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Power of N: Adapting to a Dynamic Business


In the previous post, I described how companies use software to bring value to their businesses. The greatest value being achieved when the software is fully aligned with the business process, both at the strategic and tactical levels. But life doesn’t stand still. Businesses need to continually adapt to succeed. No longer do large companies outcompete small companies. Fast companies beat slow companies.

What does it mean to be fast? Fast means being self-sufficient to analyze and implement changes to adapt to the market and fast means having the changes seamlessly flow throughout the end-to-end business process.

Self-sufficiency is critically important for businesses to have the flexibility they need to stay competitive. Many vendors think of flexibility that require trained IT resources. Defining a new compatibility rule or creating a new pricing qualification strategy should not require knowing how to code, nor should it require database schema designs. Great business software puts control in the hands of the end business user.

This control should be exposed using a multi-layered approach. At the simplest level, flexibility should be simply embedded within the normal user flow. These pre-defined areas should address the most common needs. Tiered vs. step pricing. Qualifying by revenue vs. market share vs. growth. Eligibility via membership vs. customer segmentation. These are all examples of giving end users the flexibility they need directly.

The next level of self-sufficiency exposes configuration settings that change the application’s behavior. These are also pre-defined areas of flexibility, but typically these are used to enforce policies and standardize recurring tasks.

These mechanisms are not enough when handling complex business requirements. Software vendors cannot always predict every possible contingency that is required by their customers. The solution is to provide the ability to tailor the application logic by the end users themselves. The Model N Revenue Management suite of applications provides multiple examples. Strategy Designer allows users to define data filters and formulas to design contracting strategies. The Revvy CPQ Pricing Rules enable users to define formulas controlling what discounts are applied and under what conditions they should be applied.

Bringing these levels of self-sufficiency on a platform that spans the full end-to-end process removes the obstacles that limit a business. The wrong systems can become an anchor. Great software increases agility and agility means fast.

Welcome to “Power of N”, a collection of blogs by John Ellithorpe, CTO of Model N. John’s series will give you an inside perspective on enterprise software and how Model N builds applications that solve our customers’ critical business needs. Power of N takes you behind the scenes for a look at what’s required in the applications that our customers use to realize exponential growth in revenue.

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