May 15 by Wendy Close
The Rise of the Middle Office
In today’s competitive landscape, your customers are in the driver’s seat. Your sellers must be agile and consultative—aided by artificial intelligence—and be able to utilize the most up-to-date product, pricing, customer, and performance data to craft deals that maximize value for the customer and your organization. Your quotes must provide customer-friendly offers and competitive pricing without impacting margins. Your agreements must reduce risk without restricting growth. Your renewals must be frictionless with intuitive upsell and cross-sell opportunities built into the process. In short, you must be the easiest company to do business with, and you must be able to anticipate and meet the needs of your customers—where, when, and how they choose to engage with you.
This is why more leading enterprises are focusing their efforts on establishing a middle office as the command center for driving commercial excellence and igniting growth.
What is the Middle Office?
The middle office is where commerce takes place in an enterprise. It encompasses everything that happens from initial engagement through collecting revenue and managing commercial relationships. It bridges the gap between an enterprise’s front office CRM system and back office ERP system. At the core of the middle office are the Quote-to-Cash (QTC), Enterprise Contract Management, Digital Commerce and Supplier Relationship Management processes—the fundamental revenue-generating and cost management activities that happen across key functional areas of the enterprise. These activities include configuring the best offer, managing pricing, generating quotes and contracts, enforcing and meeting legal obligations, ensuring accurate billing and revenue recognition, renewing business and onboarding vendors.
In today’s digitally connected world, this also requires providing a seamless buying and selling experience across all touchpoints —direct sales, channel partners and e-commerce webstores.
Enterprises are Missing Significant Revenue Drivers Today
Over the years, front-office CRM and back-office ERP evolved steadily as essential tools. But the business processes between the two have been stagnant, disjointed, and manual for decades. In other words, the processes driving actual revenue generation and management of key commercial relationships have been significantly neglected, undercutting not just an enterprise’s ability to compete and grow, but to also generate better returns on their adjacent investments in front- and back-office systems.
Revenue Leakage Costs as Much as 5 Percent of EBITDA
Every enterprise wants to realize its full revenue potential. But recent studies indicate that as much 5 percent of the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), of companies is subject to revenue leakage.* These leaks occur on both the revenue and expenditure side.
Managing Enterprise Processes at Scale is Inherently Complex
Enterprise processes –those that impact revenue generation and realization – involve many stakeholders, departments, systems, and an ever-increasing amount of data. When enterprise processes are broken-up across a variety of disintegrated applications, it is impossible to effectively leverage automation and artificial intelligence to drive better outcomes. Companies that attempt this ultimately fail because they are unable to connect the dots that drive understanding around which behaviors are driving business success.
Transforming the Middle Office Optimizes Revenue Yield
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.
These actionable insights are delivered in a conversational voice-or chat-powered experience that aligns with how we work in today’s social, mobile, and virtual world.
Businesses Need a Comprehensive, Enterprise-Grade Platform for the Middle Office
To achieve commercial excellence, you need an integrated, automated middle office platform built on a single data model that delivers product and deal configuration, pricing, quoting, contract lifecycle management, digital commerce, order management, billing, renewals and supplier relationship management capabilities.
What is The Apttus Intelligent Middle Office?
The Apttus Intelligent Middle Office is a seamless and comprehensive, purpose-built middle office platform designed to automate and optimize an enterprises most critical revenue and commercial relationship management processes.
1. Apttus Intelligent Middle Office Applications: Industry-leading solutions for Quote-to-Cash, Enterprise Contract Management, Digital Commerce and Supplier Relationship Management. Apttus enhances each solution with applied artificial intelligence known as Max.
2. Apttus Intelligent Middle Office Delivery Platform: A multiple cloud infrastructure strategy (Force.com, Azure, IBM Cloud), and a microservices architecture to deliver the optimal technology for the task at hand and to give customers choice.
3. Apttus Intelligent Middle Office Builder: A toolkit to modify, extend, or build new components on the platform.
Customer success is achieved by leveraging the following benefits of The Apttus Intelligent Middle Office:
1. End-to-End Middle Office Process Automation: The Intelligent Middle Office streamlines and improves business processes across Quote-to-Cash, Enterprise Contract Management, Digital Commerce and Supplier Relationship Management. It eliminates manual steps and provides automated workflows across the full, end-to-end commercial process. The platform connects previously disjointed departments and systems and institutionalizes best practices and workflows. This reduces commercial process cycle time, speeds the time to new product introductions, and increases the speed with which enterprises can respond to market conditions.
2. Behavior Applications to Influence Optimal Revenue-Generating Activities: Apttus Intelligent Middle Office combines Quote-to-Cash process automation with behavior applications, including promotions, sales compensation, and rebates to align and drive revenue-winning behaviors across buyers and sellers. With Apttus Promotions enterprises can orchestrate the most effective promotional programs and enable them across all sales channels to increase customer upsell and ROI. Apttus Incentive Compensation enables sales leaders and compensation professionals to manage and execute incentive programs that drive optimal selling behaviors from employees.
3. Single Data Model Across Middle Office Processes: The Intelligent Middle Office Platform is built on a single data model. This allows data from one interaction with a customer to be immediately available in other interactions, regardless of channel, resulting in a comprehensive revenue view of the customer, actionable in real-time. As a result, departments across the enterprise are equally well-informed and have the commercial insights needed to drive revenue optimization. Apttus Intelligent Middle Office brings transparency to the exchange of information with customers, which supports a better, more streamlined purchase experience.
4. Improved Business Outcomes: Enterprises using Apttus Intelligent Middle Office have experienced significant benefits including larger deal sizes, increased win rates, faster deal closure, greater contract compliance, increased sales effectiveness and efficiency, and more.
5. Support of All Revenue-Generating Business Stakeholders: Apttus’ automated and integrated Intelligent Middle Office Platform brings together individuals across functions within an enterprise around a single data model. Apttus Intelligent Middle Office extends the tools needed to maximize revenue to each stakeholder in the commercial process including sales, legal, procurement, and finance. By providing an integrated workflow experience, The Intelligent Middle Office successfully aligns the interests of all business stakeholders toward better business outcomes.
6. An Engaging, Modern User Experience: Max, applied artificial intelligence for the middle office, enables users to interact with Apttus Intelligent Middle Office Applications and other third-party enterprise software via a conversational user interface that complements how people work in today’s social, mobile, and virtual world. Max assists, coaches and prompts users (even customers), with intelligent recommendations across many aspects of commercial processes.
7. Actionable Insights Delivered in Context at the Moment of Maximum Impact: The use of Max, Apttus’ artificial intelligence for the middle office, on top of our single data model creates a powerful engine revealing new opportunities and relationships previously unidentified. As a result of these new insights and information, users are able to see and take action to maximize new revenue opportunities.
8. Enablement of Customer-Centric, Omni-Channel Commerce: Apttus Intelligent Middle Office enables omni-channel commerce with a unified buying and selling experience across all sales touch-points: assisted direct sales, channel partners, and self-service e-commerce. Empowered with a single revenue view of the customer, enterprises will maximize revenue and improve customer satisfaction by optimizing product offers, pricing, promotions, and incentives—and by providing a consistent, high-quality experience across all channels.
9. Neutrality Across Front Office CRM and Back Office ERP Systems and Availability on Multiple Cloud Infrastructures: Apttus Intelligent Middle Office Delivery Platform integrates with leading front office CRM systems (e.g. Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.) and back office ERP systems (e.g. Oracle, SAP, etc.). By being CRM and ERP neutral, our platform allows enterprises to choose the cloud infrastructure and application vendors that best meet their needs while still taking advantage of the benefits of an integrated middle office platform. The Apttus Intelligent Middle Office is modular providing a path for broader adoption of the platform over time and enabling enterprises to leverage the best functionality available across cloud infrastructures including Salesforce’s Force.com, Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.
Apttus customers include the who’s who of the Global 1000 and hundreds of the world’s mid-sized organizations. These companies have already crossed the chasm and modernized their revenue process with an intelligent middle office platform. That means other enterprises don’t need to break new ground in pursuing this transformation: they simply have to follow in the footsteps of those that have already succeeded.
Now, it’s time for you to lead the charge for true and meaningful business transformation and achieve the commercial excellence your customers demand.