Xplor President talks to Crawford Technologies President, Ernie Crawford

Interviewed by Skip Henk, EDP, President and CEO of Xplor International

I have had the pleasure of watching Crawford Technologies over the years becoming a leading provider of customer communications solutions. Their latest solution, SmartSetup, was recognized at the 2023 Xplor CCM Summit with the Technology of the Year award.

Founded in 1995, Crawford Technologies has grown to become a renowned provider of solutions for enterprise communications processing (ECP). Ernie Crawford, Founder, President & CEO of Crawford Technologies, shares his thoughts about ECP and the need to process customer communications for smartphones and tablets.

Skip – What is enterprise communications processing and how is it different than customer communication management?

Ernie – Enterprise communications processing (ECP) is a comprehensive approach to giving enterprises the tools they need to manage and deliver all forms of business communications to their customers, across various channels like email, print, mobile apps and more. It streamlines and automates the entire communication workflow, from composition through post-composition, postal automation, job combining and assembly to delivery and tracking. 

ECP has become very popular because most organizations have multiple CCM platforms and composition software, and it is very costly and inefficient to get them all to provide multi-channel and omni-channel capabilities that are consistent with each other—if that is even possible. It is highly desirable to have a single point of control and that is where ECP comes in.

ECP helps organizations improve their customer experience with consistent on-target, timely communications through their customers’ preferred channels.  At the same time, we see organizations benefit from reduced operational costs by eliminating redundant and manual tasks. This translates into tremendous cost savings that enable the money to be used to improve other areas of the business, such as accessibility.

On the other hand, CCM focuses on the composition of customer communications, involving tasks like planning communication strategies, designing compelling content and adhering to branding guidelines. It’s essentially the creative hub where the communication materials take shape, addressing the customer’s journey and information needs.

Skip – What’s the challenge with using PDFs for electronic delivery?

Ernie – PDFs were created in the 1990s to provide a standard format for sharing documents electronically between computer systems. Today, nearly 80% of consumers prefer reading emails, newsletters and other forms of corporate communications on their smartphones or tablets. Combined with 92% of internet users accessing the internet using a mobile phone, that means there has been a dramatic shift from consumers using computers to smartphones to read news, check email, respond to text messages, communicate on social media, access corporate portals, shop for goods and services and browse the web. This shift, or mobile revolution, makes it a requirement for organizations to make sure that all their customer-facing communications are optimized for mobile devices. As an ECP company, Crawford Technologies ensures that we provide the tools and capabilities for organizations to make that happen. The beauty of doing that in ECP is that we can be made aware of when a user is on a mobile device and provide that format dynamically.

Skip – OK, what format should our readers be using for electronic customer communications?

Ernie – Composing customer communications and formatting them into AFP or PDF is still a regulatory requirement for many organizations in order to match the printed documents. They are a document of record for record retention. Therefore, AFP and PDF are not going away.

We have embraced the concept of processing print files and transforming them into responsive HTML for mobile device communications, without altering the original document in any way.  A good example is a customer of ours which is a very large financial institution. Our software converts their print-ready transactional customer communication documents into responsive HTML for mobile devices. It is done in real time when a customer requests to view their statement from their smartphone.

Skip – Why not compose customer communications in HTML?

Ernie – You could invest in composing customer communications in an HTML format, but that would result in maintaining and storing a print and HTML version of the communication. This approach will increase your labor, storage and operational costs when corporate mandates are to reduce costs and be more efficient. For example, one of our customers estimated that it would cost them in excess of $20 million to generate, maintain and store two communications with the same data.

Skip – Good point.  Any closing thoughts for our readers?

Ernie – Enterprise communications processing is a versatile technology that can be used to improve customer communications in a variety of ways. We provide some of the best, cutting-edge technologies in the industry. If you are looking for a way to streamline your communication processes, deliver communications for smartphones and tablets and reduce costs, then our ECP solutions are a good option to consider.

The future of electronic customer communications is undeniably mobile. Organizations must recognize this shift in consumer behavior and adapt their strategies accordingly. Embracing responsive HTML for electronic communications is not just an option—it’s a necessity for staying relevant in a rapidly changing digital landscape. It’s time for organizations to leave behind the constraints of PDFs, embrace responsive HTML and usher in a new era of mobile customer communications.

Skip – Thank you, Ernie, for taking the time and sharing your thoughts. Best wishes to you and the Crawford family for a happy holiday season.

To learn more about making your customer communications mobile-ready, register for the upcoming webinar, Mobile Revolution: Enhancing Customer Engagement with Responsive HTML, hosted by Crawford Technologies on December 7 at 1 p.m. ET. It will include tips and tricks to transform PDFs into responsive HTML and show how it can be done using Crawford Technologies’ enterprise communications processing software.

Until next interview! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

An Interview with Roger P. Gimbel, EDP, President, Gimbel & Associates

By Skip Henk, President/CEO, Xplor International

Roger Gimbel and I have known each other for almost 30 years. For the last 20, through Xplor as Gimbel & Associates is a staunch supporter of the association as a Platinum Elite Partner, Diamond Event sponsor, exhibitor, speaker and much more. Recently I spoke to him on a variety of technology topics and asked him to share some of his thoughts with our readers.

Skip: For our readers who are not familiar with Gimbel & Associates give us your 15 second elevator pitch.

Roger: The uniqueness of Gimbel & Associates lies in several key aspects that set us apart in the highly competitive landscape of our industry:

With decades of experience in the field, Gimbel & Associates boasts a team of seasoned professionals who have encountered and successfully addressed a wide range of challenges in various sectors of the print graphics and marketing industries. Our depth of knowledge and extensive industry insight is a testament to our expertise.

Gimbel & Associates does not offer one-size-fits-all solutions. We pride ourselves on delivering highly customized strategies and plans that address the unique circumstances and objectives of each client.

Our team of highly experienced consultants thrive on staying ahead of the curve by embracing the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. We’re not just reactive; we’re proactive. Our commitment to continuous learning and professional development ensures that our team is always at the forefront of industry trends.

We don’t view our clients as one-off projects. Instead, we aim to build long-lasting partnerships, providing ongoing support and guidance to help them navigate the complexities of the business world.

Skip: How important is color management in the inkjet world?

Roger: Color management, such as that of our partner, ChromaChecker, is of paramount importance in the inkjet production print world for several key reasons:

  • Maintaining consistent color from one print job to another is critical. Customers expect the colors in their marketing materials, packaging, and other printed products to match their branding and design specifications precisely.
  • Consistent and faithful color reproduction in inkjet production helps ensure that printed materials accurately represent a company’s brand, which is critical for brand recognition and customer trust. Certain industries, such as packaging and labeling, have strict color accuracy and consistency requirements due to regulatory standards.
  • Quality Control: Color management helps identify and rectify color discrepancies before the final output, reducing waste and rework. Efficient color management processes can save both time and resources.
  • Inkjet production print environments often handle a wide range of substrates and print applications. Color management systems can adapt to various substrates and ink formulations, ensuring accurate color reproduction across different media.
  • In a competitive print market, the ability to consistently deliver high-quality, color-accurate prints can give a business a significant edge.

Skip: Have toner-based production printing systems reach their “end of life”?

Roger: Toner-based production printing systems had not reached their “end of life.” They have been a mainstay in the printing industry for many years and are known for their high-quality output, speed, and reliability, making them suitable for a wide range of applications, including commercial printing, transactional printing, and packaging. However, it’s important to note that the print industry is continually evolving, and technological advancements can lead to changes in the popularity and prevalence of various printing technologies.

Several factors influence the continued relevance and adoption of toner-based production printing systems:

  • The demand for short-run, variable data, and personalized printing has continued to grow. Toner-based systems excel in these areas due to their digital nature.
  • Ongoing developments in toner formulation and printing processes have led to improvements in print quality, color accuracy, and efficiency.
  • Toner-based systems are versatile and can handle various print substrates, including paper, synthetic materials, and labels, making them suitable for a broad range of applications.

The choice between toner-based and inkjet production printing systems depends on the specific needs of a printing operation, including print volume, substrate requirements, color quality, and budget considerations. It’s advisable for businesses in the printing industry to regularly assess their equipment and technology options to determine the best fit for their evolving needs.

Skip: Can interactive print change how people view the printed page?

Roger: Yes, interactive print has the potential to change how people view the printed page by adding new dimensions of engagement and interactivity to traditional printed materials.

Printed materials often have limited space for text and images. Interactive print provides a way to overcome this limitation by offering readers the option to access more in-depth information, supplementary content, or links to external resources.

Interactive print can be used to deliver personalized content or experiences based on the reader’s preferences or location. For example, a magazine might provide customized content recommendations or special offers tailored to the reader’s interests.

Marketers can use interactive print in campaigns to create memorable and interactive advertisements. QR codes and AR experiences can provide customers with product demonstrations, discounts, or additional product information directly from printed ads.

By creating interactive print printers have the potential to breathe new life into the printed page by blending the benefits of traditional print with the interactivity and richness of digital media.

Skip: Roger, thank you for your time and insights. For those that would like to learn more about Gimbel & Associates you can visit their website at: as it contains a wealth of information that I am sure you will find helpful. Roger will also be at the 2023 Xplor CCM Summit, November 14-16th in Orlando. Stop by and say hello.

What Do Messagepoint and AI Have In Common?

A discussion with Atif Khan, VP AI & Data Science at Messagepoint
Interviewed by Skip Henk, EDP, President and CEO of Xplor International

I recently read an article generated by ChatGPT on “The Future of CCM.” The article referenced various technologies and processes including Omni-Channel communications, hyper-personalization, Natural Language Processing while stressing that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a pivotal role in the future of CCM.

I recalled a press release recently from Messagepoint which spoke about MARCIE (their AI-powered content Intelligence engine) and harnessing the power of ChatGPT and GPT-4 and decided it was a good time to for me to learn more.

Skip: For our readers who may not be familiar with Messagepoint, please give us your elevator pitch.

Atif: Messagepoint is a pioneer in the CCM space, providing an intelligent content hub. Distinguished from other competitors, it has a unique content-centric approach that allows for customization and precise delivery of messages across various channels, including print, web, mobile, and email. Messagepoint has also revolutionized the field by heavily investing in AI, introducing its award-winning platform, MARCIE, which uses the latest Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning, and Large Language Models (LLMs) to enhance content quality and efficacy. As a result, businesses can reuse content, create highly personalized communications, and enhance their engagement with their customers. It’s a comprehensive solution designed to optimize your communication strategies in the most efficient way possible.

Skip: There has been a lot of buzz around ChatGPT, Google Bard and other AI text generators this year. Messagepoint recently announced its own integration with ChatGPT and GPT-4. Can you describe how you have incorporated these tools into your customer communication management solution?

Atif: Messagepoint has fully embraced the capabilities of AI text generators like ChatGPT and GPT-4 through MARCIE. These integrations enable the enhancement of the company’s Customer Communication Management (CCM) solutions, particularly in terms of creating and editing content.

The integration of these LLMs completes the AI Assisted Authoring feature of Messagepoint. The LLMs provide real-time feedback to content authors about the quality and usefulness of their messaging content. They offer rewrites to make the content more impactful, ensuring it’s easy to read, upholding the appropriate sentiment and presentation of a message, and maintaining consistency with corporate branding.

MARCIE leverages these AI text generators with robust, problem-specific prompt creation to ensure the consistency of AI-generated content and its alignment with the user’s desired outcome. This prompt engineering is context-aware, use case-focused, and adaptive to the task, properly handling CCM artifacts such as variables, dates, URLs, addresses, and telephone numbers.

All these features are contextualized within the existing workflows and activities of the Messagepoint platform. The integration provides a simple and natural user experience that minimizes effort while maximizing results, ensuring that the best answer is achieved for the given task.

Skip: What are the benefits of using a solution like ChatGPT integrated with a solution like Messagepoint vs on its own, outside of a CCM solution?

Atif: Using a solution like ChatGPT integrated with a platform like Messagepoint brings several benefits, particularly when compared to using ChatGPT or any other large language model on its own.

  • Contextual Understanding: Messagepoint’s MARCIE platform, combined with ChatGPT, allows the language model to operate within the specific context of your business and communication needs. MARCIE’s prompt engineering ensures the AI is context-aware and considers key concepts (like variables, dates, URLs, addresses, telephone numbers etc.) during the rewrite process.
  • Content Optimization: The integration provides real-time feedback on the quality and utility of the content. It offers suggestions to improve readability, sentiment, message presentation, and alignment with corporate branding, enhancing the overall impact of the content.
  • Simplicity and Efficiency: By incorporating ChatGPT within Messagepoint, users can manage all aspects of their customer communications within a single, streamlined platform. This integration fits seamlessly into existing workflows, making the process simpler and more efficient.
  • Specialization for CCM: MARCIE’s tailored prompts are heavily specialized for Customer Communication Management use cases, ensuring optimal results for specific tasks. This specialization would be extremely hard to reproduce when using a standalone AI language model.
  • Improved User Experience & Interaction: Messagepoint’s modular approach to content management makes accessing and applying AI-generated content suggestions extremely user-friendly. The process of requesting a suggested rewrite and applying it involves just two clicks.

Overall, integrating ChatGPT within Messagepoint’s CCM solution enhances the user’s ability to create and deliver high-quality, personalized content, offering a more holistic, targeted, and effective communication management system.

Skip: How do you see AI impacting customer communications in the future?

Atif: The impact of AI on customer communications is anticipated to be substantial and transformative. Here are a few ways we foresee AI reshaping the landscape of customer communications:

  • Enhanced Personalization: AI, specifically Large Language Models (LLMs) and image generation models, can drive deeper personalization in customer communications. By understanding content and customer profiles, AI can help craft highly tailored messages and visuals that resonate on an individual level, improving customer engagement and response rates.
  • Improved Content Quality: AI can generate and enhance content, ensuring it is readable, impactful, and aligns with the desired sentiment and corporate branding. It can offer real-time feedback and suggest improvements, enabling the creation of higher-quality content that effectively communicates the intended message.
  • Holistic Smart Search: AI can improve the ability to find and retrieve information through semantic search capabilities. By understanding the context and meaning of search queries, AI can return more relevant and precise results, streamlining content management processes.
  • Intelligent Classification and Clustering: AI can categorize and group content based on various factors, including topic, sentiment, or customer segment. This can lead to more effective content organization, easier retrieval, and the development of targeted communication strategies.
  • Automated Image Generation: AI can generate custom images or variations of existing images based on described constraints. This capability can ensure visual consistency in messaging and branding, and allow for more personalized and impactful visual content.
  • Real-time Adaptability: With AI’s ability to analyze data in real time, customer communications can be dynamically adapted based on changing customer behavior, market trends, or business needs, making communications more relevant and timely.


Skip: That is certainly impressive. Do you have any closing thoughts?

Atif: In the future, we expect AI to become an integral part of customer communication management, significantly improving content quality, personalization, and overall effectiveness of communication strategies. With platforms like Messagepoint investing early in AI and LLM technology, they are paving the way for these future developments in the field.

Skip: Atif, I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me and share your thoughts and vision on the impact of AI on CCM. For anyone that has any questions for Mr. Khan or would like more information on MARCIE or Messagepoint please contact: or visit

Until next interview! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International


About Messagepoint: Messagepoint is a leading provider of customer communications management software.  Only Messagepoint harnesses AI-powered Content Intelligence to automate and simplify the process of migrating, optimizing, authoring and managing complex customer communications for non-technical (business) users. Our customers rely on our award-winning platform to consistently deliver exceptional, highly personalized customer communications across all platforms and channels. For more information, visit

AI is an enabler of Customer Communications Transformation and Modernization

This is part 2 of an interview with Steve Biancaniello, CEO of Messagepoint; read Part 1 here!

Artificial Intelligence has become a growing component of Customer Communications and the overall experience. Software vendors have started to integrate into their software offerings with some companies further along than others.

Messagepoint has taken a leadership role and has put AI front and center in their offerings, so I wanted to touch base with them and get their thoughts on the subject. What is AI, the value proposition, what should organizations be thinking about, and what recommendations our friends at Messagepoint have.

Steve Biancaniello, CEO of Messagepoint was kind enough to take the time to share some additional thoughts for this, part two of a two-part interview. Part one is available here

Skip: Some vendors are looking at applying AI to transformation initiatives. What have you seen in the market relating to modernization and transformation?

Steve: I think COVID-19 has kicked a lot of digitalization initiatives into high gear – the need to be digital but also do so in a way that customers demand. We are hearing from both direct customers and partners that organizations are looking to transform and modernize customer communications processes and systems. This has been a big challenge in our industry – it’s perceived as a risky venture requiring too much time, effort and money to tackle content silos and justify the ‘transformation’, and as a result, lots of companies are stuck in molasses. I liken it to having a “Communications debt” – because you didn’t invest in modernizing in increments along the way, you are left behind and it becomes this very large program that is daunting or perceived as too hard to do.

AI is helping to change that by enabling people to realize they have options here whether they want to optimize the content they have in their current system, optimize the content and migrate to a new system, or take action in whole or in parts based on a deeper awareness of the state of their content.

Skip: How can AI assist with transformation and modernization initiatives?

Steve: The biggest barrier that exists today is the traditional approach to content migration. The average enterprise migration takes 3 years and costs millions. These are averages from services organizations that are using scripts to assist with parts of the process, regardless of that help – it is costly and slow and prone to errors that come with manual processes. It often relies heavily on tribal knowledge and a shrinking pool of SMEs who understand the nuisances associated with the legacy content and platforms that house this content.

The story is the same whether you’re doing it yourself or leveraging a professional services firm – the process is highly manual and resource-intensive. No one will invest that time, or money to make the

transition, which is why these projects often get cancelled or pared down to a lift and shift. The problem is that optimization gets left behind and content that gets brought over is often riddled with problems – duplicates, variations of similar content, off-brand content, outdated regulatory content, content this is difficult to read and understand – essentially all the problems that were buried in the legacy system hampered by years of ineffective content management and sharing. For years people stalled these migration and transformation efforts because the technical debt was too steep to pay – Now AI makes it possible to address this technical debt and position organizations to be more much more intelligent and agile when curating content to improve customer experiences

We have introduced Rationalizer which leverages the Messagepoint Advanced Rationalization and Content Intelligence Engine, known as MARCIE. This engine automates and improves key processes relating to content migration to make the entire process fast, as AI accelerates the content management processes – such as automating ingestion, content comparisons, and analysis. It also makes it accurate – no more human error, similar content objects overlooked. It also makes content processing repeatable at scale to enable enterprise-scale migration and instantaneous help for content authors, no matter the size of the team. Lastly, it lowers risk, as it democratizes knowledge, so you aren’t relying on one central figure to continue on.

Skip: What does AI do specifically to change the process?

Steve: In the case of Rationalizer, it breaks the process down into 5 key steps.

First off is intelligent ingestion of content from Word, PDF, HTML, print streams, and CCM solutions. It ingests the content, breaks it apart into its pieces, and tags those pieces. Secondly is discovery, which reveals key findings about your content such as duplicate content, similar content, brand violations, reading level violations, and sentiment issues. Third, with a single click, you can consolidate duplicate or similar content objects. Fourth, optimization within the system revels opportunities to correct those issues relating to brand, reading levels, and sentiment. Finally, you can migrate to your modern communications management system.

Rationalizer, leveraging MARCIE drives significant benefits of substantial time and cost savings, increased accuracy, the ability to scale these content migration and transformation programs and the democratization of expert knowledge to reduce the risk of the move and position for more intelligent, agile content authoring experiences going forward.

Skip: What recommendations do you have for someone thinking of embarking on this type of transformational journey?

Steve: You need to set clearly defined goals and outcomes for your business. Is this just about technology modernization or do you want to improve the customer experience? That will determine what technologies and partners you select.

You also need to get the various stakeholders together early and on the same page early. If you are focused on the same goals and believe this type of transformation is tenable with AI-powered solutions, then you will get ‘unstuck’ together.

Don’t settle for a manual approach that will cost you unnecessary time and money. Some vendors are focused on leveraging offshore resources because that is their only option. AI tools exist today that can

have a dramatic impact on the process and the outcomes. Don’t think of optimization as a one-time event, as it’s ongoing. Look for a solution that will optimize your content and keep things optimized over time.

Finally, respect the pivotal role of content curators – look for solutions that offer intuitive, intelligent, instantaneous content authoring assistance while preserving the curators’ right to have it their way as needed.

Skip: Thank you once again, Steve any closing thoughts?

Steve: You are welcome and of course if anyone has any questions and/or would like more information they can feel free to visit or email us at or call us at 800-492-4103.

About Messagepoint
Messagepoint is a leading provider of customer communications management software. Only Messagepoint harnesses AI-powered Content Intelligence to automate and simplify the process of migrating, optimizing, authoring, and managing complex customer communications for non-technical (business) users. Our customers rely on our award-winning platform to consistently deliver exceptional, highly personalized customer communications across all platforms and channels. For more information, visit

PODCAST: #XPLOR20 Goes Virtual with Skip Henk, President/CEO

I had the pleasure of chatting with an old friend, Deborah Corn as we discussed an overview of this year’s virtual event, and how Xplor looked at industry and market trends to develop all of the #XPLOR20 tracks and sessions to keep the Customer Communications community moving forward. Check it out!

Until next interview! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

An Interview with Kaspar Roos of Aspire CCS

By: Skip Henk, President/CEO of Xplor International

I have known Kaspar for almost a decade and he is the consummate professional. His enthusiasm and dedication to the industry have made him a recognized expert, consultant, and thought-leader in the Customer Communications Management (CCM) industry.

After leaving InfoTrends’, where he lead the global production workflow and customer communications advisory service, Kaspar founded Aspire, specializing in the CCM and Digital Customer Experience (DCX) industries.

Aspire is working on a new study that deals with “How to be successful with digital and omni-channel services at this time of deep disruption”, so I wanted to speak with him about the study and what to expect.

Skip: Kaspar, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I am intrigued by your new study. Tell me a little about it and what can recipients expect to learn from it?

Kaspar: Obviously, the industry has been on a track toward digitization for two decades now. We’ve seen postal volumes plunge precipitously in Europe and North America since the turn of the last century.

Alongside the march toward digital, the other obvious trend is the shift in the balance of power in the B2C communications market in favor of the consumer. Customer experience has become such an important metric that improving it and perfecting omni-channel messaging have become the top communications priorities for businesses worldwide.

So, with that in mind, when we conceived this research study very early in the year, we were committed to surveying consumers and businesses in the US and Canada to find out what “next gen” use cases and applications were gaining traction in the real world so that service providers could invest accordingly. Of course, in the weeks since its inception, the multi-client has taken on even more pressing relevance than we could have predicted.

Skip: I assume you are speaking about COVID-19?

Kaspar: Yes, North America has only been in COVID-19 “lockdown” for three or four weeks — Europe for a bit longer — but the digital reality has arrived. Changes that seemed unthinkable have found fast roots. Schools and universities have closed and set up for remote learning. Doctors are conducting tele-appointments. WebEx stocks are soaring as businesses use them for virtual meetings and grandparents in quarantine use them to connect with grandchildren they can’t visit. Anyone would have thought those kind of changes would have taken months, if not years, to set up, but the threat of a global pandemic pushed up the timetable to just a few days. What we’ve witnessed is a significant acceleration of the digital evolution.

It reminds me of the Canadian postal strike that sped up digital adoption and dealt postal volumes a blow from which they’ve never recovered. This event is magnitudes larger and more impactful. Whether social distancing measures last for three months or eighteen, these new ways of interacting are changing the model and altering the ecosystem. This research will help us quantify those changes so we can help providers understand what that means for their business and operating models.

Skip: What’s your timeline for this research? Will it be affected by any economic downturn?

Kaspar: We’re planning to field throughout most of the month of May, so we’re asking for early bird subscriptions before Friday, April 24. Participants signing up before that date will have the opportunity to review a draft of the survey questionnaire and offer feedback before it goes live. After the results have been analyzed, we will deliver a written report of the findings in June and schedule remote briefings with every subscriber thereafter.

We know that the economic uncertainty has people scrambling, but surveys take time to develop and field, and these questions need to be asked, now more than ever. No matter what the economic outlook, communications will continue — they will just be communications in a new reality and on a different mix of channels and through emerging applications and use cases. Business users will need to own communications and manage them from wherever they’re working. Providers will also be facing new competition. Traditional players will need to evolve because digital agencies, business consultancies, solutions integrators and software vendors will all be pursuing the omnichannel opportunity.

What will they all need to do to be successful in the new paradigm? It’s an important question. It’s THE question. That’s why we’re moving now. We have to capture this data while it is most relevant.

Skip: So, what will this study entail?

Kaspar: We’re taking a two-step approach to help service providers transform for digital success. First, will gather the latest market intelligence by surveying 2,000 consumers and 300 businesses in the US and Canada. We want to know what experiences consumers value and what challenges businesses are facing in delivering them. What are these businesses’ investment plans and what do they need from providers? Second, based on these findings and how they rate on the scale of digital maturity, we’ll help subscribers navigate their way to success in this new paradigm by providing input on business planning and strategy so they can align people, process, and technology to create competitive value and differentiate themselves in the market.

Skip: Kaspar, thank you for your time an insight. I look forward to seeing the finished product. Any closing thoughts?

Kaspar: Thank you for the opportunity. If people are interested in subscribing, have questions, or would like additional information please reach out to Paul Abdool ( or Will Morgan (

Aspire Customer Communications Services
The Junction
Station Road
WD17 1ET
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1923 605 526

About Kaspar Roos: Kaspar is a leading expert, consultant, and recognized thought-leader in the Customer Communications Management (CCM) industry. He is the CEO and founder of Aspire, a boutique consulting firm specializing in the CCM and Digital Customer Experience (DCX) industries. Kaspar has more than 15 years of experience in the CCM space and is a regular speaker at industry conferences and events. He has worked with every leading CCM technology vendor and many leading service providers to help them with strategy and business development.

In June 2018 Kaspar spearheaded the launch of The Aspire Leaderboard, the industry’s first interactive CCM vendor positioning portal. Designed to take the complexity out of CCM decision-making, the Leaderboard features independent vendor evaluations, supported by dynamic filtering capabilities, alongside the latest CCM news, insight and events.

Prior to establishing Aspire, Kaspar was responsible for running InfoTrends’ global production workflow and customer communications advisory service. Here he provided market research, insights and strategic consulting services that helped leading technology vendors and service providers understand the shifts in the customer communications and workflow markets.

Kaspar received a Masters of Science (MSC) degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from the University of Twente (Netherlands), with specializations in information systems and business-to-business marketing.

How can my company leverage industry certification?

Scott Draeger, Vice President of Customer Transformation at Quadient has been a huge proponent of industry certification, he himself a designated Master Electronic Document Professional (M-EDP). Over the last several years, Quadient has invested both time and financial resources promoting industry certification within the company.

I wanted to circle back with Scott to get his thoughts on the impact within his organization and whether he feels the investment has paid dividends.

Skip: Scott, thank you for taking the time to speak about industry certification

Scott: I can always find time to speak about industry certification, because it is most important when an industry is changing. Our industry is changing rapidly, so industry certification helps companies like Quadient prove to the market that we are up to date in our knowledge.

Skip: Quadient places a great deal of value on industry certification. Quadient now has 188 designated or certified professionals. What percentage of total employees is that? Why is industry certification important to you and Quadient?

Scott: Over 20% of Quadient’s staff has an official Designation from Xplor. I believe that makes us the most certified software vendor in the industry in both volume and percentage. But, the location of the certifications also matters. Our services team in the Americas is 100% certified, which means they bring context, knowledge and passion to all of their projects.

Skip: Can you tell me a little bit about the EDP certification program?

Scott: The EDP program is about your passion and reflecting on your place within the customer communication and document industry. This is a differentiated industry certification, because it takes review of your work by your peers to earn the EDP or M-EDP designation. It is harder to earn than a purely test-based certificate, because it requires written samples that show the application of practical knowledge to real-world document projects.

Skip: What value does it present to your customers and prospects?

Scott: When we discuss implementations with our customers and prospects, we proudly feature our team’s participation in the EDP program to show that we understand context. The EDP matrix considers “Document Production Journey” and “Document Application Development Lifecycle” and values diversity of experience with technology and business needs. This means that our customers and prospects are assured that we understand the tools, technology and context of their communication projects.

Some people may not know just how much effort Xplor puts into keeping the EDP certification relevant. The matrix has been updated by a very active committee to add mobile and web channels, as well as analytics. There are more opportunities to reward skills in business acumen and knowledge sharing. The certification committee makes sure this is a current reflection on the skills and technologies needed, and the reviewers are open to learning about new technology in the submissions.

Skip: You include certification statistics in your proposals. What impact does it have? How does it differentiate Quadient from your competitors?

Scott: This is an interesting question. One of the common responses is, “what is an EDP?” We love that one, because it lets us talk about how the EDP program is a way for us to ensure development of our people. It differentiates us from competitors because it shows that we have awareness of how we can best use new approaches to solve business problems of communication. We list this in our RFP responses and proudly present this to any customers and prospects.

Skip: What has been the reaction/feedback from your employees?

Scott: My coworkers at Quadient seem to value the program. I have personally been the mentor for about eight of them in the past four years. Every year, we have a kickoff presentation to explain the program, and we usually get 50-100 people on that first call. Of course, it’s been running for four years, so we are getting the new people into the EDA program as soon as possible. The first crop of EDAs are starting to consider their EDP next year.

Skip: In closing, what message do you have for individuals and company’s regarding industry certification?

Scott: At the rate business and technology change, it is important to pursue certification for a few reasons. First, earning a certification shows your peers and managers that you are serious about the industry. Second, the process of pursuing a certification reminds you that you don’t, in fact know everything. This does wonderful things to expand your thinking, at a minor cost to your pride. Lastly, earning a certification is a potential differentiator in a job market that is rapidly changing in terms of both business models and technology. I recently earned a CCXP (Certified Customer Experience Professional) certificate from CXPA (Customer Experience Professionals Association) to augment my M-EDP to show that I have made progress in studying the CX literature.

Skip: Scott, once again, thank you for taking the time and congratulations on your success. Anyone interested in obtaining additional information about the EDP certification program can visit or call Xplor International at 813-949-6170.

Scott: Anytime, Skip! I recommend the program to anyone in the document and customer communication industry, because it will change your perspective. The EDP program is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on your abilities and experiences. I believe this frame of mind is essential for long term career success, because it gives you a chance to see what areas you can grow into as you steer your career. Also, it can get you a chance to shake Skip’s hand on stage at Xplor 2020!

Until next time! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

The Datalogics Motto – Where Experience Delivers

Xplor President/CEO Skip Henk Interviews Matt Kuznicki, CTO of Datalogics

Datalogics is relatively new to the Xplor world, exhibiting for the first time at Xploration 17 earlier this year. That said, I reached out to Datalogics’ Chief Technology Officer, Matt Kuznicki, and asked him to introduce himself and Datalogics to the Xplor community.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Datalogics considers themselves the premier source for PDF and eBook technologies in the industry. I won’t go into more detail than that as Matt gives us a great overview below. However, I do want to introduce you and tell you a little about Matt himself.

Matt Kuznicki is responsible for product development and engineering. He serves as a recognized expert in document applications, eBooks, electronic documents and the PDF file format. Matt is also a member of the board and Chairman of the PDF Association, as well as the US Technical Advisory Group on document management applications (ISO/TC 171 SC 2), and active in the PDF standards and technical communities.

Skip: Tell us a little bit about the company itself and a bit about its history?

Matt:  Datalogics, Inc. is based in the great city of Chicago, and we are proud to be able to say that we have recently celebrated our 50th year in business. We consider ourselves the premier source for PDF and eBook technologies. We were founded in 1967 and started as a small independent software firm, in the era of reel tapes and punch cards. We’ve come a long way from those days, and now leverage tools like Agile and GitHub to keep up-to-date with new ideas in the IT community. Our primary goal when we first started, which still rings true today, has been to surpass our customer expectations by providing them with innovative features and new product updates to meet their needs.

Datalogics offers solutions that include a wide range of powerful PDF and eBook technologies for .NET, Java, and C/C++ developers. We are a partner member of the PDF Association and I have the honor of being chairman of the PDF Association. Datalogics is also a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Readium Foundation.

Skip: Give us some history and context about why PDF has been and continues to be so widely accepted and used as a standard document format?

Matt: PDF has continued to be an ISO standard-driven document format; the PDF format provides consistent interoperability for users, facilitating the creation of portable documents and ensuring reliable interchange. Furthermore, regulated industries continue to require and utilize specialized versions of PDF such as PDF/A (archive) or PDF/X (graphics/print).

As further validation that PDFs continue to be a widely-used document format, based on a PDF Association Technical Conference presentation as of October 2015, there were about 1.6 billion PDF documents on the web, 60% of non-image attachments in Outlook Exchange Enterprise were PDF documents, and conservatively there might be 2.5 trillion or higher PDF documents created each year.

Skip: Where is PDF headed next, and how will it continue to be relevant?

Matt: Since one of PDF’s strengths is its focus on longevity – the ability to use PDF files far out into the future – I believe it’s a good thing that PDF doesn’t undergo drastic change very often. While it’s tempting to focus on new technologies, often times users and adopters of unproven document technologies can find themselves stranded when the hype cycle dies down and they are left with large investments in formats that fail to gain traction. With PDF, there is a broad ecosystem of tools and workflows that ensures the vitality of PDF for the decades to come.

PDF 2.0 is an exciting development that represents an evolution of PDF, one that preserves compatibility with earlier versions of PDF as much as possible. We anticipate that PDF 2.0 will be used first in closed-loop workflows, as end users gradually adopt PDF 2.0-compatible viewers. While many of today’s PDF viewers can view most PDF 2.0 files, new features of PDF 2.0 will take some time to be adopted. We expect that there will be a transition over the next several years, if not longer, as document creators gradually add support for PDF 2.0 creation to their software.

In fact, Datalogics is happy to announce our donation of an initial set of example PDF 2.0 files to the PDF Association. We are proud to help the PDF Association in their mission of providing technical resources and education to PDF practitioners. These PDFs are specially constructed to be readable even to those who aren’t yet PDF experts, and are based in part on PDFs Datalogics has built for our own in-house educational programs.

Skip: What are some key things you should consider when choosing/evaluating a partner/vendor for PDF technology solutions?

Matt: A PDF solutions provider/vendor should be active in the PDF community and be advocates for their users in the broader community by helping to move PDF forward. This ensures that PDF continues to address and solve new business problems while making sure that the needs of current users are also not ignored. PDF vendors should also enable users to solve their problems effectively by providing intuitive, simple and implementable solutions for both common and complex problems, while still adhering to the PDF standards specification.

All these points mentioned above are hallmarks of Datalogics’ strengths. We provide PDF technologies and document solutions to a wide range of industries and businesses and offer unparalleled support and expertise. We have dedicated Technical Support Engineers who are available to our customers and prospects during the evaluation process. We also offer many other resources such as our knowledgebase, customer portal, blog, technical service bulletins, and our development site which include documentation, code samples and release notes. We are also active participants in the various developer communities including Stack Overflow where we have the “Adobe-PDF-Library” and “PDF-Java-Toolkit” tags to help facilitate knowledge sharing.

Skip: Matt, I thank you for taking the time to share with our readers more about Datalogics and your thoughts on PDF. Any closing thoughts?

Matt: Just want to thank everyone for taking the time and be sure to check out our website at Perhaps we can do business together in the future with some of you!

Skip: Once again, thank you for your time and for your ongoing support of Xplor International.

I want to go ahead and plug Datalogics as well as our upcoming show by saying I hope all our readers will check out the Datalogics booth at Xploration 18! The show will take place April 17-19, 2018 in Orlando at the Rosen Plaza. Datalogics will be in booth 9. Stop by and say hello, their team will take great care of you!

Until next time! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

How the EDP Certification (and the M-EDP Designation) can Help you Personally and Professionally

An Interview with Paul Abdool, M-EDP, Student Advocate and Student for Life
By: Skip Henk, EDP – CEO of Xplor International

I had a conversation with Paul recently who shared an interesting story regarding his EDP designation that I asked if he would share with everyone. A story that shows professional certification not only benefits companies and your resume, but can help you even on a personal level.

Paul is currently Vice President of Sales at Doxim and has been a part of the Xplor community for many years. Based out of Toronto, Paul began his participation as a local Canadian region board member and joined the Xplor International board a short time later. Eventually, Paul became the Chairman of the Board for a couple of terms and now once again sits on the Canadian region board.

He was the driving force behind Ryerson University becoming Xplor’s first Student Chapter. Paul has been to numerous Xplor events, both in Canada and the U.S., attained his EDP in 2004, and topped it all off with his Master EDP (M-EDP) in 2014.

Skip: Paul, thank you for taking the time today. Paul, I know you are very passionate about the EDP Program and are very proud of your M-EDP designation.

Paul: I certainly am as I can always be seen at industry events wearing my EDP pin!

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

Paul: I received my EDP in 2004 and my M-EDP in 2014.  I was encouraged by a few Xplorers that I really respected.  For the fun of it, I had a side bet with someone in 2003 that I would finish it by 2004.  I won!  In many ways!

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

Paul: As a young Xplorer at the time, it elevated my credibility prior to getting grey hair.  Those who knew about the EDP Certification instantly had positive thoughts about my knowledge.  When I explained it to others and they saw my EDP pin, they understood that my knowledge about our industry was well-rounded.

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

Paul: Yes, but it is hard to separate the EDP certification from Xplor.  The association’s educational forums that comes prior to earning an EDP probably outweighs the EDP certification, however, the process of acquiring the EDP and the possession of it, has been very positive for my career as well.

Skip: Share the story that you mentioned in our previous conversation?

Paul: To earn my M-EDP, I contributed 2 chapters to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge (EDBOK) and was on the committee to finish the book and get it out.  I was very proud of that work and the best part was being a published author.  This was key to getting a work visa in the USA when I switched jobs to a company that did not have employees in Canada.  One of the criteria that they look for is being published which my M-EDP fulfilled.

Skip: Who do you think should attain their certification?

Paul: I believe that young people in our association and people looking to advance their careers should get it.  The EDA which is the stepping stone to the EDP is great but all of those EDA holders should finish the journey and get that EDP.

Skip: Thank you very much Paul for taking the time. I look forward to seeing you at Print 17 in Chicago at the keynote breakfast panel!

If anyone has any additional questions regarding the EDP Certification program, please visit and take a look around.

Until next time! Take care.



Skip Henk, EDP
Xplor International

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, EDP
Xplor International