October 1 by Eric Dreshfield
You talk to customers every day. Why not talk to your enterprise applications? Apttus Max is Artificial Intelligence (AI) that enables users to interact with Salesforce and Apttus Quote-to-Cash via a conversational user experience, such as with text or voice. Max also learns from your data and proactively delivers intelligent recommendations to produce revenue-winning outcomes.
In his session at Dreamforce, Dan Hopkins, Apttus’ Vice President of Innovation, shared with the audience the benefits of the Apttus Intelligent Middle Office™. He reviewed the technical nature of the platform, from the microservices architecture, through the data model and Quote-to-Cash applications, culminating in the use of Artificial intelligence to maximize business outcomes. Let’s take a look at each of those components in more detail to better understand the value they bring.
Microservices Platform Architecture – The Foundation
In order to understand the concept of microservices architecture, I think it helps to understand the opposite: monolithic architecture. Unlike microservices, monolithic applications are built to be single, self-contained units with interconnected and interdependent components. Microservices are a way to break up large monolithic applications into loosely coupled services, each serving a specific business function and interacting with each other through application programming interfaces (APIs). The benefits of utilizing microservices include faster, more collaborative development of enhancements; the ability to support multiple devices & platforms, including mobile, IoT and wearables, for greater access and usability. Many of today’s premier, large-scale consumer websites are built on microservices architectures such as Amazon, Groupon, Twitter, Uber and Walmart, just to name a few.
Single Source System of Record – The Data Model
Managing enterprise processes at scale is inherently complex. There are many stakeholders involved – departments and systems, all with ever-increasing amounts of data. Without a single source of data, connecting the dots quickly becomes a virtual impossibility. Whereas, having a single source data model makes it easily possible to leverage automation and artificial intelligence to drive better outcomes, faster. Enterprises can understand how connected behaviors impact the success of the business; how a deal moves from Sales to Legal to Finance, and how to optimize it to maximize revenue and manage commercial relationships.
Quote-to-Cash – Your Most Critical Business Process
Quote-to-Cash is the process of driving revenue for your organization. It touches every department, every channel and every customer. It begins with your buyers intention to purchase from you, and ends with cash in the bank for your company. To stay competitive in today’s customer-centric landscape requires more than just tweaking of your internal processes. It requires a total transformation of your Middle Office. By automating middle office processes, you begin to optimize revenue yield by putting controls in place – for example, discount thresholds, approval workflows, and more.
While the controls are vital, your next step is to influence the behavior of your sellers and buyers to drive desired outcomes. Imagine impacting selling decisions at the point-of-sale by providing real-time commission estimates and quota attainment nudges to your sellers, using promotional offers for customers, or rebates for channel partners. Even more powerful, game-changing applied artificial intelligence analyzes historical data to deliver insights such as recommending the best solution and price to offer to increase the likelihood of closing the deal at a higher margin and identifying cross-sell / upsell opportunities based on look-alike account analysis.
Artificial Intelligence – The Conversational User Interface
These actionable insights are also delivered in a conversational voice- or chat-powered experience that aligns with how we work in today’s social, mobile, virtual world. Sales Executives are always on the move, talking to customers and working to close deals. Arming them with state-of-the art tools that do the work in CRM for them, simply by having a conversation, speeds delivery of quotes and contracts to customers, ultimately driving revenue for the organization.
Putting this all together, automating processes, modifying behavior, and providing prescriptive intelligence through a conversational user experience, enables you to maximize your revenue yield.