Marc Flaum shares advice on delivering value through digital transformation
3 min read
In a recent interview, Conga’s Chief Marketing Officer Randy Littleson sat down with Marc Flaum, Director of Business Transformation at Conga, to talk about the importance of digital transformation in the quote-to-cash process. Following are some key takeaways from their discussion.
Modern companies need to create a seamless customer experience
Randy: Why is digital transformation of revenue management and quote-to-cash so important for companies?
“Given today’s remote work environment, it’s more important than ever to rely on digital transformation to connect processes and provide visibility from end to end,” Marc responds. “Take revenue management, for example. Most people think of it as a back-office operation, but it actually moves through every part of the organization—from sales to finance and accounting and even services as a renewal or expansion opportunity.”
Mark explains that companies like Amazon have already transformed their end-to-end processes with great success. From searching for products and making purchases to reviewing your order history and exploring new buying opportunities, they have taken different parts of the revenue process and transformed them into an easily consumable digital model that delivers a seamless customer experience.
Marc concludes, “It’s a constant evolution, and Amazon does it really well. I think most companies will need to adopt a similar model to be competitive.”
Digital transformation involves more than just technology
Randy: A digital transformation project can be complex. What do you think are some of the hardest parts, and what best practices do you recommend to overcome those challenges?
Marc answers, “Big projects are always hard, and the hard part isn’t necessarily the technology—it’s people. That’s because people are creatures of habit. Once they know how to do something, they want to keep doing it the same way instead of learning new processes. Unfortunately, you can’t just transform the application or technology; you also have to change people and their mindset.”
He recommends adopting one of the well-known change management models, such as ADKAR. For digital transformation projects in particular, he highlights three important parts of the ADKAR methodology:
- Communication: Communicate early and often about what’s going on in the transformation project—don’t wait until it’s ready to go live.
- Benefits: Make sure the benefits of the project are clear to the individuals who will be impacted, so they understand what’s in it for them.
- Quantify: Establish metrics or KPIs that show the benefits of the transformation project throughout its lifecycle and after deployment.
Revenue lifecycle management impacts multiple layers of revenue
Randy: There’s a lot of buzz around the term “revenue operations.” What does that mean? And when it comes to managing revenue, why is it important for companies to treat that as a lifecycle?
Marc replies, “Revenue lifecycle management takes the processes from siloed departments and creates a connected, holistic process that builds value in an organization’s customers. It’s one of the few ways a company can impact both top line revenue and customer lifetime value (CLV) while also decreasing operational costs.”
He says that this combination is critical, especially for companies that have adopted a recurring revenue model. Revenue lifecycle management connects processes like quoting, legal ops, billing, and order services through multiple sales channels. The best companies know this is a constantly evolving model because of its ability to connect cross-sell, upsell, and renewal opportunities into the sales process.
Look for quantitative and qualitative value from digital transformation
Randy: The ultimate measure of any digital transformation project is the value that it delivers to the organization. How do you think about value in such a project?
Marc explains that, as he works through digital transformation business cases for customers, he likes to think about two different categories of value:
- Quantitative value is more data oriented, including factors like total cost of ownership, payback period, etc.
- Qualitative value includes the intangible benefits of transformation like collaboration and innovation
“In my opinion, the best business cases deliver both qualitative value and quantitative value. You need to consider not only the business benefits, but also the softer benefits for the people who will be using the technology,” Marc says.
He shares an example of a customer who thought they had a coding problem that was producing incorrect quotes. When they dug into the issue, they discovered that not only were the quotes incorrect, but they were creating a ripple effect throughout the business—including things like revenue recognition and customer satisfaction.
He concludes, “By looking at the whole process, we were able to fix the quoting issue and improve top line revenue because they weren’t making those mistakes anymore. Customer satisfaction increased, and they were able to close their books faster because they had the intelligence to understand what was happening behind the scenes.”