April 14, 2014 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Customer Communications Management Software Solutions
Prior to founding Napersoft, Bart was a Founder and Vice President of Group 1 Software, which specialized in direct marketing packaged applications software. Bart played a leading role in Group 1 Software's highly successful initial public offering in 1986. Previously, he founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of National Systems Laboratories, a private consumer database marketing software packaged applications company.
Bart has served in management, marketing and technical positions at Deloitte & Touche; College of DuPage; Waubonsee College; Northern Illinois Corporation; Sundstrand Corporation; Burroughs and Xerox. He began his career with IBM.
Bart is past Chairman of the Information Technology Association of America Software Division; where he led the early adoption of Web-based electronic surveys and Web-casting best practices throughout the industry. He also lead the industry's public policy initiatives by organizing extensive lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., on adopting a national moratorium on Internet taxation and on lifting anti-competitive restrictions on encryption.
Bart is also the past Chairman of Geneva Technology Partners, Inc.; NewsWire One, Inc.; and Northern Illinois Angels LLC, an early stage investment network. He also served as a member of the boards of Illinois Technology Association and Northern Illinois University Executive Club.
Bart received his
Bachelor of Science in marketing education and business administration from
Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL.
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – April 14, 2014
CEOCFO: Mr. Carlson, what is Napersoft?
Mr. Carlson: Napersoft is a company that focuses on helping companies and organizations around the world streamline communications with their customers. We do it in a way that is meaningful and personalized to all of their customers at any time, whether they are having a problem or looking at new opportunities and ways to work together.
CEOCFO: What are some of the common challenges you address and maybe some of the issues that people might not even realize are an issue?
Mr. Carlson: Napersoft does a great deal in regulated industries. For example, in the financial industry, companies like insurance companies and banks need to keep track of everything they say to everyone and make sure they communicate it correctly, whether they are sending out letters or notices. If an insurance company is creating a new policy, then they need to make sure that all of the data in the policy is correct for that person. This is true whether our customers are creating invoices, bank statements, or contracts for their customers. When you visit a new doctor’s office you may be asked to provide your insurance card when you arrive. This is to insure the correct data is sent to your insurance company to determine what charges are going to be covered during your visit. The data is also used by the insurance company to create a statement for the insured indicating how much the charge was for each test or treatment, what the insurance company is going to pay, and how much the patient might owe, depending on the type of policy they have.
CEOCFO: Would you walk us through an example of a typical engagement; what are you providing?
Mr. Carlson: Typically, engagements are dependent on the size of the organization and how many enterprise business applications they use regardless of whether they are purchased from other software suppliers or they have written the application themselves. For example, in a very large enterprise organization, they might have 150 to 175 different enterprise business applications. Of those applications, not all of them have data that is being used to communicate to customers. Typically, it is about a third of them. So, when we are called in, an organization with 150 applications will have approximately 50 different applications communicating with their customers, all with a different look and feel. And, these 50 applications are all creating documents and saving them in 50 separate databases to keep track of what they sent. In other words, they do not have a holistic view of the customer. So when the customer calls in with a problem to a call center or sends in a request, the company may have to look in 50 different places for that answer. What we do is standardize and unify all of the customer communications from those 50 business applications into a single streamlined process and a single archive database. To do this we integrate and connect it with each of the different databases in those 50 different applications. No matter which business case it may be, whether it is upfront on the marketing side or during the sales process or the contracting process, or the customer service process that happens after the fact, all the business departments are using the same communications tool. All the copies of all those documents are stored in a single database so that no matter whether you are in customer service or billing, you are all using the same communications tools no matter which system created it throughout the company. In addition to providing our software, we help them evaluate, plan and determine a strategy to operate with going forward. We also train them and help them implement it. Our value add is really a mix of the software solutions we provide as well as all of our services helping them think it through, developing a plan and implementing it over time. Typically, all organizations have existing document templates they use to communicate with their customers. These document templates have to be converted into a central Napersoft CCM format. We help them with the conversion and with setting up standards to operate with going forward. So, when they refer to someone’s name in the billing or customer service system, it is always treated the same way.
CEOCFO: Are there many companies that offer services in the CCM space and with as much depth as Napersoft?
Mr. Carlson: We are like any other business; we have competitors. There are competitors around the world, in the United States as well as Europe who offer similar kinds of services. Each of them has their own unique offerings. For example, there are documents created in what we call “batch mode,” where you read a database and figure out who needs to be sent a bill today. Typically, this could range from 1,000s to 1,000,000s of people, depending on the size of the company. Usually batch processing is used for documents like statements or invoices. There are other document creation specialties where we create one to one documents. This process is sometimes called “interactive mode.” This is typically used in a call center or customer support center, whereby the agent receives the call, looks up your records, listens to your issue and then based on the situation creates a single document that is just going to go to you. It may go to you the old fashion way in terms of print, but we are also moving to a digital world, so people like those communications via email, text or other channels of distribution. It is being able to respond when you are talking to that customer in real time and being able to deliver the information that they need in the channel of delivery that is preferred by the customer.
CEOCFO: Who in a company is likely to reach out to you and how do they find Napersoft?
Mr. Carlson: It really depends on the company and how their leadership learns about new solutions to problems. Today’s world is basically internet influenced, so we have a website like most companies. People go on the internet and type in keywords such as document creation or document generation or customer communications management and that brings up our website, they go to it and read about it. We also do very proactive things. We know the industries that typically have issues, so we send out email campaigns or we go to trade shows where people looking for a solution might come and find us on the exhibit floor. We do speaking engagements. Prospective customers attend conferences where our customers are speakers. The prospect talks to one of our customers and our customers will refer us. We get leads from many sources. We also communicate broadly via our public relations efforts, where we send out press releases about new announcements, new solutions that are available, new customer successes, and so on. People read magazines and newspapers much like your own, to find out about new solutions in the market and how they might help them.
CEOCFO: Are there some industries where you would like to have a greater presence or new industries that you would like to have more involvement?
Mr. Carlson: Probably the most interesting and quickly changing industry right now is the healthcare space where essentially, all the legislation that has been passed over the last 10-12 years is finally coming to the market. How do we empower patients with the ability to control their own health records and be able to read that information and understand what the health record says? Historically, many of these records have all been stored on paper. However, through new legislations, the government has encouraged and some say mandated that each of the hospital systems, each of the physicians’ offices and groups and so on, automate their operations. They have been working on that over the last 2 or 3 years. We now have more than 65% of the physicians that have automated computer systems, and approximately 86% of all hospital that have automated computer systems. And, most of these hospitals are in concentrated areas, so it is affecting over 90% of the population. And, now, with what we are calling “patient engagement” initiatives, we are moving beyond just communicating the business information like what is your bill or when is your appointment, but how you effectively put a patient’s health records into a form that the patient can gain access to via the web or mobile. The patient can also be empowered with these tools so when they are referred to another physician or they have an emergency situation, they can get access to their medical records and present them to their new physician or to the emergency room staff or at a walk-in clinic.
CEOCFO: Would Napersoft be able to coordinate virtually anything?
Mr. Carlson: I would not say “anything,” but certainly one of our new focus areas is healthcare. We believe it is a big opportunity.
CEOCFO: How is business?
Mr. Carlson: Like many companies, our customers have been managing their capital investments in recent years and so there hasn’t been the same level of growth that we’ve seen in years past. However, I’m very happy to report that business is picking up, so that is the good news. And, we are very hopeful about the economy going forward. Typically, our growth rates are tied to a certain degree with the economy. If the economy goes down, then capital projects get put on hold, and as it comes back, companies start to invest in their future to make their operations more efficient and effective.
CEOCFO: Why should the business community pay attention to Napersoft?
We are a boutique company. We have worked with very large enterprises around
the world. We have customers throughout the US and Internationally. We have
been very strong in the financial sectors of banking, insurance as well as
government. We believe we are playing a new leadership role in healthcare.
We are very upbeat and positive about the future as we help large
enterprises and medium sized firms accomplish their goals. Sometimes, large
and medium sized companies get so big that they “cannot see the forest
through the trees” and so it helps to have an outsider with over a quarter
century of experience take a fresh look at their customer communications
operations. We have learned from our customers, and we are delighted to
share that collective wisdom with others.
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