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CSG Systems

CSG Systems Improves Document Quality, Cuts Testing Costs with Print Perfect™

In today’s constantly changing world of customer communications, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to substantially reduce document production costs while maintaining – much less improving - document quality. Such is not the case for CSG Systems.

CSG is a leading provider of outsourced billing, customer care and print and mail solutions and services for the convergent cable and Direct Broadcast Satellite markets. In early 2006, when CSG Systems was looking for ways to improve the quality of the documents it creates on behalf of its customers, they looked to Paloma Print Products to help them:

  • improve document quality
  • cut document testing time and time to market
  • cut document testing costs.

Paloma’s Print Perfect™ solution has helped them achieve each of these objectives.

“When we first looked to automate our document testing processes”, noted Tom LaMontia, Senior Manager of Software Development, CSG Systems, “we had our sights set on a very reasonable goal – to quickly and accurately identify changes in our clients’ documents. In the end, however, we have found a whole host of ways to improve document quality while saving time and cutting costs. And Paloma’s Print Perfect™ solution is the vehicle we are using to achieve these goals.”

Document management – without the headaches

“Being a print service bureau, we must constantly look for ways to standardize the components of client billing statements. For example, areas such as bar codes, name and address blocks, and control lines can be standardized across all of our customers’ billing statements. By doing this we can keep costs low for our clients by using the same envelope and paper sizes across our entire client base”, says LaMontia.

Prior to automating its document testing processes with Print Perfect™, CSG Systems implemented a number of standardization projects.  However, using manual visual inspection was time-consuming, costly, and error-prone. Issues sometimes slipped through the cracks of CSG’s manual testing process, resulting in document rework and re-processing in some cases.

Since implementing Print Perfect™, these issues have disappeared. In the first standardization project in which Print Perfect™ was utilized, over 30 AFP-based customer statement applications were tested, covering all CSG document products such as letters, enhanced past due notices, Advanced Enhanced Statements, and Direct Solutions billing statements.  To date, not a single document error has been missed by the new Print Perfect™ automated testing process, resulting in no negative impacts to the CSG implementation timeline.

Not only has Print Perfect™ saved rework time and improved customer satisfaction, but it has improved CSG’s time to market. “Using our old manual process, any non-production print requests such as those to generate test print for manual visual inspection, could not be printed until our non-peak printing times,” says LaMontia. “If a test print request was submitted at 9:00 a.m., our developers would often need to wait until the next day to receive their test print to perform the manual visual inspection. With Print Perfect™ our developers can immediately test their changes, and with a much higher degree of accuracy.

This obviously allows us to turn around client requests for document modifications much faster and with a higher degree of quality.”

Not to mention the employee satisfaction benefits of not having to wait a full day to receive your test print. “Print Perfect™ has allowed the development staff to stay ‘on task’ and finish our project work must faster because we don’t have to jump from project to project, waiting for test print to show up at our desk,” notes Paul Hill, Test Engineer, OPC Business Solutions.

Intelligent Mail Barcodes made simple by intelligent testing

In order to keep its clients’ document production costs as low as possible, CSG Systems closely adheres to the United States Postal Service mailing guidelines.  For example, the new Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) implementation required CSG to update all of its document applications in order to keep its customers’ postage costs to a minimum. With CSG producing and mailing 800 million pieces each year for its clients, the ability to quickly take advantage of the IMB was critical.

Print Perfect™ was again instrumental in finishing this project quickly and cost-effectively. During CSG’s initial rollout of the IMB to its many document applications, Print Perfect™ was used to conduct last minute enhancement and regression tests on customer statements. The side-by-side comparison of the modified and production output were instrumental in displaying the precise location of the IMB and to validate that the statements were being created within the allowed USPS specifications. In addition, CSG was able to quickly validate that the only changes made to the statements were to the bar codes and placement of the bar codes.

But validating the IMB itself was only one component of updating its applications for the IMB.  New postal regulations also required CSG to upgrade their Pitney Bowes MailStream Plus® software to a newer version.  Print Perfect™ was again used to execute “before and after” comparisons of each document application affected by this upgrade.  And, as was the case with the CSG Standardization project, Print Perfect™ ensured that no statement impacts have occurred since the installation of the new MailStream Plus version. Says LaMontia, “With Print Perfect™, not only are we testing faster and at a lower cost, but we are much more confident in the quality of each new document or software release.”

Raising the Quality Bar through Document Management Software

When CSG decided to implement the Print Perfect™ solution in 2006, they had high expectations for improving document quality and cutting testing time and cost. They also had high expectations of Paloma Print Products.

“When we made our decision to partner with Paloma, we knew they had a robust solution that we felt would help us improve our quality control processes while lowering our document production costs.” noted LaMontia. “What we didn’t fully realize at the time was the magnitude of the impact Paloma would have on our operation. They have surpassed our expectations not only with a superior solution, but also with their impressive knowledge of document testing practices and their responsive, speedy, and knowledgeable customer support.”

LaMontia adds, “We made the right choice by partnering with Paloma and our feeling is that, even though we’ve had such phenomenal success to date, we are just scratching the surface of what Print Perfect™ can do for CSG Systems.”

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