Apttus Exchange – Chicago: Middle Office Solutions in Action
Ok, so maybe you weren’t one of the lucky attendees who got to sit in at Apttus Exchange in Chicago. Not to worry. We have the low down on the day’s events and can give you the highlights.
With a half-day session, there was plenty of time to speak directly with Apttus team members and exchange ideas during the luncheon and cocktail reception. Meeting with customers and hearing their success stories is always a highlight of the event.
Exchange Chicago kicked off with our Senior Vice President of Product, Eric Carrasquilla opening the event by talking about revolutionizing revenue and legal operations. Soon after though, the main stage featured an in-depth sit down featuring two challenging customer success stories.
Apttus Middle Office Takes Center Stage
Don Oliver, a Senior Director at Cincinnati Bell, Inc. spoke about the challenges they faced with a previous CPQ and how Apttus was able to provide a solution to the inflexibility of a legacy system. Don reports directly to the CIO and is responsible for IT strategic planning and operations.
No stranger to complex technological systems, CBTS (a subsidiary of Cincinnati Bell, Inc.) is a national technology company focused on driving business outcomes and enabling business transformation. Their solutions provide businesses agility, scalability, and cost-efficiencies for growth and innovation.
Cincinnati Bell’s Unique CPQ Challenges
CBTS sells services to customers which need to be turned on and off at various times, priced by specific locations and in some cases have multiple locations in a single quote. There are complex bundling procedures and approval cycles at play here as well.
The previous CPQ was not native to the Salesforce platform, which is their main CRM, so they had to support two different systems to manage the sales process. This caused a significant amount of quotes and orders fallout.
“A big reason why we liked Apttus was the flexibility of the system to handle complexity.”
~ Don Oliver, Sr. Director of IT, Cincinnati Bell, Inc.
Large Scale Deployment
Don detailed how they needed clearly defined, high-level goals. The new platform had to be efficient and flexible enough to handle guided selling capabilities, global markets, advanced configuration and bundling, asset management, approval workflow, reporting & auditing, document generation & management, and maximize “out of the box” configuration. That’s a handful for any system.
CBTS worked with Apttus and Apttus partner aMind to deploy the CPQ. What really stood out for them was the level of collaboration between aMind, Apttus PS, and the Product team. In particular, aMind helped them determine what functionality they needed to meet the business requirements and helped them align those against Apttus’ product roadmap.
Staying as close to “out of the box” as possible was important to CBTS so they tracked the number of customizations they made in the project compared to the number of customizations in a normal configuration. They ultimately tallied that they only had 5% customization, which is awesome! Considering the complexity of a Telco, the customizations mostly focused on approval workflows and bundles unique to the business.
Automating Location-Based Pricing Increases Sales Productivity
In Telco, customers often need an initial “Draft Proposal” based on the basic pricing and high-level product. Before Apttus salespeople were doing this manually in excel spreadsheets and offline. They wanted to make it easier and faster in the system itself. With Apttus they can now take that draft proposal and use it as a baseline or template for the future and final quote.
One of the most innovative features was the location-based pricing. This was an area of focus to get quicker quote generation times. They also have a bundling approach with complex products with many different options; for example, they have a VOIP Product with multiple phones with licenses, reporting, and extensions.
Additionally, they have a Middleware system that acts as an Order Manager and Apttus CPQ data flows into that system in real-time. Pending Assets are created and sent downstream. As customer service gets activated, there is another integration back to Salesforce showing that they are active. This provides full a 360-degree view of the customer asset use for renewals, billing accuracy, and upsell opportunities.
Switching to Apttus means happier salespeople, quicker quote creation and approval, lower administrative costs, and more compatibility with future releases. Overall it was a big win for CBTS.
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Fiserv and CLM Growing Pains
Ken Harris, the VP of Legal Operations at Fiserv, talked about their unique situation as an organization built through acquisitions of myriad companies and how Apttus is helping them create a consistent contracting experience across diverse business units. Ken currently directs the activities of the Fiserv Legal Operations team to provide attorneys and contract professionals with technology solutions to meet their day-to-day duties.
Fiserv is a global leader in payments and financial technology, helping clients achieve best-in-class results through a commitment to innovation and excellence in areas including account processing and digital banking solutions; card issuer processing and network services; payments; e-commerce; merchant acquiring and processing; and the Clover™ cloud-based point-of-sale solution. Fiserv has ~ 44,000 associates serving thousands of financial institutions and millions of businesses in more than 100 countries.
Challenges of a Broadly Distributed Contract Process
Fiserv is a company built on acquisitions (with over 300 since 1984), each operation working semi-autonomously leading to a ton of different schedules, teams, and selling models. When it came time to negotiate, approve and execute sales contracts, it was very manual and cumbersome. It took too long for agreements to get executed; Quote-to-Cash time was too excessive.
Ken told us how the execs and legal leaders needed greater visibility into where contracts were and who approved what. Fiserv initiated a project called “Project Accelerate” to tackle the CLM systems initiative.
“Self Service” Functionality with Conditional Assembly
Ken pointed out that one of their main challenges and reasons why they liked Apttus was Conditional Assembly. Fiserv sells thousands of products and services, and when they go to put together a deal, it’s a smorgasbord of items to choose from. Ken went on to say that when you have hundreds of schedules to choose from, you need a CLM service which allows only the relevant ones to be generated.
“The biggest challenge is really the document assembly, just
because we have so many docs to choose from.”
~ Ken Harris, VP Legal Operations, Fiserv
Three main use cases for sales contracts in Apttus CLM have been identified. A “self-service” use case is where a sales rep needs to generate an agreement that doesn’t need to be reviewed by legal (e.g., a work order to increase the number of seat licenses) but isn’t changing the T&Cs of the deal structure.
The second use case involves the creation of an “express” agreement. A sales rep generates an agreement which needs to be reviewed by legal prior to being sent to the client.
The third use case is when legal needs to get involved from the start. The rep makes the request, but this time it goes into a legal work queue for review to ensure the required components have been provided. Then legal picks up the request, creates the agreement and dynamically generates the document.
Apttus CLM is a key component of “Project Accelerate” and will help streamline the contracting process and provide flexibility for the future.
Overall the load will be lightened for Legal by taking small functions and automating them. There is also control and accountability when legal does need to get involved. Additionally, the new initiative will reduce time spent on the manual process of collecting all the schedule sheets which are in different formats, etc. and speeding up and accurizing that process.
Going forward, migrating recently acquired First Data associates onto the CLM platform will be a priority. Additionally, the success they expect with Apttus CLM sets the stage for introducing additional improvements that may involve Apttus CPQ for help with their quoting process.
For more customer insights and Middle Office success stories, sign up for Apttus Reimagine (San Diego Sept. 23-25 or Miami Oct. 21-23). This three-day event will provide a deeper dive into revenue management with more speakers, more insight, and a broader selection of topics. Featuring thought-provoking keynotes, strategic breakout sessions, circles of success, training and more you are sure to learn how to maximize outcomes for your most critical business operations.