What is OpenText Exstream? A Comprehensive Guide for Organizations

Smart companies understand that their customers are changing, and therefore, their customer communications strategies and tactics need to change as well. The clever ones create and send contextually-driven, personalized communications to their customers in the right format and at the right time, often with the help of OpenText Exstream. That’s how they fulfill their customers’ needs, and deliver remarkable customer experiences that enhance loyalty and improve customer retention. This then gives them the edge they need to stay ahead of their competitors. Smart companies invest in Customer Communications Management (CCM) because they know that it’s the key to happier, more engaged customers and a more robust, financially healthy organization.

Why CCM?

In a Microsoft survey, over 65% of customers said that they want organizations to reach out with proactive customer notifications.

In a Salesforce survey:

· 84% of customers say that experiences are as important to them as products and services.

· 73% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, but only 51% agree that companies succeed at this goal.

· 78% of customers assume there will be consistent interactions across departments.

Needless to say, customer engagement and customer experiences are crucial in today’s business climate. And CCM is a powerful approach to achieve both these goals.

One of the best ways to leverage the power of CCM for better engagement and improved experiences is with OpenText™ Exstream™. This innovative omnichannel customer communications platform is designed for the modern, customer-savvy organization. With OpenText Exstream, companies can create connected customer journeys and have meaningful conversations through customers’ preferred channels such as email, web, mobile and chat. OpenText Exstream gives them the tools they need to seamlessly manage their customer communications in ways that transform their perceptions, keep them engaged and help build meaningful, long-term relationships with them.

So, what is OpenText Exstream?

What are some of its key features?

What are its benefits?

And how can WayPath help organizations derive the most value from OpenText Exstream?

In this comprehensive guide to OpenText Exstream, we will cover all these frequently-asked questions.

The Need for CCM Software

In the digital age, savvy customers demand relevant and consistent content, experiences and branding across all channels. These factors drive their experiences toward an organization and the quality of these experiences can predict whether they will return or defect to a competitor. That’s why it’s crucial for organizations to move away from traditional, one-way, ‘transactional’ communications to more engaging, omni-channel, two-way conversations with their customers.

The right kind of communications–clear, concise, accurate and relevant–delivered across the channels preferred by customers can turn into a key competitive differentiator. But this requires synchronizing the right data and business processes–especially those that intersect with customer touchpoints–with CCM software.

What is OpenText Exstream: A Brief Intro

OpenText Exstream leverages enterprise data in whatever file sources, formats and systems it exists in, and transforms it into relevant and insightful customer communications. This enterprise CCM platform combines a high-productive engine and interactive editing capabilities with an event-driven transactional processing model and out-of-the box integration flexibility. These capabilities help create optimized communications that increase profitability, improve customer experiences and even mitigate compliance risk. Communications can be seamlessly delivered on the preferred digital and print channels, screen sizes and devices of the customer.

Most organizations during the course of normal business operations generate a wide variety of critical documents and content every day. Whether these documents and content are meant for communicating with customers, triggering customer service processes, or facilitating billing, payments and collections, they keep transactions flowing and the business rolling. In many companies, multiple systems are used to produce and deliver these communications. Often these systems operate in ‘silos’ where one doesn’t know what the other is doing. This results in effort duplication and inefficient communication processes that fail to engage the customer, much less impress them.

OpenText Exstream empowers organizations to design and deliver highly-targeted, personalized and branded communications across multiple digital and print channels. These include letters, invoices, bills, contracts, proposals, emails, web and more. With its next-generation content creation and editing tools, users can create responsive, mobile-ready content, generate robust interactive charts, better handle PDFs and perform controlled in-context editing. Best of all, they can streamline and automate the creation of such content without depending on IT, which cuts production and go-to-market time and enables them to take proactive action to enhance customer experiences on an ongoing basis.

Suitable for organizations of all sizes and in a wide range of industries, OpenText Exstream is an integrated, omnichannel platform that enables digital transformation through CCM.

Important Features of OpenText Exstream

The most important features of OpenText Exstream include:

i. Content authoring and editing tools

Exstream provides next-generation content creation/editing tools and templates for non-technical business users. Users can easily create, edit and personalize text and graphics in these templates as per business rules. They can also manage this content and use it in multiple communications–without technical knowledge or IT’s involvement.

ii. PDF creation tool

Users can easily create PDF documents with charts, videos, hyperlinks and other rich, multimedia elements. These documents can be made universally accessible and compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standards and the American Disabilities Act.

iii. Mobile-optimized communications

Business users can design, simulate and publish mobile-ready content that renders correctly, regardless of the device or screen size, i.e., mobile, tablet or desktop.

iv. Document repository

An easy-to-access, up-to-date repository with built-in advanced search capabilities enables users to manage the flow of documents, search for files and stay organized.

v. Built-in integrations

OpenText Exstream integrates with other enterprise platforms including ERP and CRM for greater flexibility and easy access to customer information.

vi. Customer engagement analytics

The primary purpose of CCM and Exstream is to improve customer engagement and brand ‘stickiness’. With its in-built intelligent analytics capability, users can get better visibility into communications delivery, tracking and response.

3 Key Components of OpenText Exstream

Offering both on-premise and cloud-based options, OpenText Exstream can easily scale to meet the CCM needs of any department in any enterprise environment.

Three of its key components are:

i. OpenText Exstream Content Author

Despite the noise in today’s digital communications space–or perhaps because of it–content is still king. OpenText Exstream Content Author enables business users to create all kinds of customer communications, including letters, emails, marketing collateral, statements, policies, contracts and more. They can also modify marketing and business templates with text, graphics and rich visual elements to deliver personalized, relevant messages designed to drive customer behaviors in revenue-generating directions.

New features in OpenText Exstream Content Author:

· Email authoring

· Correspondence authoring

· Content repository

· Version tracking

· Built-in templates

· Recents and favorites listings

ii. OpenText Exstream Communications Designer

This browser-based, zero-install designer supports template design and layout creation, so business users can design customized customer communications like emails from scratch. Or they can easily re-purpose existing templates with a simple drag-and-drop interface. Support for HTML5 web content creation plus built-in simulation and preview capabilities enable them to create mobile-optimized communications and test them before sending them out.

Other features and benefits of OpenText Exstream Communications Designer:

· Re-usable components: text, tables and images

· Flexible design functionality

· Reduces package file dependency

· Mobile view editing and simulation

iii. OpenText Exstream Empower Editor

Exstream Empower Editor enables customer-facing staff such as contact center agents, front office employees, sales staff, etc. to create personalized and legally-compliant customer correspondence with consistent and recognizable branding. Using a standard web browser, Empower Editor responds to user input by automatically populating communications with approved content. Moreover, it can access business, legal and marketing data and content from many sources to deliver communications to virtually any electronic or print channel.

Other features and benefits of OpenText Exstream Empower Editor:

· Fully containerized solution, optimized for cloud deployment

· Web-based connected design, authoring and editing

· Design interactive content in OpenText Exstream Communications Designer

· Author interactive clauses in OpenText Exstream Content Author

· Multi-tenant enabled

· Integration with SAP business processes

· Integration with Salesforce for fast document generation via a built-in rules engine.

OpenText Exstream Architecture

OpenText Exstream includes a number of web and desktop applications with processing engine options and design tools that combine into a powerful, integrated CCM platform. This platform is orchestrated by the Exstream Communications Server.

The architecture of OpenText Exstream includes the following elements:

· Desktop applications for:

o Design: Designer and StoryTeller

o Configuration: Design Manager and Communications Builder

o Administration: Control Center

· Web applications for:

o Monitoring and management: Workshop, Supervisor, Control

o Business authoring: Content Author and Storyboard

o Interactive communications: Empower Editor and Retouch Editor

· Shared platform services: These include Communications Server applications and other Exstream applications such as service gateways that run on the Exstream framework. The framework contains a management gateway and core platform services.

· Repositories and Common Asset Service (CAS)

· Repositories and Common Asset Service (CAS) providers

o Media management

o Content server

o Third parties

· External applications

o OpenText Directory Services

o Experience Analytics

Business Benefits of OpenText Exstream

By leveraging OpenText Exstream, organizations can speed up critical document-based business processes and uncover all the benefits of CCM at low cost.

Here are some of the key business benefits of OpenText Exstream:

i. Automate and simplify document composition, administration and distribution

Users can automate and quickly re-purpose dynamic templates and documents to design memorable customer communications while saving money and minimizing the need for technical resources.

ii. Streamline business processes

Any process that depends on document-creation can be streamlined with OpenText Exstream, whether it’s about communicating with customers, suppliers or internal teams.

iii. Leverage multi-channel communications

Understand, serve and react to customers using the delivery formats and channels they prefer, such as SMS, email, web and mobile. This can have a positive effect on business metrics such as opens and click-through-rates (CTRs).

iv. Empower users so they have better control over communications

All users can control their documents and dispatch methods required to automate work processes. And since they have greater flexibility to edit content and templates, they can more easily adhere to accessibility requirements, quickly respond to regulatory changes and mandates, and minimize non-compliance risks.

v. Engage customers and enhance customer experiences

Whether it’s hyper-personalized one-to-one communications or large volumes of batch-produced documents, every single interaction that the organization has with its customers becomes smooth, seamless and meaningful.

vi. Optimize communications and maximize CLV

OpenText Exstream helps optimize communications over time with automated tracking, analysis and response. This empowers the organization to continuously improve on facilitating engaging conversations and determine the best strategies for every communications channel. Customer lifetime value metrics also help uncover important data about customer interactions at each touch point.

vii. On-premise and cloud-based deployment

Organizations can select the deployment option that suits them best. In particular, the Exstream Cloud Edition (CE) 20.2 enables companies to cost-effectively manage their CCM operations, infrastructure and applications in the cloud. This delivers enhanced scalability, security and portability while streamlining the user experience and ensuring faster time-to-market, from creation and design to testing and delivery. CE can also integrate with other business applications for enhanced operational flexibility.

OpenText Exstream seamlessly integrates CCM with analytics, web content management, rich media and digital asset management, output management, intelligent forms and call center optimization. That’s why many organizations rely on it to optimize their customer communications processes and build meaningful, value-based customer relationships. The platform works very well for a number of industries including insurance, financial services, healthcare, utilities and the public sector.

If your organization is looking to deploy this scalable CCM solution but lacks the development and coding skills in-house, WayPath can help. Our team of highly-skilled OpenText Exstream experts provide end-to-end project development, version upgrades, advisory/consulting services as well as training, support and management. We will help you clarify your CCM objectives, define your solution requirements and design an agile development plan so you can meet your goals in the fastest time and lowest cost possible. To know more about our OpenText Exstream service portfolio, get in touch today!

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