In the previous four Blog Posts we went into some detail by looking at
- The interactions of CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote), QTC (Quote-to-Cash) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) / Order Management Solutions
- IT Considerations when an end-to-end QTC Solution is designed
- Segmenting Solutions that improve the QTC Process
- Successfully selecting a Front Office Solution (CPQ / QTC)
In this final Blog Post I want to summarize some Key Points we discussed and point out what Conclusions I draw from this.
The first and key conclusion is that Quote-to-Cash is a business process and not a product. While this may seem trivial it points to three fundamental steps you should keep in mind when you look for a Front Office Solution
1. Identify your business needs
- This includes Business Requirements gathering, Business Process Analysis etc.
- Look at your “to be” Business Processes without System limitations by focusing on intended business outcomes
- Determine and prioritize your critical business conditions for the “to be” Quote-to-Cash Process (e.g. determine who will provide product model maintenance)
2. Consider your existing IT landscape
- In most cases a company has an existing IT Infrastructure and any additional IT Systems, like Front Office Solutions, should leverage the existing IT Infrastructure as much as possible. This is to protect your previous financial and intellectual IT System Investments
- Consider that existing IT Systems may have business critical Teams and Processes around them that may be impacted if the IT Architecture changes. To ensure a smooth operation of your IT Systems, changes should only be made when there is a measurable benefit
- Determine where your Data System-of-Record is and how your Front Office Solution works with these Data Sources
3. Start identifying potential Front Office Solutions
- Once you know what your business objectives are and you know how they should interact with your existing IT Systems then you can start looking at potential Front Office Solution Providers
- If you skip Steps 1 and 2 this step will be a time consuming and confusing step
The better you understand, and can communicate, your business objectives and the better you understand how you want to leverage your existing IT Systems and Data, the more likely it will be that you find a solution that provides the business results you are looking for.
In addition to that it will allow you to have better discussions with potential Front Office Solution Providers.
Here are eight conclusions I consider important for everyone looking into Front Office Solutions.
1. All impacted Business Processes should have been reviewed in detail when a CPQ Project starts
- This review should include Sales, Sales Operations, Product Management, Product Engineering, Marketing, Legal, Finance and IT Processes
2. Business Requirements should be documented and prioritized
- This should include Business Requirements and Business Use Cases from all Teams mentioned above
3. Potential future business use cases should have been identified (as far as possible)
- It is important to understand (as far as possible) what other business requirements and business use cases you may have to support in the future
4. Determination should have been made concerning what existing IT Systems are going to be part of your future IT Systems
- Determine Source Systems for your Business Data (e.g. CRM, ERP). Keep in mind that considerable investments (financially and intellectually) may have been made in these systems. Hence you want to leverage these investments as much as you can
5. Internal limitations have been identified (e.g. Go-Live date, Transformation budget, available resources and skills etc.)
- These are Key Data points you need to know before you start a Business Transformation Project
6. Maturity of your organization has been determined
- Determine if your organization is ready for the required Business Transformation effort
7. Determination about required Routes-to-Market has been made now and in the future
- Route-to-Market = Sales, Channel Sales, ecommerce = Omni Channel
8. Decision has been made regarding solution maintenance now and in the future
- Who is going to update your configurable Products, Prices, Quote Forms and more?
Quote-to-Cash is a business process that spans many different business areas in any company and to get the best possible Front Office Solution for your business you should spend some time to work on the conclusions I mentioned above.
Yes, this will take some time but it will pay off by allowing you to have better, more educated, discussions with Front Office Solution Providers. To make this step easier for you I am attaching a Check List of proposed action items and owners here (will add document tomorrow).
At this point I also have to mention Change Management since this is typically a critical but underappreciated part in every Business Transformation effort. I regularly see that the Change Management effort is underrated. This is a critical mistake from my point of view since the best system is useless when the users don’t adopt it. Since I can’t cover this fully in this Blog Post I’m attaching an additional document here (will add document tomorrow or Friday) that points to Key Change Management Considerations for Front Office Transformation Projects.