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Accenture helped Canada Post create an integrated Web platform that offers both private and business clients a better, more consistent user experience. The new platform reduces costs and, more importantly, allows the company to offer new services more easily than previously—a key to driving high performance through customer service.
Canada Post is one of the world’s leading postal administrations. It delivered approximately 11 billion pieces of mail to 15 million business and residential addresses in 2010. The Canada Post Group employs some 71,000 employees, making it one of the largest employers in the country. Canada Post has been profitable for 15 consecutive years.
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Canada Post recognized early on that the Internet offered a flexible new channel through which to interact with customers. Like many companies, its website was initially a largely static brochure of services, which in time was augmented with more advanced services as the interactive possibilities of the Internet became apparent.
However, these additional interactive services—as well as new pages, a website for business clients, and even campaign-specific microsites—were added on an ad hoc basis. By 2007, Canada Post found itself with a sprawling set of websites that used disparate technologies and lacked a consistent look and feel.
“We realized that the key to our growth plans was to be able to offer all our clients services that met their needs. We also knew that these needs were constantly changing in today’s fluid and competitive business environment—we therefore needed to be in a position to react quickly,” said Don Jones, general manager, eChannel, Canada Post. “It was also plain to us that our current infrastructure and business processes were obstacles to the agility we needed to compete in today’s business world.”
Accenture was the natural choice to help. The two companies already had a 20-year track record of working together to use technology to solve business challenges. In addition, Canada Post knew that Accenture had specific experience in helping more than 100 companies leverage portals as a tool for high performance. Accenture’s experience would also shorten the time taken to select technology and vendors and complete the overall design of the new site.
Accenture’s team consisted of consulting and technical specialists, including resources from Accenture Information Management Services, our global organization dedicated to delivering information management solutions, and highly skilled in developing custom Web platforms and portals. In addition, Accenture used the Accenture Delivery Center in Toronto, part of the Accenture Global Delivery Network, to assist in development and testing, thus reducing the cost of delivery while gaining access to the right skills.
The first phase of the project was to build the technology platform for the consolidated website.
In line with the principles of service-oriented architecture, the Accenture team decoupled the user interface, business logic and data layers. This approach, which uses a services-based approach to design and build flexible IT solutions, easily combined legacy and new technologies.
Phase two involved using the new technology platform to build the new site. Accenture helped design a new information architecture for the www.canadapost.ca site, decreasing the number of pages to around 500, a reduction of almost two-thirds.
The copy on the site was also rewritten to remove jargon and make it more understandable—a further improvement in user experience.
As part of this process, the Accenture team also harmonized the various interactive tools available to all users, giving them the same look and feel and making them all accessible in a single dashboard.
Canada Post now has a single, integrated Web platform that provides both private and business users with a single portal to its services. The new portal has been designed as a cohesive entity and thus offers users a differentiated but consistent experience, and intuitive access to the services they require. This customer-centric approach is a keystone of high performance generally, and for postal organizations in particular.
For the Canada Post content and IT support teams, the new platform also offers significant benefits. Content updates are made centrally so site maintenance is much less onerous—and much more accurate. This approach also lowers the total cost of ownership, while allowing Canada Post to deploy new content immediately.
It appears that the new site meets with the approval of Canada Post’s customers. The number of visitors to the site increased by 5 percent over 15 months, while customer satisfaction rose by 8 percent over 12 months.
“With Accenture’s help, we have created a flexible, robust Web platform that allows us to offer our clients a greatly improved experience,” said Canada Post’s Jones. “The technology choices that were made have improved reliability while making it easy for us to make new services available more quickly—something that’s vital in building customer loyalty and thus in growing revenue. Most important of all, the technology is designed to accommodate future growth both in terms of scale and of new, as-yet-undreamed-of services.”
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