I just completed a joint research paper with NetSuite on the subject of quote to cash and the impacts on professional services (PS). The paper will be making the rounds in the weeks and months to come, but I wanted to highlight some of the report since this was a new topic for me and a fun project overall.
Quote-to-cash is the macro-level process for enterprise technology purchases, encompassing the acquisition of customers, the sales process, implementing technology purchases, ongoing support for customers and, above all, timely and accurate billing and accounting, including the initial purchase, add-ons, as well as renewals. In the past, automating the quote-to-cash process has been an unreachable goal for most companies because the number of technology components and required integrations were too complex and too expensive to justify—if even possible with existing customer relationship management (CRM), professional services automation (PSA), and enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools.
Fortunately, this is changing, as industry consolidation has created viable end-to-end solutions, and on-demand suites with highly scalable Web services components are making integrations faster, easier, and less expensive to deliver to customers. Companies that automate and streamline the quote-to-cash process see advantages in three primary areas: more precise advanced resource planning and revenue projections; more timely and accurate project accounting, which can increase the revenue stream and reduce days sales outstanding (DSO); and ultimately, higher service levels for customers, which drives satisfaction, loyalty, and repurchase.
The new joint research report defines quote-to-cash, identifies the required components and integration points to automate this macro-process, and explains the advantages of automating quote-to-cash in regard to professional services and overall company profitability.
Automating quote-to-cash involves streamlining processes across three separate enterprise applications.
- CRM. Customer relationship management, or CRM, provides software to manage the customer life cycle, including marketing automation, sales force automation, and customer support automation. At the core of CRM is the “360-degree view of the customer,” a single view of the customer including every contact and interaction they have with your company. CRM is often referred to as a “front office” application, meaning the tools are customer facing.
- PSA. Professional services automation technology, or PSA, allows professional services teams to more effectively plan, manage, and execute customer projects, providing tools for resource management, project progress and utilization tracking, project billing, and reporting and dashboards to measure operational success.
- ERP. Enterprise resource planning suites, or ERP, integrate internal and external management information across the enterprise, embracing financial administration, managing accounting and DSO, as well as manufacturing and supply chain tracking. ERP is often referred to as a “back office” application, meaning the product is not customer facing.
The report includes some best practices, ROI analysis, a discussion of “quote-to-cash in the cloud,” and a great case study from NetSuite. The report will be posted to the white paper section of our website in a few days and I will post a link when ready. I hope you all will check it out!
As always, thanks for reading