The market of enterprise business communications solutions never lacked diversity. There are a lot of products to satisfy virtually any business need. StreamServe has always been among the leaders in Customer Communications Management. Founded in 1997, it has gradually acquired a decent customer base, developed wide functionality and passed some important milestones in its evolution. In the due course it has been given so many names it has confused almost everyone. In version 16, StreamServe merged with Exstream – a major milestone, in which it lost the name, but preserved all its great features and technological capabilities.
Our professional services division was involved in the development of StreamServe solutions and has had a lot of hands-on experience working with OpenText products. The cooperation between N-iX and StreamServe as a company started in 2005 and evolved into full-scale software development and R&D centre. Our engineers developed StreamServe 4.x, StreamServe 5.x and StreamServe Persuasion™ (later OpenText StreamServe), and provided product integration services. Therefore, we’ve been a part of the solution development and know every milestone it passed.
If you’ve used StreamServe before, if you’re using Exstream now and if you’re considering introducing this OpenText solution for Customer Communications Management to your enterprise, this historical overview will definitely come in handy for your business.
1. The Birth of Streamserve
StreamServe was established in Sweden in 1997 and started the development of its software platform for enterprise business communications. At first, the product was mainly used in Sweden, but gradually it entered the global market. StreamServe has been used by customers in the financial services, telecom, utilities, manufacturing, and other industries to produce highly complex template documents in various formats – invoices, financial statements, notification letters, production labels, transport documents and many, many more.
StreamServe has native output management functionality, which allows companies to distribute generated documents through various output channels, such as printhouses or own industrial printers, emailing, file transfers, document archiving etc. Due to this functionality, StreamServe is often referred to as ‘output management software’. However, even though StreamServe is quite powerful at managing document distribution, it also integrates with other products that are specialized in complex printer management, email delivery management (especially tracking delivered emails) and some other dedicated output management tasks.
A big part of product development was done in StreamServe R&D centres in Prague and in Lviv at N-iX. This CCM solution is used by over 5,000 customers in 130 countries. Among its clients are BMW, Posten, SEB, Volvo, Agis Insurance, China Light & Power etc.
2. Adobe LiveCycle Production Print
In 2007, StreamServe entered into partnership with Adobe to provide support for XML Forms Architecture (XFA), the format of Adobe LiveCycle Designer software. The cooperation allowed the companies to create a common design environment for the production and distribution of business-critical documents in support of both interactive and high-volume output processes.
At first Adobe sold the solution under the name of LiveCycle Production Print, and later as Adobe LiveCycle Production Print ES. It was well integrated with Adobe DesignCentre and had a big feature set which came out in several releases.
Thus Adobe customers leveraged StreamServe output management solution for providing enhanced business communications and streamlining business processes. The partnership enabled StreamServe to grow its customer base and strengthen its position on the market.
3. SAP Partnership
Two notable for StreamServe events happened in 2010. The first one was a partnership agreement with SAP, which recognized StreamServe as the preferred SAP output management system and gave the company a strong business push. StreamServe complemented SAP’s offering but it remained an independent product with its own ecosystem.
When SAP added StreamServe to their price list, they gave it their own product name – Document Presentment for SAP Solutions. Technically, this application of StreamServe acquired some new features for its integration with SAP such as SAP Connectivity Pack, which added support for a number of native SAP data formats.
Tighter integration with SAP was introduced with Document Present Live – the SAP add-on used StreamServe engine to create template documents from SAP interface on demand. For example, you may choose a client in SAP CRM, then select a certain StreamServe template and create a letter. The solution also featured an approval process. So many people could work together in a controllable environment where you may create template documents, control the blocks others are allowed to edit, set restrictions on different authors etc.
For OpenText and specifically StreamServe consultants, this partnership brought a significant increase in new client requests since the company acquired a lot of fresh business. For N-iX, it meant a lot of onsite work, intensive business trips, new challenging tasks, and a lot of useful experience.
4. Merger with OpenText
The other event of 2010 dramatically changed the course of StreamServe history. OpenText acquired StreamServe and classified it in the CCM – Customer Communications Management product group. For a few years, StreamServe was the only OpenText solution for Customer Communications Management, and by referring to OpenText CCM people would mean StreamServe.
5. Customer Communications Enterprise
In 2015, OpenText made a huge effort to integrate all its products in one product line which was named OpenText Suite 16. In this release, StreamServe was combined with newly acquired PowerDocs, a cloud-based tool for creating customer documents.
StreamServe was best used for batch processing, since it could quickly process large volumes of output and data as well as handle a lot of documents. Whereas PowerDocs was designed for on-demand output management and had tight integration with MS Word and Salesforce.
The combined product was called Customer Communications Management, or CCM. The StreamServe part was renamed to Customer Communications Enterprise (CCE), and the PowerDocs part was renamed to Customer Communications CRM. Customer Communications CRM had a small customer base, but those few were big players on the market.
Incidentally, version 16 introduced a lot of new functionality. Also, some major existing features have been revamped. Most customers skipped versions 16.0 and 16.1, awaiting a stable release. However, version 16.2 brought not only bug fixes and new features. It brought about a new name change.
6. OpenText Exstream
In June 2016, OpenText announced the acquisition of HP Exstream, perhaps the most popular Customer Communications Management solutions, used by many large enterprises across the globe.
The solution performs multi-channel customer communications creation and delivery. It has similar functionality to StreamServe and tackles similar tasks. Exstream has a bigger customer base and is reputed for fast performance, which is achieved by sacrificing the flexibility of the system that cannot be so easily customized to various business needs and specific CCM tasks.
OpenText strategically decided to merge StreamServe and Exstream into one product. So engineers at OpenText took StreamServe as a basis and supplemented it with Exstream’s design tools and processing engine. At this point, StreamServe lost its name to Exstream. It didn’t lose its technology though.
This rebranding was really confusing to the users of both products. They thought they had to switch to Exstream and feared that their StreamServe systems would become redundant. Our clients thought that we had to learn a new product from scratch. However, the situation was quite the opposite, because the names and the functionality lived separate lives.
OpenText had good reasons to keep as much of StreamServe as they could. In particular, StreamServe boasted Design Center – the powerful environment for building solution architecture; StoryTeller – the superior document design tool; tight integration with OpenText ecosystem; and a series of other advantages. So the name changed mostly for marketing reasons.
The latest release of OpenText Exstream solution combines the best of Exstream and Communications Center (StreamServe and PowerDocs) into one powerful “CCM Anywhere” platform. Today OpenText Exstream clients include British American Tobacco, E.ON, Fujitsu, Heathrow Airport, Credit Agricole Group, Tata Power, Mitsubishi, Toshiba America Energy Systems, Delphi, HP, Coca-Cola Refrescos Bandeirantes, and many others.
OpenText has gone a long way to deserve its place among the leaders of enterprise information management. It has consistently introduced innovations and extended its offering by new powerful CCM solutions. So it comes as no surprise that Gartner positioned the company as a leader in Customer Communications Management and a top vendor for digital transformation for two consecutive years.
StreamServe has played a major role in this success. It has complemented OpenText product suite with the best tools for delivering smooth and personalized customer communications. Today all its functionality is preserved in Exstream. Hundreds of global enterprises and renown brands are leveraging this OpenText solution for Customer Communications Management to enable interactive, automated, unified communications and to transition to digital customer experiences with minimal disruption.
Our OpenText consultants have enough experience and expertise to help you reap the same benefits. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions whether you want to extend your existing OpenText solution functionality or you need to build your CCM solution from scratch.