May 16 by Zack Alspaugh

Apttus Accelerate is back – ever growing and ever exciting. The team in green took over the scenic Palace of Fine Arts for two days of thought leadership, best practices, exclusive networking, and insightful keynotes. The afternoon was filled with a panel of breakout sessions featuring the world’s pre-eminent Middle Office leaders and analysts. The list of global brands included Nokia, IBM,  Forrester, Thompson Reuters and more. Here is a quick rundown of Day 1’s top sessions.

1. 5 Steps to getting Started with AI

Many industry analysts have predicted that 2018 will be the year that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become mainstream in the enterprise. More enterprises are vowing to introduce AI into their businesses, but don’t know how to get started. Terri Lyons Smith, Manager of Analytics and Cognitive Intelligence at IBM and Elliott Yama, Associate Vice President of Artificial Intelligence at Apttus, teamed up to outline a well-thought-out approach to introducing AI into your business and increasing your chances to successful outcomes. Components of launching a successful AI project include establishing a clear business value, understanding your viable data, measuring the technical feasibility, and aligning the outcomes to your corporate goals.

Key Takeaway: Businesses that leverage AI solve business problems more effectively, unite key functional goals, and improve efficiency, accuracy, and profitability.

 
 

2. Developing and Executing a Digital Commerce Strategy that Differentiates Your Business

Andy Hoar, Chief Executive Office of Paradigm B2B, pointed out that we live in an interesting time. Change is rapid, yet many companies are trying to sell as they have for the last 20-50 years. Customers will choose how they research and how/where they buy. You need to be structured to handle that mixed bag of interaction. Hoar recommends implementing full spectrum E-Commerce across all available sales channels.

Key Takeaway: If you want more sales, enable better sales through technology.

 
 

3. Best Practices in Contract Management

Forrester Vice President, Senior Analyst and Andrew Bartels shared the common challenges enterprises are facing with contract management. Often enterprises have difficulty importing contracts, guiding employees to the right templates, running reports on current agreements and working effectively with other business units. Contract Lifecycle Management is critical because legal is playing a bigger and bigger role in business relationships. Coordinated enterprise-wide contract management is the most effective strategy, especially when leveraging insights from Artificial Intelligence, to quickly reduce risk and contract cycle time.

Key Takeaway: Effective contract management has positive impact beyond the legal department. For instance, faster contract management leads to more closed deals and greater driven revenue and greater saving.

 
 

4. The Benefits of Integrated CPQ, Billing and Order Management

Configure Price Quote guides your sales teams to construct and optimize offers. However, if your sales and billing processes aren’t tightly integrated, your sales and service teams don’t have relevant billing and payment information at their fingertips when interacting with customers. As Forrester Research Analyst, Lily Varon explained, though billing systems are often overlooked, they are the lifeblood of your business processes. If something goes wrong at the billing phase, the trust and rapport built with the customer is decimated.

Key Takeaway: Billing systems built for the recurring revenue model really enhance or augment the capability of the rest of your systems and processes, especially the CRM & ERP.

 
 

5. Selling and Fulfilling Complex Products

Complex products introduce tremendous obstacles during the sales process around configuration, pricing, and fulfillment. Enterprises have overcome these challenges and accelerated their businesses by leveraging a CPQ solution. John Yankowski, Nokia’s Senior Director of Digital Channel Partner Ecosystem, described how his enterprise was experiencing challenges across their sales, product and partner channels. By implementing Apttus CPQ which could handle their complex configurations, Nokia was able to streamline their processes, cutting down approvals and notification management from 4 days to 2 hours.

Key Takeaway: Sales leaders are streamlining their global organizations’ practices, and increasing sales effectiveness, margins and revenue by leveraging enterprise CPQ.

Stay tuned for Top 5 Breakout Sessions from Accelerate Day 2. More thought leadership and learning to come!

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