Embarking on the Quote to Cash Transformation Journey
Quote to cash spans the most important set of business processes for your company, covering the point from when a customer intends to purchase your product or service, right through to the acquisition of revenue. Companies that have an integrated Quote-to-Contract process see faster sales cycles, in addition to quote, contract, and order accuracy.
Given the complexity of the elements involved in this process, if you are considering implementing a QTC solution, it is worthwhile remembering that it is a transformational ‘journey’ and not just ‘plug and play’ software.
When starting your quote to cash journey there are many things to consider:
Is your organization ready for the transformation journey? Do people understand the objectives and outcomes of implementing a Quote-to-Cash solution and how it will help them personally and increase the company’s bottom line? Make sure people see the full value by consulting and educating key stakeholders and by holding business transformation workshops. If people can see the benefits and are invested in the transformation from day one, it will speed up the process and make the entire process much worthwhile.
Understand and document your current processes
A large enterprise may have lots of different ways of doing the same thing, so identify those duplications and start to document that in a simple format like a PowerPoint or Visio diagrams – as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. This valuable exercise can often reveal a great deal of overlap and highlight disjointed processes that weren’t obvious, potentially saving money and allowing the business to reallocate resources to other projects.
How can your Quote-to-Cash transformation optimize and streamline your processes?
Once key stakeholders are on board with the benefits a QTC transformation can bring and disjointed processes have been identified, it becomes easier to have them align on how to optimize and streamline them. Documenting measurable goals at this stage will outline the ‘definition of success’. Think about what objectives you have and what overall outcome should look like for your business. Ensure there are dates and owners aligned with these goals and perform regular reviews to ensure progress.
Think beyond the horse and carriage
One of my customers recently told me this anecdote; before cars were invented, people always thought the only way to travel faster was to have faster horses and better carriages. That, as we know, is not necessarily the case; cars were invented which changed completely how people moved around forever. The moral of this story is not to be blinkered by your existing system and processes – think outside the box.
• Research what your competition is doing and think about why they may be doing it. What competitive advantage does it give them over your company?
• Benefit from the knowledge and experience a QTC vendor like Apttus can bring to the table, profit from their industry expertise and knowledge.
• Don’t try to copy and paste your old processes into a new system. Use this opportunity to maximize your QTC transformation to achieve a better outcome for your business.
Considering the options – homegrown vs off the shelf
When thinking about your QTC transformation, choosing the right technology for your business is critical to a successful outcome.
Evaluate the benefits of using an off the shelf product vs building your own custom solution. From my experience choosing an off the shelf product is pragmatic especially because it helps you to focus on your key business and not invest time, money and resource in building and maintaining it.
Have a checklist when evaluating a QTC vendor. Consider:
• How easy is it to use and set up?
• What does the solution roadmap look like?
• What current customer references are there?
• What do the analysts say (Gartner MQ, Forrester Wave)?
• Do the feature functionalities solve your challenges?
Bring in the experts!
If you have decided to use a QTC vendor solution, then taking advantage of their professional services team or selecting a good implementation partner can also be critical in the success of your transformation.
• Your vendor’s PS team is highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced – that’s all they do – they are the domain experts.
• You could also consider a system integrator who you have used before as they know your business, have local knowledge and industry-specific expertise, etc. When you engage with a system integrator, make sure to also involve your QTC vendor so you gain best practice advice.
In my next blog, I will do a deep dive into the resources you might need when planning a QTC transformation project.