Clients love Expresso™ for its composition capabilities, but at the end of the day, it all starts with data.
That’s why we built a data import engine in our Expresso customer communications management (CCM) platform that accepts multiple data formats and streams data into automated workflows.
Whatever you produce from a file standpoint, once it hits Expresso, you can create a communication and edit the content in minutes.
Expresso stores data, content and customized business rules separately, then calls on certain fields to populate the zones in your documents. You can repurpose across print, digital email, text or all of the above using the same file, content and business rules.
Equally important, Expresso’s patented data import engine has safeguards to prevent common errors, highlighted below. At the same time, adopting some do’s and don’ts for data file transfer and layout can make your processes faster and cleaner and help our CCM platform do more for you.
Avoid file format failings
Each Expresso file can hold hundreds of data fields for each consumer. Not just name and address, but purchase and payment history, outstanding billing, and for health care consumers, medical procedures and provider interactions. Many companies rely on a mix of computer systems and databases to house elements of that consumer data file, leaving some data in incompatible formats.
Settle on any one modern file format – XML or CSV comma-delimited, for example. XML is becoming predominant among our clients. Its plain text and tags format make storing, reading and moving data very efficient for internal and external processes, including data warehouse applications.
Expresso ingests data from multiple source systems through its import engine, allowing Nordis to create custom data integration for each client. This isn’t merging documents or merging fields. We create an engine and contained workflow that lets you develop, review and edit a customer communication in real time, prior to full production.
Often, within minutes of dropping a file with tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of records on our secure FTP site for processing, the print output is ready to go.
Prevent inconsistent file layouts
When we build a data import engine, we agree on a file layout and validation rules with clients. This helps ensure that the correct information is being communicated to their customers. Clients sometimes drop a file for processing that doesn’t match the file layout or contains data that doesn’t validate. Expresso has gates and controls in place to stop processing when that happens.
Hardware failures from improper shutdown or an offline episode are common causes of file layout problems. So is user error.
Expresso recognizes when something’s not right in a file layout. Our client success team investigates and communicates the issue and the fix. If we see you’ve added a column of information to the file, we’ll ask if it needs to be incorporated into the document. When errors do happen, providing feedback on specific instances to team members can help prevent future errors.
Avert file interlopers
Accounts payable information is a common extract used by multiple areas within an organization. At one of our clients, an AP integration into a different computer system occurred and unbeknownst to the billing team, an additional reference number was added to support another department’s process. Expresso caught the anomaly and stopped the presses, so to speak.
Data may change unexpectedly due to multiple systems, siloed departments, and lack of communication across business functions. Review and amend processes to include cross-departmental communication touchpoints and be certain all contributors, not just new ones, “get the memo.” This holds true when you or a team member inserts a new field or adds something to the file. Inform the whole team and your Nordis Client Success team, too.
You can produce a letter or bill for six weeks or six months and then decide to add another column of data. If it’s a change you want to make, we’ll adjust the data import engine so it doesn’t view the change as an error. Regardless of how things were set up at the start, we’ll help with any updates.
Leveraging data for new opportunities and efficiencies
Increase your communications efficiency and effectiveness by adding a country field to your mailing address fields in your input file layout, fields for cell phone and email, and delivery preference such as text, email or mail. Then you can start communicating based on consumer preferences while encouraging less expensive digital adoption.
Data collection and management are critical capabilities for any CCM platform, according to research firm Madison Advisors. Expresso and your Nordis team have you covered, and these best practices can ensure your internal processes are covered as well.
For more information, contact us today!