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Vision. Insight. Control.

September 11, 2015

Still in the dark ages?

It’s time to face the music; your outdated processes and technologies are killing your business.

Successful businesses of the future must adopt and embrace change. For years now, as an analyst or consultant and a managing operator, I have been a catalyst for change within organizations. Today, cloud computing and certainly mobile and big data are changing the future of business. But more than that, the digital revolution has led to a wave of connected technologies and a culture of collaboration that is changing customer and employee expectations. Businesses need to evolve – holding onto old ways of doing things is simply dangerous.

Moving into the cloud is no longer a market advantage; it is a market necessity. Change can be painful, but is important for survival in today’s business environment and critical for future success. Software is key in this evolution. Effective implementation and adoption, however, is not a simple undertaking and a lot of things can go wrong. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind as you plan for the evolving future:

  1. Start with a concept of customer experience. Change should be driven by customer needs, wants and behavior. Align corporate responsibilities, processes and technologies with the customer’s journey. Focusing on the customer’s perspective helps to create a collaborative culture and more nimble company.
  2. Understand customer experiences across touch points as they are today and define how to improve them in the long term. There are many historical examples of customer-inspired migrations. In the1990s, business moved to ERP. In the 2000’s businesses began embracing CRM. In the 2010’s, companies implemented new collaboration solutions to improve business. Today’s customers, partners and employees want tools for collaboration, but the market wants more. The demand is for specific solutions to specific needs integrated with each other—Sourcing, P2P, CLM in the cloud, with anywhere access via cloud computing and analytics to help make smart decisions.
  3. Don’t just gather information–be intelligent. Cultivate the ability to organize and manage with knowledge. Technology offers far more data than intelligence, which is why you have to concentrate on what can be done and what is important now and in the foreseeable future based on everything that has been learned about customer experience. This knowledge may be buried deep in the silos and customer interfaces inside your organization. Technology can bring these valuable insights to light.
  4. Deliver quality experiences across customer interfaces with systems infrastructure that supports those relationships. Companies have access to vastly more powerful tools and insights than ever before and must have both the technology and business processes in place to be successful. To do this you must embrace iterative, customer-centric innovation.
  5. Excite stakeholders. Dictating change annoys people – you must excite them. Identify internal change agents within your organization who will support the new vision, innovation and change. Business managers have a wide range of technology choices—from cloud computing, automation, collaboration, analytics and mobility. These choices must be integrated into a cohesive plan that supports business goals, is tailored to an individual employee, location or tasks, and implemented to serve customer interest and corporate goals.
  6. Involve customers, suppliers, partners etc. Rethink your current practices and develop your company holistically, from the bottom up, involving customers, partners and employees early in the process. Study opportunities for engagement and solicit insight and feedback to increase operational excellence across lines of business.

Businesses are struggling to keep up with technology and business environments that are simultaneously changing. They know that technology is essential to improve business workflow but often fail to link their strategy to performance metrics such as improving customer satisfaction and increasing efficiencies. Effective integration of technologies alleviates uncertainty and provides a strategic advantage, but must be implemented to provide information and support collaboration in an intelligent context to serve customer interest and corporate goals.

The pace of change in the digital world requires careful consideration of your customer and employee experience. Forward-thinking organizations are investing in technologies that focus on workflows, supporting specific users and business outcomes. These technologies are tied to revenue-generating processes driven by a line of business and designed with customer experience in mind. The future of your business depends on understanding that better technology utilization is a crucial strategic advantage, but to work successfully, that technology must also make life easier for employees and the customer’s experience more fulfilling.

* Download this free guide to learn how an enterprise approach to contract management (ECLM) can make your organization more effective and efficient, what market forces are driving the CLM evolution, and the benefits of ECLM vs. contract information siloes.

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