Frequently Asked Questions
regarding “Document Output Management”
Below you will find frequently asked questions that are being raised regularly with regards to Cincom ChannelStream and document output in general. If you don’t find the answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
- Which output channels are being covered by Cincom ChannelStream, and how do you ensure that they all match corporate branding?
- Can input streams from various business units, document composition systems and geographical locations be combined and treated together?
- Can Cincom ChannelStream only be used in conjunction with recent document composition systems?
- What if you don’t have a dedicated interface to our document composition system?
- Do we need to provide input streams to Cincom ChannelStream, or can ChannelStream actively retrieve the data from our composition tools?
- Does Cincom ChannelStream handle both batch and interactive output?
- Which volume or which frequency of document production is required so that the implementation of a tool such as Cincom ChannelStream makes sense?
- What formats of data input streams can be handled by Cincom ChannelStream?
- If document output has been outsourced to a service provider, to what extent does it still make sense to consider Cincom ChannelStream?
- Can we see the status of the output and ensure that nothing is lost during the multiple steps of the output process?
- Do you support any archiving systems?
- Can Cincom Systems provide professional services during the implementation of Cincom ChannelStream?
Which output channels are being covered by Cincom ChannelStream, and how do you ensure that they all match corporate branding?
ChannelStream literally covers all output channels including print, fax, e-mail, e-billing, web pages, mobile channels, archive systems, databases and other applications. New channels (i.e., social media) are being added as they emerge. Independently of the channel selected (by the business user, via database fields or by the customer), your corporate branding will always be ensured and specifically adapted to match the special requirements of each specific communication.
Can input streams from various business units, document composition systems and geographical locations be combined and treated together?
Yes. Cincom ChannelStream is a very flexible tool that allows you to retrieve a variety of input data streams, regardless of where they come from and which format they are in. As soon as the link is made between the source systems and ChannelStream, the ChannelStream engine will work on all streams, and you can manipulate them as you like.
Can Cincom ChannelStream only be used in conjunction with recent document composition systems?
No. The big strength of ChannelStream is that it not only works with modern composition systems of all types, but equally older legacy systems that lack flexibility, user-friendly composition and graphical layout. In these cases, you can take advantage of ChannelStream for enriching your documents by adding colour, graphical components and/or TransPromo elements to the former documents that were text-heavy and looked out of style. This will enable you to maintain your key legacy systems without neglecting your corporate branding and putting at risk a consistent customer experience.
What if you don’t have a dedicated interface to our document composition system?
If we do not have a dedicated interface to your particular composition system, it’s very likely that we can pick up its data stream with a specific ChannelStream module called CollectStream. This powerful module allows us to flexibly react to any given situation rather than requiring heavy interfaces for given composition systems.
Do we need to provide input streams to Cincom ChannelStream, or can ChannelStream actively retrieve the data from our composition tools?
Generally both ways are possible, and an evaluation by your on-site document experts needs to occur to determine the best option.
If your applications are capable of sending production requests to ChannelStream via web services and in turn receive data and results from ChannelStream, then you can obviously choose to manage your document output workflow from within your existing business applications.
Should you prefer ChannelStream to handle your document production process, a specific ChannelStream component called CollectStream will acquire your data and respectively your data stream files and then schedule the production according to your defined rules. Given that multiple output jobs are thus combined, ChannelStream can streamline the entire production. Through intelligent scheduling of the retrieved documents/communications, the overall production volume can be optimised and the best delivery method at the best price can be identified.
Does Cincom ChannelStream handle both batch and interactive output?
Yes. ChannelStream covers for batch, interactive and on-demand output with the same tool. Any input data and data stream files can be acquired by ChannelStream and then combined. Whatever the origin or objective of the solution that’s delivering the content, ChannelStream allows you to group the data and thus optimise your document production. This is a key factor to creating an Automated Document Factory.
Which volume or which frequency of document production is required so that the implementation of a tool such as Cincom ChannelStream makes sense?
We would generally recommend companies with more than one million outgoing documents per year to look into a powerful document output solution. However, there are other criteria than just volume alone such as the frequency of the output and the complexity and inflexibility of your current infrastructure.
What formats of data input streams can be handled by Cincom ChannelStream?
The main data input formats are AFPDS, PDF and DJDE/LCDS, but ChannelStream can equally handle other file formats such as the Cincom Document Solutions proprietary format. Since the underlying technology allows us to flexibly adapt and expand ChannelStream functionalities, we can easily offer additional formats upon request.
If document output has been outsourced to a service provider, to what extent does it still make sense to consider Cincom ChannelStream?
Obviously this answer depends on which processes you’ve outsourced and whether it’s a partial outsourcing or all of the document output. In many cases, at least the incorporation of postal contracts is a big advantage, permitting you to benefit from reduced postal charges based on particular criteria that are stored within ChannelStream. The output stream could then be passed on with the corresponding information to your service provider for further processing.
Can we see the status of the output and ensure that nothing is lost during the multiple steps of the output process?
Yes you can. Embedded in Cincom ChannelStream is a central output control that performs both integrity and integrality checks for each output job. At any time, you can check which flows are being treated, their progress, through which channel they’ve entered and which media will be used to produce them. You can stop or restart any given step and reprint selected documents if needed.
Using the dashboard that’s integrated within the product, you can also see the current workload of your production facilities — down to the level of the individual document — and corroborate this information with an integrity check that ensures that all documents have been printed, enveloped and then passed to the mail processing machine.
Do you support any archiving systems?
Yes. With Cincom ChannelStream’s flexibility regarding file formats, literally any conventional archiving system is supported. Once an archiving strategy has been defined and implemented in ChannelStream, any communication produced could, for instance, be immediately and automatically transferred to your archiving platform and/or to an interface of your target application. You could also set up ChannelStream to not only produce a PDF file for each individual communication that’s sent out, but also, for example, generate an additional companion file in xml format for the entire output job if your company required it.
Can Cincom Systems provide professional services during the implementation of Cincom ChannelStream?
Of course. Our project manager and consultants have both deep market knowledge as well as long-term experience in the document area. They will not only be able to quickly understand your situation with all specific details and issues, but they will also be best equipped to suggest a solution that will be suitable for your particular needs. One key criterion for us is to avoid an over-service that would not be appropriate or required for your situation.