Personalisation will be the lynchpin of success in our shared digital future

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As we finally accept that we live in a world forever changed by months of hybrid workplaces and remote customers, we should reflect on what this means for the future of consumers, employees, communities, and economies. Businesses are coming under increasing pressure to deliver outstanding customer experiences or help their B2B clients do the same – to break through the noise and inspire better brand engagement. As of old, this requires optimising operations to ensure they live up to customers’ expectations, and delivering solutions that treat each customer as an individual.

Xerox initiated the Make NOW Work programme to empower enterprises to update their mindsets by leveraging data to automate workflows, personalise at scale, and create flexible workforces. In the “Future of Work in a Pandemic Era” whitepaper, Xerox interviewed decision-makers across the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, and France and learned that some 56% of businesses are expanding technology budgets and 34% are planning to accelerate digital transformation.

Personalisation is a huge deliverable in digitisation. And a necessary one. Some 79% of consumers say they are more likely to engage with an offer if it's personalised. But the applicability of personalisation extends beyond consumers into some surprising fields. Sometimes it can help overcome pressing global challenges, albeit those far from the public eye.  You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about bees, for example, but without them we would have no pollination. That’s not only an end to flowering plants, but to fruits, vegetables and entire ecosystems of other insects and animals that depend on those plants.

Bee yourself

And yet, our bees are dying by the truckload in Brazil, and are under threat in other parts of the world, such as Nebraska, US, and Northern Ireland. Xerox partnered with Dorset Wildlife Trust in England to do something about it…with the aid of some personalisation. Supported by British company RPM, Xerox helped the trust institute personalised communication technology as part of the “Get Dorset Buzzing” campaign. A long-time Dorset Wildlife Trust corporate member, RPM uses Xerox’s XMPie platform to personalise communications across audiences and channels. By gathering demographic and behavioural data from around the Dorset area, RPM could send messages tailored to the unique tastes of real people on social media, email, and printed materials.

As a result of the targeted messaging, more than 4,000 Dorset residents agreed to overhaul their gardens using wildflower seeds supplied by the trust. The result was a slew of pollination grounds that became draws for bees, butterflies, and wasps. Also, some 125 planters ended up becoming members of the trust. That is real human engagement through the power of personalisation, generating positive results not only for the customer, but for the community at large.

Sometimes the unique ambitions of the customer come down to maintaining operational efficiency so that the people you serve and the people you employ are protected from resource restrictions. Such was the challenge in the case of the 11th largest police force in England and Wales – the Avon and Somerset force. Operating across 53 sites, it employs around 3,000 officers and about the same number of support staff. Together they protect and serve more than 1.6 million people in Bristol, Bath, Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

The great trade-off

A drop in policing levels was not an option, despite reductions in available budget. So, in the area of bulk-printing, the force had to figure out how to enhance quality and ensure secure, reliable results for employees and the community. This is where the highly personalised service of document process outsourcing (DPO) comes in. A market segment that is rapidly gaining momentum thanks to the rise in popularity of automation, the service allows digital transformers to opt for an on-demand bulk-print service. Xerox worked with Avon and Somerset Police through a dedicated Xerox Document Advisor, deploying 294 Xerox ConnectKey multi-function printers (MFPs), with workflow tools designed to streamline business processes. This was all supported by state-of-the-art security measures. In addition, Xerox Hybrid Mail Service allowed the composition, management, and printing of corporate correspondence with significantly lower manpower, alleviating employees’ workloads.

By tailoring a solution directly to the requirements of Avon and Somerset Police, Xerox was able to empower the force to preserve service levels and enhance the lives of its employees through the efficient use of resources. Meanwhile, secure, cost-efficient, always-on office printing meant that backroom operations were optimised rather than compromised.

Out with the old

Modernisation is everywhere, but personalising the journey is critical to success. Not all cost-cutting ambitions can be achieved with the same steps. No two optimisation roadmaps are the same. In Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council had a vision: to rationalise procurement and design futureproof projects, so that the community could see benefits that lasted throughout their lifetimes. Some 15,000 employees tend to the needs of more than 260,000 residents. And Aberdeen City Council’s 8,000 staff deliver services to some 228,000 people. Levels of excellence could only be preserved by updating aging assets. Around 4,000 school and office printers were among these assets. The council also needed to build the central print-room of the future, while avoiding redundancies among print-room staff.

A fleet of 2,300 new Xerox printers and MFPs, supported by onsite Xerox staff to keep printers running smoothly, formed the foundation of a highly personalised solution. The project also saw the establishment of a Xerox-managed print-and-mail centre powered by the latest Xerox technologies. Thousands of employees saw instant benefits in the new system, as schools, offices and mailrooms across the county were introduced to new levels of efficiency.

By focusing on the human problems faced by the council, Xerox’s close partnership not only helped to enhance user satisfaction; it also led directly to career-development opportunities for print-room staff that transferred to Xerox. And the state-of-the-art print-and-mail centre is set to bring tangible boons to the wider Aberdeenshire economy.

Personalisation matters. And personalisation at scale will be a critical strategy for those economies that emerge from the current global malaise with a semblance of continuity and hope for the future.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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