Digital Opportunities for the Postal Industry

A Microsoft White Paper October 2007

| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry

Contents
Contents ..................................................................................................................................................... 2 Executive Summary .................................................................................................................................... 3 An Amazing Industry .................................................................................................................................. 4 A Challenging Environment, Multiple Strategies ....................................................................................... 5 The Once Unified Post, Telegraph and Telecommunications .................................................................... 9 Five Key Digital Opportunities for the Postal Industry ............................................................................. 10 How Microsoft Can Help .......................................................................................................................... 19 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................ 20

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yet there is no doubt that safer. cheaper channels will continue to challenge it. They have the potential to create a secured space where senders and receivers would be authenticated and could securely transact with the same or an even greater level of trust than that afforded in the physical world. and in what form they will receive them. the physical delivery network. We believe there is no better time to address this transformation than the present. Senders can choose what communication media. People now take media choices for granted. how. or combination of media. Today. Many posts have already initiated “e-postal” services with varying degrees of success. with their far-reaching networks and close contact with the world’s population. their ability to verify a person’s identity and address. This paper examines some of the digital opportunities for postal leaders to transform postal services by introducing new services that bridge the physical and electronic worlds. times have changed: people and businesses now have many ways to communicate.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry Executive Summary Posts have been delivering secured communication services in the physical world for decades. Posts are in a unique position to put the trust they have earned in the physical world to use in the digital world. Traditional mail is a proven and efficient means of communication. These assets include their positions as trusted organizations. Recipients are more willing to choose what communications they want to receive and where. 3|P a g e . However. will be the most efficient and have the greatest impact. and. and it addresses how Microsoft could support posts as they put their e-postal services roadmaps into practice. the key question for postal organization leaders is how to step into the electronic world and combine traditional businesses with new digital opportunities that might seem to cannibalize the traditional business. Posts have many assets that could be valuable in enabling secure trading and communication on both the local and global scale via the Internet. and accessibility. they will probably continue to do so for a long time.

No matter where people travel in the world. Widespread reach and availability through the international network of post offices and their local presences. and retail services. including mail communication services. (To learn more about the global postal industry and the UPU. but the scope of decisions was limited and failed to reach an international postal agreement. as country membership grew very quickly. a video created by the UPU is hosted on its Web site at http://www.upu. which is far more than other fast-growing communication technologies. 4|P a g e . people can now reach nearly 96 percent of the world’s population using postal services. parcel. such as mobile phones or the Internet. Take a letter or a postcard. A second attempt in 1874 led to the signing of the Treaty of Berne and the creation of the General Postal Union.shtml). and the standard agreements between all the countries in the world. the General Postal Union changed its name to the Universal Postal Union (UPU). Relationships with governments and the ability to deliver government services through multiple channels. the UPU. Because the process is typically so efficient and transparent. The ability to combine physical and electronic transactions. The delivery network. and retail services—across the country and around the globe. Thanks to posts. write a message and the destination address. postal services will be available and ready to serve them as they do in their own home countries. composed of postal delivery workers. it can be tempting to overlook the level of performance delivered by the people that built this highly reliable and secure worldwide physical delivery network. The ease of use of postal products and services. a first international conference was held in Paris in 1863. Posts have great assets and strengths.int/about_us/en/upu_video.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry An Amazing Industry Today’s postal industry is remarkable. A number of general principles for mutual agreements were laid down. Posts have been a key to the economic development of their respective countries. They provide multiple core services. To move toward standardization. a country had to negotiate a separate bilateral agreement with each country it wished to exchange international mail. In 1878. Prior to 1874. attach the correct postage. by which it is known today. All these services are necessary to local and global communication and trade. especially considering the millions of physical and electronic transactions they handle each day. mail. parcel delivery. and drop the item into a mailbox: the post will take care of the rest and get the message to the recipient in a secured manner anywhere on the planet. including:          The trust of postal services customers worldwide. financial transactions. The address management system. The ability to deliver multiple business services—including financial. The overall reliability of postal services.

La Poste. Moreover. Royal Mail and many other Posts have deployed interesting retail strategies to optimize their post office network revenues through product and service diversification. Multiple Strategies Many market studies. privatization. should we attach to our worldwide postal industry infrastructure and services? Summary: Posts are multicore businesses with extraordinary assets. universal service obligation. at what pace? How can universal service be maintained in a competitive market environment? What will be the impact of a full competitive environment on traditional postal services? These are good questions with no easy answers. In a fast-changing world with new means of communication. global. Deutsche Post. consistent leadership team that sets the vision for the future. competition. New Zealand Post. but it sets the stage for the future opportunities posts can investigate to keep and grow their competitive advantage. What value. In addition. globalization. postal organizations do have the ability to choose which direction to go to be successful in the future. Poste Italiane. then.6 billion pieces of mail wouldn’t be distributed. environmental policies. Swiss Post. The worldwide postal industry plays a key role in economic development at both the local and global levels. press articles. by keeping these types of challenges and questions in mind. If postal services were to stop working for a day. many key questions have been raised. and regulatory framework. A clear and consistent strategy built around core and new postal business capabilities. It is interesting to review the roads that leading postal organizations have taken in recent years to face these challenges and concerns. including:    Will the physical mail volumes decrease and if so. 5|P a g e . workforce. However. posts are better equipped to shape their futures proactively. and other items have described the challenges that posts face. especially if they generate less profit. customers. look old-fashioned. Deutsche Post. postal services are still highly relevant. have developed specific agreements with their governments to deliver government services through post offices for the convenience of citizens. Australia Post. Some posts.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry This list may not be exhaustive. and Poste Italiane have invested in their financial activities to compete in the marketplace with other financial institutions. The financial and management capacity to execute a strategy over time. secured shipment solutions. Deutsche Post. and the observations of the past 10 years show that regardless of dire predictions. World Net. Some common criteria observed within posts that are successful today include:    A strong. and TNT are good examples of major posts that have successfully deployed their strategic intent to be leaders in the global express/parcels marketplace. A Challenging Environment. technology and substitution. or move at a slower pace compared to more recently created high tech companies. including. In addition. Their successes were achieved through major acquisitions and integration efforts to build real global networks that fulfill the demand for reliable. like Poste Italiane. the consequences to the worldwide economy would be significant and 1. It may be tempting to underestimate the value and potential of postal organizations.

In 2001. It was probably not the right timing. These transformations did not happen overnight. product development. Some other reasons may have been:     Insufficient culture to tolerate the risks. posts had to carefully choose their investment priorities. many visionary posts saw the opportunity around e-commerce and other digital opportunities and invested in new business models related to the Internet.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry Most postal organizations have invested millions to automate their mail processes to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of their mail operations and make it possible to deliver mail in record times. and the diversification was probably too brutal and too far away from posts’ core businesses. and posts. This partnership trend between Posts and major IT companies will probably continue and grow as the physical and digital world continues to converge. Insufficient shareholder support to pursue a digital strategy. 6|P a g e . While some of these investments might have paid off over a longer period. It took long years and huge investment programs for these changes to come about. Lack of sufficient capital to invest. technology. Now e-commerce is booming. as well as private express/parcels companies. are benefiting from their investments in their traditional core physical businesses and limiting the risks of diversification by creating alliances and partnerships with pure Internet players. Lack of sufficient 'digital' capabilities in marketing. Success was not always achieved. sales. yet most stopped their investments a few years later. and some postal organizations had to change direction or discontinue some of the new businesses in which they had invested.

Some posts decided to diversify their businesses and explore new business opportunities around their core capabilities. Some Posts have conducted interesting acquisitions in the printing and direct marketing business.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry Figure 1: The scheme presents some of the initiatives that posts have deployed or are still deploying to address some of the challenges. prepare the mailings and distribute the mail) seem to have had a great success and will probably continue to grow at domestic and at international scale. In the mail business alone. It allows them to provide full end-to-end mail services to their major customers. The range of possible diversification is broad. Hybrid mail services (customers send electronic files and Posts print them. there are many diversification possibilities within the mail value chain by which posts could exploit the opportunity of the growing demand for direct marketing mailings. 7|P a g e .

Much creativity and innovation has been delivered by posts and postal vendors to bring the advantages of technology into postal processes. The success mostly comes from a visionary leadership setting the strategy and the ability of the organization to execute from a financial and managerial standpoint in a consistent manner. Summary: Posts face multiple challenges and have deployed various strategies and tactics to respond to these challenges to protect and grow their businesses. 8|P a g e . Examples of successful diversification are mostly observed around the core traditional postal businesses. generate new revenues. and deliver the right level of quality for the proposed services. Overall. and it is interesting to observe the various strategies and tactics that have been deployed in the past to optimize the cost structures. there are no magic responses to the challenges posts face. protect the existing revenues.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry Figure 2: Efforts to diversify postal businesses are expanding the mail value chain into new areas of endeavor.

multiple local and global businesses make available various telecommunication services. which makes them more complex for customers to manage. Seeing the opportunities in rising mobile communication. communication (traditional phone. the United Kingdom’s Royal Mail has garnered much attention since it opened its market in early 2006. Visit a single. This certainly led to more choice for customers. new entrants invested in mobile networks. call many different service centers. in either a personal/consumer role or a business role. In the 1990s. the telecom industry went its own way. convenience. most posts around the world are still government-owned organizations. and Internet access. Governments will probably continue to finance part of the industry to maintain some kind of universal service. Government-owned post. Today. and simplicity needed to handle many transactions remotely. government. Internet provider). and telecommunications providers were partially or totally sold to the public. insurance. the postal industry will probably follow the same trend that characterized other progressively deregulated markets. and logistics businesses. Imagine the future of postal services and consider the experiences that an individual. governments owned the postal and telecommunications organizations. and improved services. Electronic access to these services through computers and mobile phones has certainly contributed positively to providing the integration. In the longer term. online payment. Only governments could afford to build such complex and costly but strategic physical and telecommunications networks for the economic development of a country. They still have monopolies on some areas of their mail businesses. Each of these new businesses has acquired expertise within its own domain by focusing on its core business.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry The Once Unified Post. each striving for service excellence. but most of the other areas compete with private operators in the financial. people have to manage multiple passwords. which will probably include a mix of access to electronic services along with physical delivery. and revenue growth. and repeat their needs to various customer service operators. but this has created isolated services that are no longer connected to each other. trusted. nearby location to handle all of the banking. organizations like the state-owned PTT were transformed into multiple private and public companies. tax payment). on a single. could have if it were possible to do the following:   Handle all bills and personal transactions online. and secure Web site. Telegraph and Telecommunications Not so long ago. visit numerous physical sites. give private personal data to multiple providers. including traditional phones. mobile phone. telegraph. and healthcare transactions that cannot be done online. home delivery of goods) for themselves. Over time. For example. Consumers now have more choices than ever before for their electronic communications. Yet to gain the most from these services. which meant that the primary forms of distance communication were consolidated in organizations such as the Post. and delivery services (post office. cost optimization. more price competition. The privatization trend in the postal industry and the clear separation of the posts’ different core businesses will certainly contribute to increasing complexity for customers. mobile phones. parcel. Individuals in their work or private roles must now find time to manage this complexity and integrate all their financial (banking. and the market was deregulated. All countries around the world are carefully watching some larger postal markets that are being opened to competition. While the telecom industry went its own way. though with some variations on the way physical delivery is done today. manage unwanted communications. Some countries have opened their mail markets to competition and have started to feel the effect of that competition in the more profitable areas: big cities. Telegraph and Telecommunication (PTT). 9|P a g e .

large mailers. privacy. medium.” 1 By maintaining traditional delivery methods while building trusted and secured electronic links to their customers—including private consumers. and retail services. The Postal Project. In addition to enabling secure online communications. and effective distribution of goods have quickly become key issues. Five Key Digital Opportunities for the Postal Industry Thomas E. Universal Service Facilitates access to Information. MRI. These innovative organizations offer examples of how posts can become our daily-life services integrators by combining the physical world and the electronic world to provide convenience and choice to their customers in a trusted. some posts have recently decided to provide mobile phone and broadband services for use by consumers. progressive posts are diversifying their services to reclaim some of this spectrum of service and build a broader revenue base. secured environment. delivery. Telegraph and Telecommunication. Choose the delivery method for sending private or business communications based on the receivers’ preferences (for example. For businesses and governments making a foray into cyberspace. and other business users—posts can open the door to a myriad of new business opportunities. Deregulation split these organizations apart and made it possible for private providers to focus on delivering some of the services that were previously controlled by governments. trust and security. Interestingly. the information and communication technologies are by no means without challenges. and trust who you are actually communicating with. governments.postalproject. http://www. because the users are all securely authenticated by a trusted third party.asp?d_ID=2444 10 | P a g e . financial. Telegraph and Telecommunication. posts can employ these new technologies and 1 Pushing the Envelope. former director general of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union. in a move that harkens back to the unified services that characterized organizations like the Post.com/documents. due to sender and receiver authentication. trusted services to help you in your busy business and private life. as trusted companies that already provide a large range of communication. and small businesses as well as consumers/citizens. Who will make this happen? Your telco provider? Your bank? Your government? Your post? Other companies you don’t even know about now? Posts. Communicate online in a more secure manner.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry      Choose the correspondence and information you actually want to receive. 15/05/2004. Summary: Formerly. have a unique opportunity to make things easier for millions of large. Today. when. Posts are uniquely positioned to meet each one of these challenges. the primary communication utilities were grouped into organizations such as the Post. has summarized the current technological situation as follows: “For all the speed and convenience they offer. where. ensuring access. Leavey. and in what form. Allow your children to safely interact on their social networking Web site. or a hybrid of electronic then printed at the nearest place of delivery). full electronic. Establish a rapid connection to local. Accenture.

transact. Increasingly.microsoft. For example. In a recent memo titled “Enabling Secure Anywhere Access in a Connected World. The answer lies in trust—in creating systems and processes that are always secured so that people and organizations have a high degree of confidence that the technology they use will protect their identity. each individual or business in a country willing to join this secured space would follow a precise procedure to gain access. Bring transparency and security to anytime/anywhere digital services As Kim Cameron mentions in his blog. users face rapidly proliferating episodes of identity theft and deception. In this section.mspx 11 | P a g e 3 . Building on that trustworthiness. 1. people envision a world of anywhere access—a world in which the information. communicate. depending on what they wanted to do. and much more.identityblog. and interact with each other with good confidence that the party with whom they are transacting is really who or what it declares itself to be. and financial services with which they are involved now. which would be linked to users’ identities.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry solutions to help transform the entire range of physical. for many decades. been perceived as being able to ensure secured physical communications. posts could create national electronic directory services. as the promise of anytime/anywhere online access matures.” 2 the Internet was built without strategies to identify with what and to whom you are connecting. which would allow access only to acceptable Web sites depending on the childrens’ ages or their parents’ choices. access entertainment. the communities. and forge new ground in areas they may not have considered before. we focus on five promising digital opportunities for posts to explore in the midterm. Users could either access this secured space or not. These factors both limit what individuals can do online and expose them to growing dangers. Parents could thus allow their children to access the Internet through this secured space. and the content that they value is available instantly and easily.com/mscorp/execmail/2007/02-06secureaccess. Posts would control users’ key credentials. which may cumulatively erode public trust in the Internet.com/?page_id=354 Bill Gates: http://www. we believe posts have an unprecedented opportunity to play a critical role in creating a more secure space on the Internet—a space where authenticated customers would be able to access. Based on this. no matter where they are.” Posts are trusted organizations that have. their privacy. The real issue today is security: on whether we can create and share information without fear that it will be compromised or exploited. Whether we get there or not is no longer a question of the power of our devices and the speed of our connections. 2 Kim Cameron: http://www. a new generation of technology is transforming expectations for how we will conduct business. We believe Microsoft can add considerable value to help posts accelerate these opportunities. In fact.” 3 Bill Gates explained the importance of trust in the development of technology: “Today. and their information. “The Laws of Identity. electronic.

Such a move would enable the following4:  A domain in which common principles and standards are reinforced. posts plan to establish a sponsored top-level domain (". governments. where posts would provide their traditional. where authenticated users would be able to access.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry Figure 3: Posts have the opportunity to create a more secure space on the Internet. and message authentication made possible with a digital postmark. secured transactions. and citizens. trusted third-party services in the digital world. A consistent procedure at the international level would enable cross-border. which would enable the postal industry to create its own environment on the Intenert and provide a trusted setting for sharing valuable information and conducting financial transactions between businesses.post").” Universal Postal Union.Facilitating communication between the inhabitants of the world. The UPU would define the minimum standards to be respected by the countries who wished to provide these secured services to their customers. A domain where security is ensured by means of sender authentication.  4 “The UPU E-services strategy . To reinforce the opportunity for secured online services. and interact with confidence. 12 | P a g e . The UPU’s standards-setting role would be an integral part of the operation of the top-level domain. Posts could leverage their post office networks to verify in person the identity of customers who wished to join this secured network. registration processes. transact. April 2007.

Not only are these methods cheaper. but based on common principles of trust and security. and social communications that used to require a trip to the mailbox are now delivered with the click of a mouse. who can usually choose between traditional and electronic mail channels. A critical factor in transforming the postal industry is the substitution of electronic mail for mail that posts have traditionally delivered in physical form. online change-of-address forms. This includes call centers and Internet sites for consumers to access core postal businesses: online banking. and leverage made possible on the basis of the UPU’s intergovernmental status. such as geographically enabled messaging (the direct marketing industry has shown keen interest in this application. it is not a necessary condition for posts to begin moving forward with digital opportunities. Development of XML-enabled addresses. including physical messaging.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry    A domain with global reach and integrity due to trusted agents/subdomains in all countries. and consumers would be within reach for forward-looking posts. and governments see it as a potentially valuable method of disseminating information in civil emergencies). Receiver media preferences.post” or not). Multimedia address management. a vast range of secured electronic services that could benefit large mailers. Vast amounts of business. tracking and tracing parcels. and while it is expected that the “. businesses. which could open applications between posts and their customers. With a secured network in place (“. Creation of new messaging types. The list is long and demonstrates the range of innovation being delivered by the postal industry. and requesting pick-up service for parcels. printing stamps and parcel labels from home. government. 2.post” top-level domain name will be available by the end of 2007.post” initiative is certainly an excellent opportunity. A domain in which individual postal companies would create services specific to their market. o o o o o The “. A domain that would facilitate the integration of physical and electronic messages and the development of services with the following features: o A unique universal address that would combine the electronic and the physical address into one single address (this would allow posts to leverage their capabilities related to physical addressing and enable new electronic services). but they allow different types of interaction with customers. Unified messaging. 13 | P a g e . Move into the multichannel space Posts have already done much to help consumers access their services through convenient electronic channels. sending e-postcards. Many businesses have built direct electronic channels to their customers that allow them to receive their bills and account details online.

A company called Earth Class Mail currently delivers such services. For example. All parties would interact in ways that would be more positive and beneficial to mailers. nonprofits. which would increase the likelihood that recipients of direct mail offers would open. their e-government strategies can accelerate the trend of substituting mail with electronic transactions and directly impact postal revenues. very few items sent via Earth Class Mail end up being delivered physically. and individuals. Another electronic service. In addition to providing customers with a choice in how to receive their mail. must look for ways to be more efficient and cost-effective. Moreover. this would certainly directly impact the postal revenues. and act upon them. and they could use that knowledge to shape their response strategies. Mail recipients could then take an active role in selecting their channels of communication. which use encryption to provide a stamp of authentication. business customers. It allows users to manage their mail remotely through a personal electronic mailbox where they can see their mail and request that the company open it and scan it for them. all parties would be able to interact in ways that would be more positive and beneficial for some specific communications. Secured electronic mailboxes also lay the groundwork for new ways to interact with postal mail. because electronic delivery can be designed to provide feedback to the sender. Digital signatures. Interestingly.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry Figure 4: Using a secured electronic mailbox. Secured electronic mailboxes also present opportunities to link mail delivery to authenticated individuals or businesses. because governments are typically huge mail customers that. Posts can be a major provider of this secure channel by providing all citizens and businesses with a secured electronic mailbox. The ability to scan a letter and send the content to a distant customer via a secured electronic mailbox would significantly decrease the cost of delivery and offer receivers more choices with their mail. e-mailboxes would provide a compelling way to add value to the services postal customers use today. could also perform a crucial role in accessing secured egovernment services. digital signatures combined with digital postmark service. read. if millions of citizens were to begin filing their taxes online or stop interacting with their healthcare provider networks through paper forms. posts can 14 | P a g e . and for-profit organizations alike. could grant digital service users an irrefutable means of identifying themselves as the signatories in financial and other legally sensitive contexts. For example. like any other business. Also Governments are investigating multichannel strategies to enable electronic access to their services and reduce their mailing costs. mailers could see exactly what happens to an item once it is delivered. Instead of using purely physical means of delivery. customers could have the opportunity to retrieve a facsimile of their physical postal mail from any location where they have Internet access. or services that governments can provide to citizens online. For direct mailers.

Money. Imagine receiving targeted mail that invites you to connect to the Internet to get more information by simply clicking your mouse or by pointing the camera of your smart phone at a barcode on the item. Once in front of your computer or with your mobile device activated. A combination of different media has been proven to be much more impactful than any single medium alone. Figure 5: Earth Class Mail allows users to supplement purely physical mail delivery with the ability to retrieve a facsimile of their physical postal mail from any location where they have Internet or wireless access. If you 15 | P a g e . well-targeted and personalized mail has proven its marketing efficiency. 3. But it is also clear that businesses will look closely at the cost/benefit ratio to choose the best media mix depending on the type of communication they plan to do. and mailers will almost certainly target and personalize these consumers far better than they can today. Move into the multimedia space Clearly. just like in a video game. responsible world citizens will be likely to reserve paper-based and physical-delivery methods for high-value communications that they cannot send by electronic means. The predictions that computers and the Internet would lead to a paperless society have not become a reality. With Earth Class Mail: “Save Time. it is safe to say that in the future.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry contribute to the protection of the environment by helping their customers to shift to electronic transactions when and where this form of communication is appropriate. Paper-based communication will not disappear. you might give the advertiser a last chance to convince you by permitting a commercial representative to call you at a time you specify. If the information failed to interest you sufficiently. Multimedia campaigns will certainly become a trend in the future. and Our Planet by Bringing Postal Mail Online". A 3D interactive personage adapted to your profile would then present the product to you with a personalized speech that mentions your name. you may decide to connect. Nevertheless.

they have a natural role to play in the local economy as well. mail recipients could take an active role in selecting the communications media they prefer. These mail flows certainly increase the revenues of the post and fulfill a demand of advertisement companies. Most countries use the postal code system and give names to streets and numbers to locate a house or a business. it is not unusual to read about post office closures in smaller. posts could become the trusted third parties that enable connections between people or between people and services at the local level. business customers. 4. We believe there is a need for local services as well as local social networking. Mailers. Leverage the local presence and develop local social networks Posts usually manage the address systems in their countries. By leveraging their address management systems. It is up to posts to be creative in order to maintain a form of local presence at an affordable cost. rural areas. consumers want to control their electronic and physical mailbox based on what is relevant for them. With secured electronic mailboxes.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry were finally convinced to buy. But in the longer term. more interactive multimedia experience. and individuals would all interact in ways that would be more positive and beneficial to each other. Unfortnately. Once again. boxes almost every working day and have a territorial presence through the post office network. and the deal would be completed. They could set their own preferences for the types of offers and communications they would like to see. Delivering preferential choice has the potential to change the current trend of developing unaddressed mail flows and untargeted direct marketing. posts might lose the trust they have earned from the receivers and miss a bigger opportunity to have a more intimate relationship online with consumers. This would allow a person to find people or 16 | P a g e . While posts cannot refuse to fulfill their mission to deliver mail. Figure 6: Digital postal solutions can help provide users with more choices about the mail they receive and a richer. security and privacy are key issues in this space. Because posts access most physical mailboxes and/or P. This global address system enables people to communicate with almost any part of the world. and postal services might thereby transform into a kind of personalized agent.O. your order would be taken directly by the sales representative on the phone. they should investigate scenarios where the recipients have the ability to choose what they receive. More and more.

5. The report found that the divide is shrinking with regard to most technologies. and this would help to prevent potentially devious individuals from operating in this secured environment. spending on social network advertising will reach $2. especially mobile telephony. Contribute to reducing the digital divide Most of the opportunities presented here rely on access to modern communication. Although broadband Internet access is now available in 170 economies. it remains at least 10 times more expensive in low-income countries than in high-income countries and is often unavailable outside of urban areas. specifically in those local markets that are not structured but that present a great opportunity for trusted. quality services.S. the ITU published the World of Information Society Report.int/osg/spu/publications/worldinformationsociety/2007/ 17 | P a g e .5 5 http://www. A study published by e-Marketer in May 2007 estimates that U. which was intended to track progress toward bridging the “digital divide” in 181 economies. which is available to approximately 1 billion people around the world. People would be authenticated and their data kept private by the post.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry businesses matching specific criteria. What about the other 5 billion? In May 2007.itu.5 billion by 2011. but limitations in the availability and affordability of broadband services remain a cause for concern. These numbers should resonate for posts. Figure 7: Social networking capabilities enabled by secured digital postal services can help bring a higher level of trust to online social interaction .

posts play a key role in bringing technology to the citizens they serve and combining electronic and physical services.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry Figure 8: The vast majority of the world’s population (represented by the paler shades on this map) is still waiting to join the digital age. and an ecosystem of local and global partnerships.int/osg/spu/publications/worldinformationsociety/2007/WISR07-DOIworld. Some cannot benefit from technology for environmental or infrastructural reasons. by printing and physically delivering messages “the last mile” to locations without Internet access or computers. Delivering a message sent electronically to any address worldwide.pdf 18 | P a g e . A great many simply cannot afford it. Providing Internet access through kiosks at the post office. organizations like Microsoft have learned that there are very real barriers to effectively reaching communities around the world that fall below the digital divide. corporate citizenship efforts. These include:    Enabling millions of immigrants to deliver money—through remittance services at the post office counter—to their distant family members. 6 http://www.6 In developing countries. Others cannot take advantage of new technology because it is not available in their language or related to their specific needs. research and development.itu. Building on decades of business experience.

Summary: Five key digital opportunities are primed to help posts in their journeys to bridge the physical and the electronic world: 1. non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Yet today. Microsoft has launched the Unlimited Potential program. and enabling jobs and opportunities. fostering local innovation. Move into the multichannel space. life has changed profoundly: information is more readily available. 19 | P a g e . technology solutions. accessible. 4. The Unlimited Potential program focuses on delivering solutions that are relevant. Move into the multimedia space. How Microsoft Can Help Over thirty years ago. partners. we could enable postal organizations to expand and bring new value propositions to postal customers. and success is closer than ever. The online customer base in the consumer market. The local presence and the global and local network of partners who understand the specificities of postal organizations’ local economic conditions. such as the Microsoft® Office suites. which is composed of more than 350 million users worldwide.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry For these reasons. Contribute to reducing the digital divide. commerce achieves its goals more quickly. for the more than 1 billion people reached by technology. Microsoft began with a dream of a PC on every desk and in every home. The Microsoft brand and trust in technology and innovation. Bring transparency and security to anytime/anywhere digital services. and advanced research. many of whom are Microsoft customers as well. and academia allows us to take an innovative approach to designing new avenues of social and economic growth. 5. all focused on solving critical pieces of the economic puzzle in developed and developing countries. Leverage local presence and develop local social networks. This program expands the Microsoft citizenship efforts with new business models. people make connections more easily. The possible integration of e-postal services with existing key software used in the consumer market. including:      The technology and security components to build the services described in this document in the way posts want. 2. educators. 3. We believe we have unique assets that could support the digital opportunity roadmaps of postal organizations. This seemed impossible to many people. This combination of advanced technologies and strong partnerships with governments. and affordable in three interrelated areas that are crucial to building economic opportunities: transforming education. The magic of software will continue to change our lives in ways we can hardly imagine today. We believe that by working more closely with the postal industry.

EXPRESSED. and realize the new business models you may have in mind. By discussing your online postal strategy with us. it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft. businesses. Worldwide Postal Industry The information herein is for informational purposes only and represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation as of the date of this presentation. AS TO THE INFORMATION PRESENTED. IMPLIED OR STATUTORY.com/worldwidegovernment. leverage the Internet to better understand your customers (and their customers).com. Author: Maxim Lesur. All rights reserved. who can help you uncover ways to bridge the physical and electronic worlds. We encourage you to explore digital opportunities with your Microsoft representative. Managing Director. Conclusion Posts have a compelling opportunity to combine their traditional businesses with new opportunities. posts can create a space where senders and receivers can transact online easily and securely. Microsoft and its people. technologies. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. you will be able to identify new ways to help support your investments around mail substitution. postind@microsoft. We see huge value in working more closely with the postal industry to deliver a set of services that bridge the physical world and the electronic world to the benefit of our common customers: the consumers. deliver effective and efficient services and processes to their customers. Additional information is also available on www.| Digital Opportunities for Postal Industry Our vision for postal organizations is to deliver what we call a “software + services” strategy in the future. and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information provided after the date of this presentation. If you are interested in engaging in a discussion with Microsoft about these topics. By putting the trust they have earned in the physical world to use in the digital world. please contact the Worldwide Postal Industry Managing Director. and governments of the world. and tackle widespread industry challenges. and network of partners is helping postal organizations worldwide to transform their businesses.microsoft. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES. and we believe there is no better time to accelerate this transformation. ©2007 Microsoft Corporation. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions. with some of the services being delivered online. 20 | P a g e .