C-C-M. Anyone know what that stands for? Perform a simple Google search and you might retrieve a few pages for the College Conservatory of Music. No, not even close. How about Convergent Capital Management? Sounds interesting enough, but still not right. CCM Hockey? Awesome, but wrong again. Give up? OK, it’s Customer Communications Management.
Let me give a brief introduction: Customer Communications Management is the specific solution that we work with and our major customer has eight large print facilities across the US. They focus on variable printing, print on demand, kitting, fulfillment and eDelivery within the markets of financial services, insurance, telecommunications and business services.
Our IT challenge is that they are running on several different mainframe platforms, a problem consistent across companies that have gone through several acquisitions and mergers. IT leadership decided they wanted to be on a single platform across all of their facilities. They chose a combination of open systems and best of breed packaged application as the future CCM technology platform and Saggezza was selected to be the partner to help them with the conversion. The CCM technology platform consists of a combination of proprietary tools built on C++ code, HP Exstream (a composition and content management tool) and Perl. The basic high-level workflow includes:
- Customer sends a data file with information that is used to create files for print and/or eDelivery.
- The Print file is printed on a production floor and eDelivery files are sent to system where a customer can view them.
- Printed records are combined with inserts and inserted into envelopes.
- Mail pieces are loaded to USPS trucks for delivery.
An application is defined as a product for a particular customer (i.e. ABC Bank has an Escrow statement, a mortgage bill and a late notice – these are three examples of applications). What is a conversion? Our conversion process entails re-writing business logic that exists in one system (Mainframe) to another system (modern CCM platform). We gather requirements and output samples from the client as well as perform reverse engineering of the mainframe code to pull business rules (also known as business rules mining). These processes are all used to create the requirements and high level design documents. Once a sign off from the customer is received, a walkthrough of the requirements are given to the testing and development teams. Testing consists of making sure all the content displays on the page correctly per the requirements, as well as physical printing on the production floor to ensure that the alignments of not just the text, but the manufacturing controls (piece level verification barcodes, inserting barcodes, quality records) are in the proper places so the equipment can read it. Once the testing is complete, the output of both the Mainframe and open systems is sent to the client’s customer for a review. After the customer signs off, meetings are set up between our team and the client to review the application requirements and ensure that nothing was missed. Once approval from the client is received we push our code to production and the application is officially converted! The process of converting an application can be described in 208 words but actual duration to go through the entire lifecycle varies depending on complexity.
In addition to converting applications, we have another work stream for supporting the applications that have been converted. The Maintenance & Support team is an integral part of the program. The members of the team are knowledgeable across a variety of different types of applications and are instrumental in ensuring that day-to-day processing occurs as it should. Each CCM Facility has project managers that hold the relationship with our client’s customers. When enhancements are requested from their customers, the facility project managers communicate them to our Maintenance & Support team to provide estimates and (if approved) perform the work. The support team also assists in overcoming production issues and outages to ensure the applications are processing files as they should.