I’ve recently been writing a lot about platforms. Not any one in particular but about the importance of platform to the future of what we all do in CRM and beyond. Platform provides a level of abstraction between machines and humans who must get useful work out of them. Inventing the platform was like inventing the power loom or the printing press. It was a way to separate the creative effort from rote production. I’ve gone so far as to say that the platform-based CRM system has become a big demonstration project for the platform. If it can support this, what can’t it do?
On a more prosaic level, one of the things that platform is proving to be very good at is providing an engagement layer on top of older and more rigid systems of record. Older systems are really good at storing data but not necessarily at telling us what the data means, its information content. We still talk too much about data, about the orange when what we crave is the juice.
At the engagement level Salesforce has been taking big steps to add CRM values to healthcare through its Health Cloud. At the HIMSS 2019 conference in Orlando this week, one of the big health information systems conferences of the year, Salesforce unveiled new capabilities that borrow directly from CRM to support healthcare.
In the process, they are helping to change the model of healthcare in this country from a break-fix model that’s been around for more than a century, to a wellness paradigm that seeks to prevent illness. W. Edwards Deming would be proud. New Salesforce offerings include,
Social Determinants of Health. I’m not completely sure how this works but it looks like a way of capturing a broader data set on patients like economic status, ability to drive or access transportation, and ability to read and understand treatment instructions we all go home with these days. Those are things not typically captured in the conventional medical record but without them, it will be hard to raise the bar on treatment success rates.
Mobile-First In-Home Care Collaboration. This looks much like an application of field service management to patients and it uses Field Service Lightning for Health Cloud to do the job. As any CRM people know, successful field service is all about bringing resources to bear at a remote location. But that means much more than having a well-stocked truck or toolbox. It means being able to access others to deliver service. This collaboration product enables dispatchers to bring together specialists by ability and location to support traveling care givers.
Personalized Patient Journeys. As you might expect, this one brings in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to apply journey mapping and execution. Simply put, any treatment situation from recovering from surgery to managing diabetes has a predictable trajectory but individuals might not always stay on their trajectories. A wound might get infected, someone’s blood sugar might be hard to stabilize, but even those exceptions can be built into a journey map along with standardized care regimens. More likely a provider might want to keep a stream of information going to patients managing similar issues such as all Type 2 diabetes patients between 50 and 60.
All of this brings into sharp relief the issue of containing healthcare costs. Unlike almost any other industry you can name other than education, which has a lot in common with healthcare, costs have remained stubbornly high and have continued to escalate. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Anything that can be manufactured can eventually achieve benefits from economies of scale, but healthcare and education are not manufactured.
Every hot appendix has to be removed by a highly skilled and trained surgeon; every diabetic needs to be diagnosed and monitored. There are few economies of scale but we can do a lot to improve prevention and when that’s not enough, we can bring systems of engagement to bear so that we waste as little resource as possible. CRM principles like systems of engagement are changing the healthcare equation by capturing more data and moving information around to inform care decisions at every level.
My two bits
Applying CRM to healthcare is a big deal but let’s be careful what we mean by that. The stove-piped CRM of a decade ago wouldn’t be helpful here. It’s only since the addition of social networking ideas, analytics, and machine learning that we’ve been able to see ahead of the customer and now the patient. We know where they are in a journey based on probabilities derived from thousands of past actions and we know logical next steps for the same reasons.
Healthcare also has an important bias working in its favor—people want to be well and to get better in the vast majority of cases. You can’t say that about customers in a purchase situation because the motivators are more nebulous. You can’t even say that all students want education. It’s nice to think they do but how many do their homework regularly?
We might have entered a golden age of CRM with all the platform additions of the last decade beginning with social networking. But it’s disappointing to see the fear and disappointment emanating from scandals about misuse of social networking and the fear of AI, and machine learning eliminating jobs. I guess that’s what you get in a maturing market. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of good being done by CRM platforms and healthcare is a good example that will have far-reaching effects.
By Cary Fulbright
Recently Denis wrote about the state of document management systems, including the licensing pain point that is slowing wide adoption within the enterprise. Digital transformation and the move to digital document management has become crucial to organizations of all size and across all industries. One impetus for the shift to digital is the use of cloud technologies. It allows instant, always-on access to the most recent version of documents, reducing errors and enabling employees to be productive throughout their day.
Without efficient document workflows, simple tasks like creating, sharing and signing documents can become both challenging and costly. One report from IDC estimated that document challenges are costing organizations more than 20 percent of overall productivity. The firm put that cost at nearly $20,000 per employee every year.
This need to recoup productivity costs and increase business agility are driving the digitization of document management. Not only are employees within an organization often collaborating on documents and sharing via email, Slack or other channels, they are working with partners, customers and other third parties. It is important that all relevant parties can collaborate on a document, comment, verify changes, access particular versions, and view or change who has access rights. One prime example of this need is contract management.
At the same time, this data must be secured. Not only from data exfiltration via headline-grabbing breaches, but from tampering and manipulation. This is an emerging threat to businesses in all industries. One study predicts that, by 2020, 50 percent of organizations will have suffered damage caused by fraudulent data and software. A recent CNBC story points to the increasing importance of data integrity.
In November, we saw an altered video of a CNN reporter grab headlines as Americans began to understand that even video could be faked to spread misinformation. Perhaps even more frightening is the “deepfake” AI technology that can digitally manipulate videos to make a new “perceived reality.” As a result, the potential to undermine trust and spread misinformation increases like never before.
Last year, Japan’s third-largest steelmaker admitted falsifying product quality data which could have far reaching implications for projects using inferior copper, aluminium and steel products. This month, the Guardian, among other UK media outlets, reported that dozens of criminal cases are being overturned due to alleged widespread data tampering. A UK forensics lab had manipulated forensics data, affecting more than 10,500 criminal cases since 2014. The investigation has led to a total of 41 drug offense criminal cases overturned, and further 50 investigations dropped.
These cases underscore how an integrated data integrity solution is crucial for organizations. Companies today must safeguard the chain of custody for every digital asset, in order to detect and deter data tampering. For assets such as supply chain audit trails, legal documents, tax records and more, document management systems can ensure data integrity by digitally notarizing any type of data with a product like our Cryptowerk Seal. It enables users to seal that data at the time of creation, and then automatically verify the authenticity of data and digital assets such as a legal document, a scan of a shipment ID code or an e-commerce transaction.
As digital transformation continues to drive businesses forward, the number of workers with digital document management tools will continue to rise. As the number of users grows, organizations will need to better protect those documents from manipulation — or suffer what could be crippling consequences. Document management software vendors should be helping their customers to meet this need and protect against data tampering.
Cary Fulbright is Chief Marketing Officer of CryptoWerk in San Francisco
Office printing, a key part of any business’ IT strategy, is slowly declining mostly due to better printing options. Better, higher capacity printers, networked throughout an organization are often cited for small declines in printing activity in part because taking printers off desktops causes people to consider whether a printout is worth a trip to a printer.
That’s more or less organic decline and the question is why print at all? Are there ways to avoid moving information from computer to paper only to return new information back to a computer?
Keith Kmetz, program vice president, IDC’s Imaging, Printing, and Document Solutions research says, “Print remains a huge and very relevant piece of an organization’s overall IT strategy,” which seems to imply that printing will be important until it isn’t. In other words, the emphasis still seems to be on printing but printing more efficiently when the need is increasingly to avoid printing all together.
Strategies for avoiding printing, like locating printers away from users so that they have to walk to pick up their papers, are qualitatively different from moves to eliminate printing completely through process redesign. The latter can have bigger impacts on a business beyond savings in printout supplies.
Business processes that avoid printing are different in that they remain in the digital realm rather than committing information to paper. Digital processes operate at computer speeds while the same process involving printed matter becomes a prisoner to the speed of manual transport.
For instance, a process that captures a signature, perhaps through the mail, is relegated to the speed of the postal system. In contrast, the same process mediated by an eSignature paradigm operates much faster even when considering that such processes are often asynchronous meaning the people on each end of the transaction are not necessarily waiting around to receive a document.
So why print at all when digital processes are so attractive? There are many reasons, some social or psychological but none of them stand up.
- Force of habit. Some employees will just print documents regardless of whether they have more efficient technology at hand. For them a walk to a printer might be a motivator for changing behavior.
- To have a “hard copy” in case, you know, the system goes down, or just to have. Advances in IT have made this reason obsolete when compared with the costs of printing.
- To take to a meeting. Lots of people still print documents for evidentiary purposes but the arrival of good, fast corporate Wi-Fi and portable devices from phones to tablets to laptops, means any document can be available anywhere in the building. And for meetings at remote locations, often the same is true but certainly sometimes people just need the hard copy. But using hard copies should be much rarer than it is today.
- Some employees lack the necessary software to access and save documents electronically or to circulate them for signatures.
The last item deserves some comment. Document management or productivity has long passed the point where it could be considered optional in a host of industries that live on documents like healthcare, insurance, and finance. While virtually all employees in these industries have access to office productivity software like word processing, many still lack access to document management systems. The irony is that these employees can create documents, but they can’t effectively manage them once developed. So, the papers grow.
Organizations determined to do something about their printing consumption find that they can’t simply press a button or flip a switch. There’s a bit of process re-engineering to do before the business can change paradigms. Usually change management is one of the most important jobs associated with changing the print paradigm. But the effort is highly worthwhile.
Businesses that implement document management for all find they can recoup the cost of their new systems based on drastically reduced printing costs and improved employee productivity and morale. Just imagine how much more productive anyone can be without taking trips to a remote printer. And even if one has a printer on the desk, avoiding printing means higher productivity, lower costs, and more engaged personnel.
There’s never been a better time to fully engage in document productivity. Even businesses that bought productivity systems decades ago are finding that costs of automation are now much lower and that it’s practical to ensure all employees are covered by the technology.
The key to successfully transitioning isn’t simply picking a software or hardware vendor any more. It’s picking a vendor that understands change management and that can put a plan in place that automates your specific processes and gets your users engaged and active. There will still be employees that prefer to print but they make up a small percent of your population. Over time even they will see the benefits of working digitally over dealing with printers and supplies.
Happy New Year to all of you reading this and, as Steve Gillmor might say, all of you who are not.
2018 is poised to be a busy year. I am off to San Francisco this week and next. Salesforce’s annual analyst kick-off, a day of briefings and 1:1 discussions designed to inform folks like me as well as to solicit advice happens on Thursday. Past Salesforce events like this have been eye-openers because they expose the theory and motivations for new product introductions and provide focus for several years out. The crew at Salesforce is exceptionally well versed in how to carry this kind of thing off. For starters, they bring out technologists and executives we don’t often hear from or about. Second, they open the kimono a fair bit so what I learn might stay under NDA for a while. So safe to say that even if the temperature in Boston hadn’t been flirting with absolute zero for the last couple of weeks, I’d still be looking forward to the event.
Just to show how competitive it is in CRM and cloud computing these days, Oracle is not wasting time either. I will attend their analyst kick-off the following week. It will be a very different but still illuminating event because they have a lot to say about positioning their IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS solutions in the modern marketplace. Oracle’s recent earnings jumps show the company is once again a powerful competitor at the leading edge of a new part of the industry. Oracle’s big question/issue will be how they intend to encourage their installed base to begin the Herculean effort of moving to the cloud. Hint: favorable pricing won’t get the job done. So as much as I want to hear more about the autonomous database, self-patching, advanced security and all the rest of the technology, I’ll also be interested in understanding their perceived path to market. Two things you can be sure of is that Oracle has some of the brightest minds in the business and they don’t like failure.
We’ll talk. Watch this space or email me.