Neopost is a long-standing vendor to and supporting of UK public sector. Having established itself as a leading vendor of solutions for managing and creating greater efficiencies within the production, delivery and receipt of physical mail based communications, the Company is evolving its propositions. This evolution is based on meeting the changing needs of its customers.
Central Government and the wider UK public sector faces many challenges today. Organisations are increasingly required to maintain and improve frontline services, with reduced resource and at a lower cost to serve. Alongside such challenges, Government directives also require organisations to adopt ‘digital first’ strategies, in line with Digital Agenda and Digital Britain 2020.
Neopost works closely with its customers, to understand such challenges and to share best practise and insight into new digitally, based technologies and how they can be utilised to meet operational and strategic requirements. The Company sphere of operations resides firmly in key areas such as:
- Direct communication
- Process automation
- Document management
- Digital transformation
From both commissioned research and direct dialogue with customers, Neopost has identified that across public bodies, organisations are at varying stages of the ‘digital journey’. When engaging with customers, the Company clearly understands this and also that different organisations have individual objectives and strategies around the broad subject of digital transformation.
Public sector organisations do need to be cognisant that digital transformation should be about outcomes, rather than outputs. In other words, it’s not just about changing internal processes, but more about how such process re-engineering should be conducted in order to better meet the needs of citizens.
The latter point is clearly stated within Government’s Transformation strategy. Within this strategy, three points resonate in particular with the approach that Neopost adopts, in its market approach:
- Transforming whole citizen-facing services:
- Improving the citizen experience when engaging with the public sector
- Reducing the cost of delivering public services
- Full organisational transformation:
- Delivering policy objectives in a flexible way across channels
- Striving for a digital first methodology
- Internal transformation:
- More collaboration in a digitally enabled manner
- Creation of greater sustainable efficiencies
If we take these key extracts from the Transformation Strategy, we can determine the role that Neopost plays in assisting organisations in evolving business processes to better meet these objectives.
Citizen experience is a broad topic, but one that is pivotal in improving the perception of public service. Neopost tackles this topic in a number of different ways. Firstly, with respect to direct communications, one of the ways in which we work with our customers is in utilising data to create impact. For us, this is all about being helping our customers become as relevant to their audience as possible.
In this area we are heavily involved in enabling organisations to deliver messaging using a true omni channel strategy. Our customer communication management (CCM) technologies, allow organisations to engage with their stakeholders using the individual’s channel of choice. As well as meeting individual preferences and hence engagement on personal terms, the CCM platform also delivers a number of additional operational benefits. It’s also important to consider that influencing the nature of interactions should be a considered as a two way process.
Many public sector organisations are concerned over the digital skills of their employees. With a CCM platform, communications can be deployed automatically across multiple media, with the software automatically repurposing content to be optimised for delivery across channel. So, regardless of whether content is to be deployed through paper and post, email, SMS, social media or web portal everything is configured automatically, minimising the impact on the user.
Omni channel delivery allows public sector organisations to introduce Channel Shift, by moving engagements to lower cost digital channels. As well as outbound delivery, this can also be connected to inbound queries received from citizens and other stakeholders.
Why is Channel Shift important? Quite simply it meets one of the headline principles of digital government. In other words, it improves the experience of citizens, by access to information through their own channel of choice and across devices. This is becoming increasingly important, as mobile is the fastest growing technology platform for access to information.
As well as meeting citizen preferences, omni channel delivery allows organisations to reduce their cost, while improving experience and speeding up response and lead times. The shift in channels, and its resulting cost can be significant. From research conducted by SOCITM, the cost to an organisation of interactions with citizens can vary enormously, by the channel deployed. The research identified that the cost of a face to face interactions was £8.63. An interaction by telephone was £2.82, whilst web interactions were far lower at 15p. On this basis, the move to a self-serve methodology, using CCM technology gives citizens access on their own terms and significantly reduces cost, thus creating cashable savings for the deployment of frontline services.
But the delivery and receipt of communication is only one facet of how Neopost assists the public sector. The Company is also seeking significant take up in the utilisation of electronic document management (EDM). Using such technology, again, delivers multiple benefits to organisations. At one level, digitising documents, reduces valuable physical storage requirements. This in itself supports the strategy of many public sector organisations in reducing their property estates, and associated cost.
However, storage is one component. Once digitised further benefits can be realised. By intelligently indexing documents, the time for retrieval (especially when compared to identifying paper based information) is dramatically reduced. On one level, this greatly improves citizen experience, by responding to queries in a fraction of the time previously observed. But what about frontline services? In the health sector, imagine being able to access and retrieve vital patient information in a fraction of the time. The benefits to our health professionals can, again be significant. Alongside these benefits, the visibility and compliance of EDM leads to far greater levels of information governance. This is a growing requirement across public services and once that organisations need to take seriously.
Digital transformation also impacts on internal process improvements. One highly current example is in the creating efficiencies in the many repetitive, manual tasks the sector faces. The implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), effectively allows organisations to migrate these activities to a ‘virtual workforce’. The result is greater efficiencies, lower potential for errors, reduced cost and freeing staff time to concentrate on less mundane and more important tasks. This not only improves productivity, but also employee morale.