Regardless of whether acquisition is involved, one of the key challenges of assessing and adjusting quote-to-cash processes involves the cross-functional component.
"Sales is involved because they are the ones who are generating the lead and in adjusting the final pricing," PwC's Lo said. "Marketing is involved because they set the initial pricing and handle the promotion. It also impacts finance because they have to deal with revenue recognition and collection. And then there's the operations piece. They deal with the order; they deal with trade compliance and credit check, plus a host of other functions. Once you add all these components together, it becomes a truly difficult and complex enterprise transformation."
Lo added that finding the ultimate stakeholder can also be profoundly challenging.
"It's not always obvious who would be the overall lead," he said. "We have seen the executive sponsor in the form of the chief operating officer, the chief financial officer, the chief customer advocacy officer, and [in] smaller companies, it can often be the president."
Much of the decision-making process depends upon the strategic imperative of the company. Some companies may be focused primarily on ease of doing business for the customers. Others may be more focused on productivity and efficiency. But, Lo said that it's important to keep the ultimate objectives in mind when you are developing or refining the underlying practices.
"The entire executive leadership team needs to get behind that transformation and communicate that to the organization," he said. "You may even need to segment your customers and come up with multiple quote-to-cash processes in order to properly serve each group. You could have a no-touch process that is suitable for nonstrategic customers who are only spending a small amount of money. These customers might buy online, pay full price and get the order fulfilled without dealing with another human. At the other extreme, you may need a high-touch process to accommodate large, strategic enterprise customers who warrant special pricing in a higher level of support. In those cases, you'll want a process that enables those enhancements. Doing these things the right way has a lot to do with the success and the survival of the company."
PUBLISHED JAN. 25, 2013