May 14 by Sally Hereford
Now, thinking about running themes in the future of the Quote-to-Cash space and SaaS more generally, we have identified a key component that is going to be driving all of this: business intelligence analytics.
I am not referring to just simple, intuitive analytics; I am talking about a new generation of business intelligence analytics. The development of such functionality was discussed by Apttus’ CEO, Kirk Krappe, in his recent keynote speech, and by many others who spoke during Accelerate, as a key business solution that is driving the future of the SaaS space.
Now what makes business intelligence analytics so exciting as we move forward? We have come up with 5 ways that data-driven analytics are going to help you transform the business world:
1. Sell smarter and better by leveraging the data that you already have
If you have already streamlined all of your organization’s important data onto one single source of truth, Salesforce, and you are constantly amassing more and more critical information that is largely going unused. As Nick McCoy, senior Sales Engineer at Apttus, said in the keynote speech at Accelerate, “data is nothing without the right technology applied to it.” So why not leverage all of these business intelligence analytics that you have collected and use it to better your business?
That is exactly what Salesforce has brought you with their informative dashboards, as well as the development of the Wave platform which is dedicated to analytics. Apttus is also bringing such functionality to businesses with Quote-to-Cash Intelligence and Dynamic CPQ.
As these tools continue to be developed, they are going to revolutionize the Quote-to-Cash space by enabling companies to use their data to better understand any bottlenecks that are occurring within their business processes and then drive results based on this information.
Ultimately, these intelligent, data-driven analytics will help organizations sell smarter by leveraging the data that they already to have to drive productive change within their processes. Dynamic CPQ and Quote-to-Cash Intelligence are being developed to provide analytics that are not only cognitive and predictive, but also prescriptive, providing data-based recommendations to drive success for your business.
In addition, Dynamic CPQ leverages consumer data to provide business intelligent recommendations to guide sales reps and customers when configuring products and generating quotes. This dynamic guided selling will enable your organization to ensure that each of your customers get the right product, at the right price, every time.
2. Predict with confidence
With the continual development of technology, it is more important than ever for organizations to be aware of where they are right now, and where they are headed in the future. There is power in the ability to make accurate, confident predictions about your business, and understanding the data that you have collected can be an incredible help in doing just that.
For instance, at Accelerate 2015, Mary Beth Gargani from Aesynt, a leading technology company in the healthcare industry, discussed the impact that Salesforce dashboards and Apttus’ Quote-to-Cash Intelligence have had on her company. Before Salesforce and Apttus, they “literally went on a treasure hunt every time [they] did an analysis.” However, the advanced functionality of Salesforce and Apttus has enabled them to leverage all of their existing data to easily see where their business is, and to predict with confidence where it is going.
“The combination of Apttus and Salesforce is opening up so many possibilities for us – making us better for our customers and better for business and ultimately that’s what it’s all about.”
3. Target marketing efforts
The development and execution of marketing campaigns can often be a bit of a guessing game; however, this uncertainty can be virtually eliminated using data-driven analytics. Compiling all of your organization’s information in a meaningful way will help you understand consumer behavior in a way that enables you to target marketing efforts to specific consumers at specific times that have proven to be most effective.
In marketing, data-driven, business intelligence analytics also help you forecast the effectiveness of certain campaigns and promotions before they are launched; and enable you to analyze previous campaigns at a granular level to better understand what works. Typically, organizations put much of their resources towards marketing efforts; because of this, it is critically important to ensure that these efforts are as targeted as possible in order to ensure effectiveness and drive your bottom line.
4. Get your executives and company leaders involved
Can we all agree that the more information that you have, the more likely that you are to make good, informed decisions? Well, that is what these forward-looking companies are delivering to organizations around the world: the power to make better decisions.
So, with tools like Quote-to-Cash Intelligence and Dynamic CPQ increasing visibility into all of the processes in a business, executives and company leaders are able to be more involved. Such individuals tend to hold expertise and insight that can be extremely valuable when closing a deal, handling financial data, etc., so why not leverage that as another resource to drive success?
At Accelerate 2015, we heard Sandra Ficke-Bradford, the Director of Operations at Motorola, discuss how Quote-to-Cash Intelligence and Salesforce dashboards helped involve executives and leaders in improving their processes. These tools enabled them to effectively use the data that they had collected by presenting it in a way that made sense for their organization.
By better understanding the trends in their data, folks like Sandra were able to confidently approach process leaders at Motorola equipped with data to back up the issues that they knew that they were having. Based on this data, they could then make targeted changes to their processes that have resulted in significantly reduced cycle times, streamlined processes, and reduced internal friction.
Furthermore, having more information, presented in easy-to-understand graphs and charts, enables executives and company leaders to make more confident and informed decisions in order to effectively drive business results.
5. Gain a serious advantage over your competitors
In this increasingly competitive business landscape, it is critical that organizations leverage all of the tools available to drive performance and results. That is why leveraging the data that you already have in order to better understand your customers, the marketplace, and your current processes will help organizations, regardless of industry, drive business results and effectively stand out from competitors.
Every company needs to leverage all of the resources that they have to make themselves better; and that is what these new developments in business intelligence analytics will enable you to do.
So, clearly there are some pretty great advantages that can be gained by using business intelligence analytics as a means to enable organizations to confidently drive decisions involving process improvement and customer service. This point was demonstrated again and again at Accelerate 2015 where best-in-class companies like Motorola, Accenture, Ceridian and Moody’s spoke about the great things that they have been able to do just by leveraging the data that they already have with Salesforce and Apttus.
Some of this functionality is already available, like Quote-to-Cash Intelligence, Salesforce dashboards, and the Wave platform; however, new tools are continuing to be developed and we are very excited to see more functionality in future releases.