New Macro 4 software promises to reduce costs of customer retention by automating personalization

Columbus information management software adds new capabilities to improve the quality of multi-channel customer communications

Crawley, UK, June 8, 2023 – Macro 4, a division of UNICOM® Global, has today announced a new release of its Columbus enterprise information management (EIM) suite which is set to reduce the cost of customer retention for organizations aiming to make savings during the economic downturn. New Columbus capabilities will help businesses improve the quality of digital customer interactions by increasing personalization, and can be implemented without requiring any changes to core business systems. New user interfaces have also been added to improve efficiency when managing enterprise content and business-critical output.

1. Enhanced dynamic personalization improves customer engagement

Columbus helps organizations manage automated interactions at scale between diverse systems, people and channels, whether processing customer requests or delivering targeted, personalized communications. New Columbus features make it easier to adapt interactions dynamically throughout the customer journey, in response to how customers and employees react.

As organizations rely more on automation and self-service in order to manage costs and do more with less, it’s important to be able to incorporate a high degree of flexibility to ensure customers are treated as individuals, explains Darren Jack, Senior Manager, Consultancy and Development, at Macro 4:

“Take the simple example of utility customers using self-service to submit their meter readings on their supplier’s website or app. Columbus can set up an automated process for customers to enter their reading as well as upload an image of that reading – triggering an internal check to compare the two readings using AI. Columbus can create a dialogue between internal systems to compare the submitted information with the customer’s previous readings and, if there’s a discrepancy, send a personalized follow-up message. If the customer is struggling, Columbus can escalate to a human agent to help resolve the issue.”

screenshot showing dynamic personalization for a utility customer

Columbus manages interactions across multiple channels, such as email, text, and pop-up web forms. For example, if a business wants to drive an automated process to encourage customers to switch from paper bills to online bills, the system can identify customers who are still relying on paper and send an automated SMS asking them to switch. Those who say yes can be asked to confirm how they prefer to receive online bills – if they choose email they can be prompted to submit their preferred email address, and Columbus will adapt the delivery process, and pass any data updates to core business systems.

“The new functionality we’ve added gives organizations the ability to adapt automated processes ‘in the moment’ to deliver personalized interactions – and they can achieve this very quickly, without making costly system changes,” said Darren Jack. “For example, a company might have three applications – billing, customer service and sales order processing – which need to exchange information when a customer makes a purchase. Columbus orchestrates the interactions between those systems and the customer and adapts processes on the fly, depending on how the customer responds. Crucially it does this without you needing to re-write code or add new functionality directly to those existing systems.”

A new interactive dashboard interface for Columbus provides a real-time view of all automated interactions, giving business users the ability to step in and take over when needed. A supervisor can also use the dashboard to reallocate actions to different team members to avoid workload bottlenecks.

2. New enterprise content management interface delivers a personalized user experience

Columbus users can organize and share large volumes of documents and other important business content while meeting data protection requirements and achieving regulatory compliance.

Columbus has a new enterprise content management interface that can be tailored in multiple ways to meet the requirements of different organizations, users and use cases, as Darren Jack explained:

“The new web user interface is our most customizable yet, so it’s easier than ever for businesses to adapt it to their needs. You can take our out-of-the-box interface and use it as it is, or create a totally personalized user experience in minutes by adding, removing or changing features.

“For example, some users may only need a very simple view for accessing and sharing documents, while others might want data mining, advanced searches, and workflow. The same web interface can also be used to create self-service portal applications for customers or employees – such as eInvoicing and HR – and you can add your own corporate branding to make it your own.

“We’ve also improved functionality, with a range of new features to help multi-taskers, and the interface has a stylish new look and feel, while responsive design delivers an optimal experience on mobile devices.”

screenshot of enterprise content management system

3. New enterprise output management interface speeds resolution of business-critical printing problems 

With printed documents continuing to play a central role in key business processes, from supply chain management to invoicing, Columbus keeps business-critical printing running smoothly alongside digital delivery, protecting against print delays or failures which can cause service interruptions and loss of revenue.

Macro 4 has added a new graphical dashboard which gives administrators a ‘bird’s eye’ view of all enterprise output, allowing them to identify and resolve potential problems more quickly. The dashboard provides a real-time status of active jobs, color coded to highlight any that require immediate attention. From the dashboard users can drill down to access further information to rapidly diagnose the source of individual print problems.

screenshot of enterprise output management dashboard

4. Enhanced web interface simplifies mainframe output management for non-mainframers 

Columbus now has an enhanced web-based graphical user interface for monitoring and controlling printing within the IBM zSystems mainframe environment. The new menu-driven interface makes it much easier for non-experts to manage mainframe printing, as Darren Jack explains:

“Many enterprises want to plug skills shortages by enabling those without a deep understanding of mainframe terminology and traditional 3270 interfaces to work with zSystems more easily. Our new web interface for mainframe output management is jargon free and intuitive, so anybody can use it.

“Our aim was to create a flexible interface where you can pick and choose functionality to meet the needs of different users. You can create simplified views for operators, focused on basic functions like viewing, printing or cancelling print jobs, and we have kept terminology generic so you don’t need to understand zSystems to manage mainframe output. At the same time we have kept all the capabilities of the 3270 interface, so advanced users can access all of those too. And because it is a browser-based interface it makes the mainframe more accessible. Rather than being tied to their desks, users can view and manage mainframe printing on the move, from their phone or tablet.”

screenshot of mainframe output management web interface

5. Simplified B2B electronic invoicing that supports the latest EU electronic invoicing standards

Organizations can streamline business-to-business transactions by using Columbus to exchange information with each other in machine-readable XML formats. This approach saves time and effort by allowing business applications to process data automatically, avoiding the need for manual data entry. Columbus can transform any data or document content into custom XML formats to suit different businesses and their trading partners.

The new Columbus launch has added support for the latest European Union electronic invoicing standards, including XRechnung 2.2.0, as well as Factur-X and ZUGFeRD, which prescribe specific XML data exchange formats to support frictionless trade. The new capabilities build on Macro 4’s strengths in the electronic invoicing space and allow organizations to comply with EU eInvoicing directives with minimal administrative effort.

Columbus product demonstrations

The following short demonstrations give a taste of the latest Columbus functionality:

About Columbus The Columbus enterprise information management (EIM) suite helps organizations to share business content across multiple channels and applications, create compelling, personalized communications, and meet their regulatory obligations for managing documents and unstructured data. Columbus connects people and processes with the information they need and provides business intelligence for more informed decision making.

About Macro 4

Macro 4, a division of UNICOM Global, develops software solutions that accelerate business transformation. Macro 4’s cross-platform enterprise information management solutions make it easy for companies to go digital, personalize customer communications and unlock the value of their corporate content. Macro 4 solutions for DevOps, session management and performance optimization are used by many of the world’s largest enterprises to modernize their mainframe applications and development processes.

About UNICOM® Global

UNICOM Global consists of more than fifty (50) corporate entities encompassing a wide range of businesses across all geographic regions. With its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, California, to offices in Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia, throughout EMEA in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland and the UAE, and across Asia/Pacific with locations in Japan, China, India, Australia, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines.

UNICOM Global offers deep in-house resources and flexible IT solutions to our partners worldwide. UNICOM Global focuses on acquiring and integrating mature and growing mid-cap NASDAQ, London Stock Exchange AIM and German publicly-traded companies in technology, financing, IT, real estate, and business services. Please visit our websites for additional information about the services, products and solutions that UNICOM Global offers:

UNICOM Global - Assets, capital and investment management

UNICOM Systems - IBM Mainframe software products

UNICOM Government (formerly NASDAQ: GTSI) - Government IT solutions

UNICOM Engineering (formerly NASDAQ: NEI) Appliance platform

UNICOM Science and Technology Parks

UNICOM Technology Park – Innovation Labs in Virginia

UNICOM Science and Technology Park – Innovation Labs in New Jersey

UNICOM Capital - Business and Financial Services

USRobotics - Data communications products

Memeo - Enterprise-grade Secure File Sharing for the Cloud

Firetide - Wireless technology solutions for security and transportation

DETEC - Document composition products

SoftLanding Systems - IBM i software products

Macro 4 (formerly LONDON: MAO) - Document Management products

illustro - z/OS and z/VSE software products

iET Solutions - ITSM software products

Eden - Mergers & Acquisitions, Business & Financial Services, and Real Estate - Hardware, Software, Outsourcing and Professional Services

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