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Top 5 Things to Consider When Setting up Your CCM Technology

New technologies can be overwhelming to configure. Here are some key things to consider if you want to realize the full value of your investment.

by Cass Mieczakowski

Congratulations on purchasing your new CCM software! Um, now what do I do?

New technologies can be overwhelming to configure. Implemented incorrectly, organizations seldom realize the full value of their investment and often must seek replacement technology sooner than budgets can support.

Some key things to consider:

Data Consistency

It’s important to make sure that your source data is being generated properly and contains enough information for you to build out your new communications. Utilizing a modern data format like XML is a great idea when you are architecting your CCM solution for not only present need, but also to ensure future compatibility. XML improves data mapping accuracy by utilizing tags instead of positional information, which allows you to create a Parent/Child schema when designing your data file. The Parent section will be used for key data elements used across applications as well as containing critical downstream-processing information. The Child section will store all of the application-specific data necessary to compose a given communication. Clean source data structure is key to ensuring data outcomes that are consistent across composition platforms.

Naming Standards

Now that your data is read, it’s time to create some content. The first step is mapping the data elements. Preserving standard naming conventions is a key element for accelerating development and streamlining maintenance. A good rule of thumb is to use a numeric ID followed by a short description. The numeric ID provides team members with a way to differentiate between similarly named variables. Additionally, by deploying a prefix, like variables will be grouped together. Leveraging the same principles, defining descriptive prefixes for your content is a great way to reduce duplication and accelerate development. For example, appending the prefix “O” to denote opening paragraphs and “C” for closing paragraphs is an easy tactic that will pay dividends as your content libraries grow in size and complexity.

Organization

Keeping a well-organized environment can be a challenge – but the most important element to keep in mind isobject usage. How a given object is being used depends on where it is stored. Objects that have the potential to be reused should be stored in a global area, while objects specific to an application should be stored within the application. By separating these objects, the system operates more efficiently while providing the ability to control access to certain applications and reuse common objects. 

Access

Now that you have a well-organized environment it is time to decide on access privileges. Before hacking away at defining users and groups, you need to think through your current processes and the specific functions required to perform each step. Will these functions still be required? Do they require the same resources? Will the functional owners change after a pilot period? Additionally, you will want to think through your process control and potential access points. Accidental shifts in a mailing address location can result in significant postage waste. Clearly understanding your near and long-term process design and corresponding functions will optimize the access control schema.

Working Environment

As your content and development complexity increases within your new CCM platform, it is inevitable that you will need to juggle multiple updates within various release schedules. Understanding how your software manages in-flight objects is critical for defining concurrent development activities. Subsequently, when multiple updates are required across development stages, approved production objects are isolated.

By focusing on these five essential items, you will be on the right track toward an implementation with less anxiety and better outcomes. Need help with CCM technology or the processes around it? Reach out.

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Cass Mieczakowski
Cass Mieczakowski
Managing Consultant
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