How to do Alerts and Notifications

By Richard Medina posted 03-23-2013 01:48


One growing area of customer communications management (CCM) is the functionality to provide alerts and notifications: the ability for an organization to provide timely or urgent messages to its customers and agents. It’s CCM functionality that’s particularly critical for organizations in financial services and insurance. HP Exstream, EMC Document Sciences, Oracle Documaker, GMC Inspire and Thunderhead are the primary vendors and brands in this space, and they all address alerts and notifications.

If your company is undertaking an initiative to address alerts and notifications, we recommend that you organize and manage such an initiative with a program framework. Here’s what such a framework of common components and capabilities for alerts and notifications should look like.

The Framework for Alerts and Notifications

The alerts and notifications framework has eight elements: Event Management, Profiles and Preferences, Rules Management, Process and Policy Management, Delivery Management, Message/Template Management, Archive, and Compliance Administration. In more detail, it looks like this:

  1. Event Management: System- or human-initiated activities that generate the need for an alert or notification. In terms of technology, event management means services that capture events which generate or drive the need or production of an alert or notification. Key components include the Integration Layer, Service Bus, Delivery Confirmation, and Administration and Reporting.
  2. Profiles and Preferences: Systems, databases, and processes used to capture and maintain demographic and preference information. Key components include Identity Management, Preference Configuration, Rules Administration, and Reporting.
  3. Rules Management: Business and technical rules that operate on the messages, triggers, delivery mechanisms, and profile/preference data. Key components include Staging, Integrated Communications Director, Inbound/Outbound Controls, and Lifecycle Administration.
  4. Process and Policy Management: Information and privacy protection policies and how they are to be used and implemented. Key components include Review and Approve Workflow, Policy Versioning and Archive, User/Roles Configuration, and Process Monitoring and Reporting.
  5. Delivery Management: Physical resources and technology used to distribute Alerts and Notifications across the relevant channels. Key components include Channel Support, Inbound and Outbound Services, Delivery Confirmation, and Security and Encryption.
  6. Message and Template Management: Portfolio of templates, content, and standards and style guides for creating alerts and notifications. Key components address Classification and Version Management, Authoring and Design, Output Generation, and Archiving.
  7. Archive: Repository of record for templates, resources, alerts and notifications, and other relevant content. Key components include Ingestion, Retrieval and Viewing, Disposition, and Compliance Reporting.
  8. Compliance Administration: Programmatic elements ensuring that Alerts and Notifications are compliant with relevant regulations. The elements for Compliance Administration address governance, policies, and technology. With respect to technology, the pre- and post-production services to ensure compliance in every aspect relevant to alerts and notifications include Data Aggregation, Analytics, Audit, Reporting, and Dashboarding.

Where Should You Start with Alerts and Notifications?

In our experience, it’s best to narrow your attention to focus your resources on just a few opportunities first. These opportunities should be simpler, less risky, and provide good bang-for-the-buck. Look for messages with the following characteristics:

  1. Message type: System-generated messages are easier to address than human-generated correspondence.
  2. Trigger events: Servicing events are easier to address than marketing initiatives.
  3. Recipients: Focus first on existing customers (e.g. policyholders and claimants in insurance; advisors, agents) rather than prospects.
  4. Channels: Focus on email and text messaging before trying to tackle chat, RSS, mobile, and other social media tools.


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