes the “industrial internet”. For those not familiar with the term what exactly the industrial internet?

Marie: The Industrial Internet brings together industrial machines, advanced analytics and people in a network of highly secured connected devices to monitor, collect, analyze and deliver data-driven insights that help drive transformational business outcomes.   The business benefits include lower cost of operations, greater productivity, output and increased service levels.

Skip: This seems to be a collaborative effort with GE. How do they fit in to the equation?

Marie: At Pitney Bowes, we are leveraging a combination of physical and digital technologies to transform our businesses, which include mailing and shipping, global ecommerce and location intelligence.   We chose to partner with GE to transform our enterprise mailing business with GE Predix, the software platform for the Industrial Internet since GE has expertise in industrial manufacturing.  Our production print and mail equipment is very similar to the large scale industrial GE equipment.

Skip: What makes Clarity unique? 

Marie: This cloud based Industrial Internet technology, the first in the mail industry, allows Pitney Bowes to provide unique innovative capabilities to our clients.  Many systems collect and report data; however, by coupling the cloud analytics with our technical system knowledge and expertise, Clarity Advisor delivers the intelligent insights needed to drive higher levels of operational performance.

And by leveraging the data collected across our global install base, our clients can begin to understand how their operation compares with industry benchmarks and obtain insights that will drive the most optimal combination of jobs, machines and operators through Clarity Optimizer.

Truly innovative and unique, Clarity Scheduler leverages machine learning capabilities along with in-depth insight into the productivity relationships, trends and reoccurring patterns between operators, machines and jobs.  This provides our clients with a dynamic, adaptive real-time scheduler that learns from historical performance to unlock additional capacity and maximize yield.

And finally, all this is delivered through a secure cloud platform that allows our client to focus on their core competencies and automatically receive new features instead of supporting and maintaining complex IT infrastructures.

Skip: Marie, once again congratulations to Pitney Bowes. Do you have any closing comments? How can our readers learn more about the Pitney Bowes Clarity product?

Marie: We are proud of the recognition we have received from Xplor for Clarity.   This innovation offers the Xplor community a solution that will transform the way print and mail operations provide high quality service to their clients and driver better business outcome.  We invite you to learn more about how Clarity might benefit your operation.  Click here to do so.


skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

Much More Than a City in France

An Interview with XLPrint USA CEO, Gerard Callaghan
By: Skip Henk, EDP – CEO of Xplor International

At our last conference I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Gerard Callaghan, CEO of XLPrint USA, about the various changes in our industry.

I must admit, I was not familiar with XLPrint but after speaking with Gerard and spending some time on their website  (http://www.xlprint.com/) it is apparent that their platform, Paris, is relevant, agile and totally focused on transaction documents.

I decided to circle back with Gerard and get him to share a few additional thoughts on XLPrint and his vision for our industry.

Skip: Gerard thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with the E-Document News audience.

Gerard: It is my pleasure Skip.

Skip: For our readers that are not familiar with XLPrint and its Paris product, give us your 15 second elevator pitch?

Gerard: XLPrint is a software company and Paris is our flagship product. Paris has been employed in over 55 countries, in almost every industry and in thousands of customers producing billions of printed and digital transaction documents a year. Paris is the culmination of more than 30 years of development and refinement of the tools required to efficiently design, compose and deliver transaction documents. Everyone knows that you need the right tool for a job and XLPrint remains focused exclusively on delivering exactly the right tool for transaction document workflow. We do not attempt to make tools for marketing automation or graphics arts, for example. We focus entirely on transaction document production and workflow. We believe that we continue to excel at this.

Skip: Looking ahead 2-4 years, what will our industry look like?

Gerard: I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in our industry. The rate of change and evolution in the customer communication management (CCM) and customer experience (CX) industry is astounding. Having been in this industry for over 30 years I can’t think of any other period of such great innovation and value creation. However, as exciting as these new opportunities are, companies are still very focused at fulfilling the most basic obligation of delivering transaction documents. This is usually done from business systems that have been in place for a decade or more and will remain in place for another decade or more. Many companies need a solution like Paris to handle these requirements, yet be confident they are investing in solutions that support future requirements. ‘Transaction Document Production‘ may not sound as glamorous as ‘Marketing Automation‘ or ‘Customer Experience’, but it is a vital component of any business and its workflow.

Skip: What effect will emerging technologies have on our customers and our industry?

Gerard: We are working on some very exciting ideas for transaction document content and delivery which will appeal to some of our more forward-thinking customers, but the truth is that the majority of our customers expect only incremental change in this area. Our customers still expect to be delivering significant volumes of printed and PDF/Email transaction documents in 2 to 4 years. As we saw with email delivery, there was no overnight change. Print and mail is still the main medium for transaction documents and it has been, and continues to be, a very gradual change to digital delivery. We believe that businesses will continue to look for specialized, robust, future-proof tools for transaction document production and we believe that XLPrint is one of the most focused and reliable providers out there.

Skip: What does the longer view look like? What will transaction document production look like in 15 years?

Gerard: So, even in 10 years’ time, transaction documents will still be printed and mailed and Paris will be there for them however we believe that by then we will be reaching (or have reached) a tipping point and that the majority of transaction documents will be electronically delivered. At this point, there will be an incredible opportunity to deliver spectacular functionality. We believe there will be an explosion in functionality and capabilities. We are already envisioning and working on these ideas and plan to be there for our customers as they evolve into this very bright future. XLPrint has both feet firmly planted on the ground focusing on what customers need “today” but we are very excited about what lays ahead in the longer term.

Skip: Gerard, thank you for your time. If someone would like to get in contact with you and learn more about XLPrint what is the best way to do that?

Gerard: There is obviously our web site at xlprint.com however you can also contact me directly at gcallaghan@usa.xlprint.com

About XLPrint
2017 sees XLPrint celebrate its 31st year in the business of document production and workflow solutions. We have witnessed, and been a party to, incredible changes in the way that documents are produced, distributed and managed and continue to be at the leading edge of that evolution. With thousands of installations spanning more than 55 countries, producing billions of physical and electronic pages each year, our global industry and market experience is unparalleled.

We pride ourselves on thinking beyond today, and strive to revolutionize how your business will manage tomorrow’s document production opportunities. We base our success on leading-edge technology, reliable and knowledgeable support and solid partner relationships


skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

Customer Experience: Put the patty on the damn bun!

By Skip Henk, EDP, President/CEO of Xplor International

Over the last year I have been spending a great deal of time better understanding the varying intricacies of a customer experience, its relationship to our industry, and how a great customer experience can pay big dividends.

An article I read the other day by Warren Buffet said, “Your business will succeed if you execute this three word mission, DELIGHT YOUR CUSTOMER.” Speaking at the 20th Graduation of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses at LaGuardia Community College, Buffett told the graduates: “Tomorrow morning when you look in the mirror after you’ve gotten up, just write — or just put it in lipstick or whatever you want — ‘delight my customer’ not ‘satisfy my customer.’ ‘Delight my customer.’”

This perhaps is the most descriptive and succinct definition of a the Customer Experience I have read.

(To read the article http://tinyurl.com/jxgghuy )

We have dozens of customer experiences each week which can vary greatly. Whether you are dropping your clothes off at the cleaners, going to the grocery store or ordering on Amazon we have plenty of opportunity to be delighted.

Some of the most mundane of interactions can be delightful with delight being driven by expectations.

Setting Expectations
Customer experience is how we expect to be treated in a given situation. When we go to the cleaners, we don’t want to wait in line too long to drop them off and we want our clothes cleaned properly and ready when promised. At the grocery store, we expect shelves to be well stocked, for the store to be clean and for there to be plenty of cashiers or self serve kiosks to minimize our wait when leaving. When ordering online, we look for availability, price, shipping costs and time. Then we expect our purchase to arrive on or before the date promised.

Expectations vary based on the task and whether we have high or low expectations. When expectations are met, it represents a good experience.

Put the Patty on the Damn Bun
I occasionally go to a fast food restaurant, typically with fairly low expectations. I do expect to wait if I go during a peak times and I automatically assume my order is will not be right, so I check it. I also expect that it is at least warm.  Reasonable but certainly not high expectations.

hamburgerLast week, I had a Big Mac craving and ventured to McDonald’s to order myself a Big Mac and fries.  (Don’t judge me, I know the Big Mac is 560 calories and fries add an additional 368 calories; this isn’t the point)  The “customer experience” was going along well, I did not have to wait long, the order appeared correct and I saw the fries come out the fryer, so they were nice and hot. I was good to go. I sat down to eat and opened my Big Mac finding BOTH patties were hanging halfway off the bun. Not sure exactly why it crossed me but it did.

As I looked at my burger I contemplated taking it back but decided not to do so. What I realized is that the customer experience can in fact be a moving target with expectations theoretically changing with each transaction. The same may hold true for our industry.

At the Xplor at Graph Expo breakfast session, September 27th in Orlando, our panel, moderated by Matt Swain of Infotrends, will try and answer the question:  “With advancements in technology and changes in human behavior, is offering a superior customer experience a moving target?”

If you are planning to attend Graph Expo, I invite you to attend our complimentary breakfast session sponsored by Canon Solutions America, Compart North America, Pitney Bowes and Xerox Corporation. For more information and to register, visit the event website.

As far as my Big Mac expectations, “Put the damn patty on the bun!”

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

What EDP Means to Me

Xplor President/CEO Interview with Franklin Friedmann, 20 Year EDP
July 6, 2016

Continuing from my most recent interview, Benefits to Becoming EDP Certified, I recently caught up with Franklin Friedmann who will be celebrating his 20th year as an EDP this year to discuss what the EDP certification means to him.

If you missed my first post, you can read it and an outline of the EDP Program here.

Skip: Franklin, thank you for taking the time to meet with me!

Franklin: A pleasure.

 

Skip: When did you get your EDP and what drove you to strive for it?

Franklin:  My manager had chosen me to be the first person a Certified Printing specialist with the company. However, recognizing that an EDP(P) had more currency with clients, I told him I would do the Xplor initiative first.

 

Skip: You were a part of the 1996 class, the last year of EDPP Program before they dropped a ‘P’ to better accommodate of digital communication technologies. What have you noticed about this ever-changing industry since?

Franklin: The technology accelerates, though EDP does and should continue to stand for professionalism while content may change.

 

Skip: What does it mean to you personally to be an EDP?

Franklin: It represents a level of attainment, even as the industry shifts to a wider set of values. It therefore is a benchmark.

 

Skip: Has the certification helped you professionally throughout your career?

Franklin: Clients in the transactional space may recognize the credentials. You must prove yourself regardless. My sphere of operation is as a consultant.

 

Skip: Who do you think should attain their certification?

Franklin:  It depends on your current and planned career. EDP is a stepping stone; it may be useful in your organization as a way to measure your knowledge base. It is one of the steps that should also help if you regularly work with clients outside, not only inside your organization.

Thank you again Franklin for taking the time. If anyone has any additional questions regarding the EDP Certification program, please visit www.xplor.org/edp.

Until next time! Take care.

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

Benefits to Becoming EDP Certified

Xplor President/CEO Interview with Cheryl Simerson, EDP, 2016 EDP Commission Chair
June 16, 2016

Most everyone in the industry is familiar with continuing education and professional certifications. However, many may not be aware of the Electronic Document Professional (EDP) certification that is available to all professionals in the electronic document and customer communications industry.

The EDP Program: Launched in 1989 as the Electronic Document Printing Professional (EDPP) program was created to recognize those in the industry as subject matter experts in the area of digital print. Regulated by the EDPP Commission, the first class in 1990 consisted of eleven individuals receiving their EDPP certification. As the industry evolved and new technologies became part of the landscape the EDPP commission dropped the reference to ‘Printing’ in 1997 to accommodate other digital communication technologies.

The EDP program is sponsored and maintained by Xplor International which oversees the EDP Commission, however you do not need to be a member of Xplor International for certification or re-certification

I had the chance to speak with Cheryl Simerson, EDP, our new 2016 EDP Commission Chair to discuss her thoughts on EDP certification, as well as, where she would like to take the EDP Program over the next year.

Skip: Cheryl, thank you for taking the time to meet with me and share your views regarding the EDP Program.

Cheryl: No problem! It is my pleasure.

 

Skip: So give me your elevator pitch. What or who is an EDP?

Cheryl: An EDP is someone who has a considerable depth of knowledge and experience in the digital document and customer communications industry and actively working in the industry for a minimum of five years.

 

Skip: When did you get your EDP and what drove you to strive for it?

Cheryl: I received my EDP certification in 1995 and have gone on to recertify every 5 years over the past 20 years.

I originally set the goal for myself to obtain my certification due to not having a college degree and wanted to prove to myself and my peers that although I did not have a degree, I was an expert in the digital printing industry. At that time, a lot of us obtained our knowledge through hands on experience and never took the time out of our work schedules to go back to school to obtain a degree but instead, attended individual vendor educational courses and conferences.

 

Skip: What does it mean to you personally to be an EDP?

Cheryl: To be one of a very elite group of electronic document professionals is very special to me and I look forward to our yearly onsite networking event with my peers who have also achieved this certification level during the Xplor International global conference.

 

Skip: Has the certification helped you professionally throughout your career?

Cheryl: When I first started working on my EDP portfolio and work examples, as I mentioned above, I did it as an accomplishment for myself in order to achieve this personal goal. At that time, I had already been with my company for many years so I didn’t benefit immediately from obtaining my certification. When I finally went out seeking another job opportunity, I discovered my certification brought attention to being a Subject Matter Expert (SME) which proved to bring in a higher salary.

 

Skip: Who do you think should attain their certification?

Cheryl: Anyone interested in expanding their career in the industry should apply! The EDP Certification Handbook can be found on the EDP site.

 

Skip: As the new EDP Commission Chair, do you have any goals you’d like to help the EDP Program achieve?

Cheryl: One of my goals as this year’s Commissioner is to educate individuals in our industry regarding the program. I want to reach out beyond Xplor International members but to the industry as a whole. The first step is a series of interviews talking about the impact EDP certification in E-Document News.

Another area is to reach out to our colleges and universities regarding certification and I look forward to working with Xplor International and the board of directors to market the program. Not only do I want to promote the EDP Certification Program but also our other two designations, Electronic Document Associate (EDA) and Master Electronic Document Professional (M-EDP).

 

Skip: Thank you again Cheryl for taking the time.

If anyone has any additional questions regarding the EDP Certification program, please visit the EDP page or you can contact Cheryl directly at Cheryl.simerson@yahoo.com.

Until Next interview! Take care.

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

Personalized Video … where does it fit?

By Skip Henk, EDP, President/CEO of Xplor International
*Cover photo compliments of  Pitney Bowes EngageOne® Video mentioned in post

Personalized Video … where does it fit?
My Grandson recently participated in a “fun run” to help raise money for his school. He ran 39 laps with friends and relatives pledging $$$ per lap. Not a new concept as it has been going on for years. What was unique is that the event actually was organized and managed by an event company who provided all the marketing collaterals, prizes, the online payment portal, etc.

As part of the marketing effort, the event company created a personalized video for the participant to help promote the event to family and friends. The video, albeit a bit too long in my opinion, was a great marketing tool as it features several shots of the participant embedded in the video, which every grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin and/or family friend watched, because it was cute and personal.

To view a sample video click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvvQiUyaLPU

Cute, but there is much more!
The application as it relates to the “fun run” was cute but only reached the tip of the iceberg of what I have found personalized video is capable of.  In preparation for our upcoming conference, I researched various products offered by the likes of Sunday Sky, Pitney Bowes, etc. to find a speaker for our event.

What I have discovered in the bit of research that I did is that a well done personalized video can allow an incredible exchange of information, almost creating a “virtual relationship” with a customer or prospect.  As part of a multi or omni-channel strategy personalized video can significantly enhance the customer experience.

I was able to find a demo by Pitney Bowes online and viewed it at least six different times.  I had several opportunities to select different options that took the video in different directions, all of which extrapolated various responses and information from me.  After I closed and returned to the demo site it “welcomed me back.”  The possibilities appeared endless and I certainly could see the potential in terms of engaging a customer or prospect. If you would like to check it out go to: http://www.mypbvideo.com/engageonevideo (Cover photo is a screen shot of my experience).

In the scope of multi-channel communications, personalized video certainly offers some unique capabilities to engage someone in a truly personal and interactive manner.  As the technology is embraced it will be interesting to see the various applications and uses.

Pitney Bowes will present “The Future of Customer Engagement is Video. And the Future is Now.” at Xploration 16 in Orlando on April 5th. Along with their presentation, we have fifty-four others that deal with the technologies, processes and best practices that are driving multi/omni-channel communications as well as the customer experience.

I invite you to check it out at www.xplor.org , click on events, then Xploartion 16 Conference. If you are an end user* and have not attended an Xplor conference in the past, I still have a couple complimentary registrations as part of our First Timers Recognition Program.

Look forward to receiving your thoughts on personalized video.

Any questions contact me at skip@xplor.org. Hope to see you in Orlando.

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

 


*End users are identified as users/buyers of technology. Includes, but not limited to, banking, insurance, healthcare, government, utilities, commercial printers, service bureaus, etc.

“What happens if we don’t and they stay?”

By Skip Henk, EDP, President/CEO of Xplor International

Every year around this time I have the opportunity to speak with people about attending our annual conference. Generally questions include fees, the hotel, content, schedule, networking opportunities, and so on.

I also have conversations with people who tell me that they are unable to attend because it is not in the budget. My personal favorite is “my company does not believe in conferences.” The same has held true when I talk about industry certification. “We have no budget, or our company does not see the value.”

One has to ask, why do companies not want to develop their people? I received something from a friend of mine at Print Media Center the other day that makes a great deal of sense…

CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave?”
CEO to CFO: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”

It is costly if you don’t!

Investing in employees is a good investment. It makes employees more productive, speeds up their growth, increases employee satisfaction and retention and is good for your customers.

One year we had an attendee say that he returned with several new ideas for his company that resulted in several millions of dollars in savings. His company invested less than $1500 for him to attend a conference. He also received a cash bonus. The company benefited, he benefited, and his customers benefited.

Investments go beyond attending conferences. One of our members and sponsors put out a challenge to their employees to get an industry certification or designation. The company, GMC Software, made the investment in time and covered all certification fees. As a result, 124 of GMC’s employees obtained either an EDA designation or EDP certification. That is 20% of their employees in one year!

Why did GMC do it? Because they want to developed their people and make them more valuable to the company and subsequently, their customers.

We want to invest in you!

I have attended dozens of conferences over the years and when I do, I have only one objective: leave with one idea or contact that not only paid for the conference, but made me money. Over the years, I have made a lot of money for the companies I have worked for.

Xplor conferences are filled with a wealth of knowledge, great ideas, and great contacts. As such, I would like you to attend the conference free as my guest. (Sorry but you will have to cover travel and hotel)

Xploration® 16 will take place April 5-7, 2016 at the Caribe Royale Orlando in Florida. – featuring 55+ educational sessions, 3 keynote speakers, 2 networking lunches, 2 evening networking events and 35 exhibitors.

For more information, click here.

To receive a complimentary conference pass (Value $1199) simply meet these three simple criteria:

1. An end user* (no vendors please)
2. Have not attended an Xplor annual conference for the last eight years
3. Stay at our host hotel, the Caribe Royale Orlando, a beautiful resort property for $159/night.

To apply, click here.

Any questions contact me at skip@xplor.org. Hope to see you in Orlando.

 

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

 


*End users are identified as users/buyers of technology. Includes, but not limited to, banking, insurance, healthcare, government, utilities, commercial printers, service bureaus, etc.