What exactly is a Correspondence Management System?
Consider your day-to-day business interactions - all the emails you sent, documents you share and any type of business information you exchange between colleagues, customers or third parties - all these activities falls under the umbrella of business correspondence. As any other complex process within a business or governmental establishment, business correspondence requires proper management.
Correspondence management is of paramount importance for all organisations, government agencies and other parties that have to deal with deadlines, and seek the highest possible level of productivity, as well as an efficient control system to effectively govern the ever increasing correspondence channels. This is where correspondence management systems come into play.
What is a Correspondence Management System?
While correspondence management is the process of receiving, recording, logging, appropriately processing and responding to and creating an audit trail of received correspondence. A Correspondence Management System is used to track all the incoming and outgoing business correspondence of an organization and make it available to all application users according to their roles and access.
A good Correspondence Management system provides the electronic means of storing, retrieving, and routing correspondence for review and approval. Such systems provide the capability to efficiently and effectively manage huge amount of correspondences both electronically as well as on paper, mail, fax and other traditional methods.
The Correspondence Management systems centralise and manages the creation, assembly and delivery of secure, personalized, and interactive business correspondences. It enables organisations to quickly assemble correspondence from both pre- approved and custom-authored content in a streamlined process from creation to archival. As a result, customers get the right communication at the right time in the right way: timely, accurate, convenient, secure, and relevant. This enables businesses to maximise the value of customer interactions and minimise the costs and risks associated with a rather complex process.
Common features of Correspondence Management Systems
While Correspondence Management Systems differ in their features and native integration capabilities, good correspondence management solutions ought to share some common core features such as:
- Correspondence Capture: paper-based correspondence still forms the bulk of business correspondence, although it is on the decline, the solution needs to have the ability to capture incoming paper-based correspondence, as well as digital one;
- Correspondence Storage: a good correspondence solution needs to be able to store incoming, and outgoing, correspondence in a secure and compliant manner. Also, some of the correspondence will need to be managed in accordance with industry regulations for audit purposes;
- Process Management: a correspondence management system needs to be able to route the correspondence to the most appropriate person or team in an organisation to process it;
- Communications Management: a solution needs to be able to produce outgoing communication, in traditional paper or in email format, and the output needs to be personalised to the needs of the person to whom it is being sent;
- ECM Integration: typically correspondence needs to be viewed within the context of a Enterprise Content Management system. Therefore the solution must have standards based integration to enable this where applicable;
- Management Information: currently organisations have limited visibility of their performance in dealing with business correspondence. The solution needs to provide this information so organisations can improve their performance as well as their customer service;
Not only will a correspondence management system with these features provide benefits such as cost reduction, process efficiencies and improved compliance but it will also provide the organisation with a platform to transform their stakeholder interaction.