November 5 by Sally Hereford
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation covers a larger technological process and change that encompasses the application of new digital technology in aspects of society, but also in realms of business. Corporations that embrace digital transformation are changing the way they do business and are finding new ways to improve efficiency, productivity, and ultimately drive revenue.
Dreamforce 2015 brought light to many innovative ideas for software solutions designed to increase efficiency in global business. A trend that we observed during this year’s conference was an emphasis on the development of industry/vertical-specific software solutions. Organizations in the SaaS space, like Salesforce and Apttus, are aiming to improve processes specific to industries like Health and Life Sciences, Financial Services, High Tech, and Manufacturing.
In a session at Dreamforce 2015 entitled Industry Innovation Expert of Manufacturing at Salesforce, Adam Hanin describes how industry-specific ‘Inquire-to-Order’ solutions enable manufacturing companies to realize greater efficiency in managing their complex business processes.
See Related Article: Three Reasons Manufacturers are Turning to the Cloud to Improve Their Business
Salesforce and its partners are working to provide functionality that focuses primarily on processes instead of products. They have broken down manufacturing organizations’ common solutions requirements and have combined functionality in a comprehensive roadmap for digital transformation. The roadmap is comprised of four crucial components:
The First Key to Digital Transformation
Inquire to Order, as mentioned above, is a core component of the roadmap to digital transformation that Salesforce and its partners have developed specifically for the manufacturing space. Inquire to Order focuses on accelerating the sales process because, as most of us know that the faster that you get products configured, customers quoted, and contracts signed, the more likely you are to close a deal. In sales, speed is everything, and that’s what makes Inquire to Order such a critical tool in today’s market.
Instead of running factories where you’re making the same product time and time again, complex manufacturing companies are building or order, or configuring to order, or even configuring to micro-order. So, as you can imagine, their processes are extremely complex and require a comprehensive, functionally robust solution that can effectively manage their sales processes – that’s where Inquire to Order fits in.
Inquire to Order is about working effectively with partners, prospects, and customers by simplifying complex sales processes. Guided sales processes with Inquire to Order enables sales reps to effectively manage complex product configurations, pricing, and proposal generation in real time so that they can spend more time doing what they do best, selling! Hanin explained it simply as, “it’s a complex solution we put together that’s designed to make it simple for your company.”
Ongoing Key to Digital Transformation
Service Excellence is also an important part of the strategy that SaaS companies are using to achieve digital transformation in the manufacturing space. This refers to the need to put customers first and serving them effectively – especially in the field.
Unlock Your ERP
Hanin emphasized how crucial it is for manufacturing companies to gain access to the information locked in their ERP systems. This is important because by making this information available to sales reps, customers, executives, and other necessary members of your team, you can drive real-time global alignment for an entire organization. Legacy systems are not going to cut it in this market – manufacturing companies need to ensure that their entire organization is aligned on their various business processes for sales, customer service, and legal to ensure that customers or prospects alike are having consistent experiences working with an organization across-the-board. In an increasingly connected global business environment, that kind
of organized treatment is what customers have come to expect.
Digital Innovation, the Ultimate Key to Digital Transformation
Digital innovation is important to achieve success in any industry; however, in manufacturing, it is becoming increasingly obvious that connected products drive data that can be used in innovative ways. Salesforce and other solution sets for manufacturing, in conjunction with various partner solutions, enables manufacturing organizations to draw insight and make informed decisions based on this captured data.
Ultimately, by forming these four aspects into a comprehensive roadmap to digital transformation for the manufacturing space, Salesforce has taken a major step in driving SaaS development to fit the specific needs of businesses in varying industries. The strategy that brought Salesforce to this point has been characterized by a willingness to listen to the needs of the customer and developing trends in that feedback that enables Salesforce and its partners to meet those needs more accurately and effectively.
Inquire to Order is just a step in the development of solutions sets that fit the specific needs of an industry like manufacturing. The idea has also been applied with similar success to organizations in other industries – like Healthcare & Life Science, and High Tech. Count on hearing more about the path to success in digital transformation as time goes on.