Complete Communications Solutions

The Data Group

The Ontario based print and communications company also knows its client base. “We have client relationships that almost cover that span of six decades,” Mr. Halliday says. “Forty five years some clients have been with us.” After six decades on the job, these market leaders aren’t about to slow down. Instead, the dynamic team is committed to providing business communication solutions that best fit today’s changing world.

The company is consciously evolving with its clients, and the result has been to move far beyond traditional print solutions. “We are really more than just the print guys,” Mr. Halliday says of the relatively recent transformation. “[Clients] can look to us for a much broader range of business communications capabilities.” President and CEO Michael Suksi has been actively leading the company into its new, broadened scope of services. “A fundamental component of [Mr. Suksi’s] strategic growth plan is positioning the company as a managed business communications services provider, which is just the very logical evolution for us and our clients,” Mr. Halliday explains.

Industry Leadership

The Data Group has managed to stay at the top of its market space for decades. Mr. Halliday insists that the underlying strategy is actually quite simple: “We do what we say we will do,” he explains. “We follow through for our clients.” Getting it right every time is crucial in an industry that regularly supplies custom made products, Mr. Suksi points out. “Reliability is a critical success factor. And customers have clearly told the industry over the years that they are less than satisfied with the level of reliability of the industry. We have decided over the years to differentiate ourselves [by being] reliable and dependable… That has historically, over the sixty years, been one of the key platforms to our growth.”

A clear strategy of growth through acquisition has also been key to success. “We have managed the business effectively,” Mr. Suksi explains, and as a result, the company has been able to carry out a number of crucial buyouts along the way. A third contributing factor to long term success has been the company’s personalized, relevant solutions. “Regardless of what point in time and where the technology is, we’ve always focused on offering as broad a range of solutions to clients as possible,” Mr. Suksi reports.

The Data Group is leading the way in green initiatives as well. In fact, the company has a long history of environmentally friendly policies. For instance, the team has been using recycled paper and utilizing recycling programs for more than three decades. “We’ve been involved with this for many years,” Mr. Suksi points out. “It is nothing new to us.”

Today, the company’s environmental strategy focuses on two key goals. One is to actively move toward an increasing number of electronic solutions to eliminate the need for paper and production; the second is to make any remaining production processes as environmentally friendly as possible. “We are measuring our carbon footprint, we are reducing it, and we are also buying carbon offsets,” Mr. Suksi explains. The company is also carefully measuring the environmental impact of all other unwanted by-products – from noxious emissions to landfill bound waste – and is actively working to reduce it.

The team works closely with environmental advocacy groups to ensure that the company’s initiatives are effective. For example, The Data Group is heavily involved with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an independent body that certifies environmental programs. The Data Group makes it a point to use FSC approved paper and to maintain FSC approval for all of its major manufacturing plants.

Maintaining a leading role in the industry has earned The Data Group a strong base of loyal – and high profile – clients. “Our client base really is the Canadian Fortune 500 client list,” Mr. Halliday points out. This base includes many of Canada’s major banks, insurers, and retailers, as well as federal, provincial, and local government. Bank of Montreal, Canada Post, CIBC, and Shell are just a few big name clients that rely on The Data Group for managed business communications solutions.

Business Solutions

The Data Group evolves alongside its clients in order to continually meet their business communication needs. Most recently, this has meant progressing beyond the realm of print to offer a comprehensive communication solution. The team made the decision to expand its scope of services “through constant and close dialogue with our clients, [by] looking at some of the ongoing challenges that they have, and by looking at how we can collectively evolve our offering to better support their needs,” Mr. Halliday explains.

Specifically, The Data Group aims to help clients achieve several key goals – increasing revenue, reducing cost, mitigating risk and increasing client satisfaction. The underlying question, Mr. Halliday explains, was “How can we broaden our offering to evolve with our clients to support them in those initiatives? And that led us [to become a] management communications services provider.” Specific managed communications solutions include Managed Print, Digital Direct Marketing, Marketing Campaign Management, and Document Process Management.

Printing services are still an important part of The Data Group’s offerings, and the company continues to offer a fully managed print solution, which means that every aspect of a client’s paper communications is fully covered. For example, when any branch of the Bank of Montreal needs a hard copy of a particular document, the bank employee can order it directly through The Data Group’s online system. The company will then produce the document on demand or pull it from inventory, and ship the required number of copies to the branch location. “We manage the design, the layout, the production, the warehousing, the distribution [and] the logistics,” Mr. Halliday explains. “So it is a fully outsourced print management program.”

Digital communication solutions are rapidly gaining traction however, and have become a key focus for the forward thinking company. “In addition to providing our clients with this overall, holistic management of their print, we are now, with our managed business communications solution, bringing an ever expanding range of electronic solutions that will, frankly, replace print,” Mr. Suksi reports. “The client wants to move more and more toward electronic solutions, going paperless. And we are facilitating that. We will provide you with the print-based, paper-based solution and help you evolve to an electronic solution.”

For instance, The Data Group is helping clients transition from purely paper-based direct marketing techniques to ones that embrace digital solutions as well. “Cross channel direct marketing evolved from us originally doing direct mail for the clients,” Mr. Suksi explains. “And now we are [still] doing direct mail, but also all those electronic forms of direct marketing as well.” Marketing Campaign Management is another marketing solution in which the team will automate a client’s workflow using software to help increase efficiency.

Document Process Management is a service that improves a client’s underlying business processes in order to increase communications efficiency. “Many of those processes are not as efficient as they could be,” Mr. Halliday explains. The Data Group’s experts will carefully analyze a client’s processes and implement the necessary changes, which will typically involve an increase in digital communications. For example, the team has recently converted around 1,900 documents from paper to electronic form for the Bank of Montreal. Clients can also hand the reins over entirely by choosing the Document Process Outsourcing service, the company’s most complete document processing solution.

The overall purpose of all these solutions, Mr. Halliday says, is to provide “technology and professional services to help our clients move forward with more modern systems.” Indeed, staying abreast of changing times and shifting markets is certainly crucial, but so is staying true to the core values that brought success in the first place. The Data Group built the business by “doing what we say we will do,” Mr. Suksi points out. “And we will keep that. We better not get away from that. But, we also are going to become highly innovative with technology oriented solutions and professional services. We will be thought leaders in our space.”

July 17, 2018, 7:35 AM EDT

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