The paper also addresses the latest developments in software technology that can impact your organisation; a project overview of a typical integration initiative using Sage software as an example; and the capabilities, benefits and return on investment that an integrated front and back office solution can provide for your organisation.
Customer Relationship Management Integration for a Customer Centric View Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Table of Contents Abstract............................................................................................................................................ 3 Customer Centric Integration Defined ............................................................................................. 3 The Situation at Hand...................................................................................................................... 4 Organisational Orientation and the Players..................................................................................... 5 Planning and Project Elements ....................................................................................................... 8 Evaluating and Selecting a Deployment Method........................................................................... 13 Technology Measuring Stick How to Evaluate Approaches....................................................... 13 Architecture Options and Comparisons......................................................................................... 14 Tangible Integration Benefits......................................................................................................... 17 Return on Investment .................................................................................................................... 21 Conclusion..................................................................................................................................... 23 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 2Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Abstract Today s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) see a need for automating their front office sales and customer relationship management (CRM) tools to their back office accounting and financial systems. The most recent trend for meeting this need within customer centric organisations is front to back office integration. The goal of integration is to provide a complete view of all customer interactions in order to make more insightful business decisions . This white paper provides a valuable list of factors for executive management, IT decision makers and sales professionals to consider when planning a successful integration project. The paper also addresses the latest developments in software technology that can impact your organisation; a project overview of a typical integration initiative using Sage software as an example; and the capabilities, benefits and return on investment that an integrated front and back office solution can provide for your organisation. Customer Centric Integration Defined In order for CRM to work effectively, individual departments within the organisation must communicate and have access to centralised customer information. Each department who contributes to the customer s total experience performs different daily tasks that can be categorised as one of the following: Back office Front office Each department collects customer information at different stages of customer interaction. Traditionally, departments performing front office tasks use dissimilar tools to manage customer information than those departments performing back office tasks. For example, sales, marketing and support staff use applications that support customer-facing processes, such as marketing to prospects, tracking sales opportunities and handling customer service and technical support enquiries. On the other hand, back office staff use applications that support non-customer facing processes, such as managing customer and supplier histories, processing orders, storing financial records and reporting on sales. Therefore, the goal of integrating the front and back office is to deliver native, best of breed product functionality to each department, while providing access to critical customer and business information across the entire organisation. When executed properly, integration results in increased productivity and efficiency across all departments, enhanced customer satisfaction and, ultimately, greater profitability. For clarification, integration, as discussed in this white paper, is defined as sharing customer information across organisational divisions or boundaries with a primary focus on sales and customer facing departments interfacing with the accounting and operations delivery departments. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 3Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View The Situation at Hand In the SME market segment, as a business grows and its technology needs and sophistication levels increase, individual departments begin to purchase business software solutions to accommodate their changing requirements and to manage growth. A variety of factors come in to play when SMEs make software purchases, including price sensitivity, ease of use, flexibility and customisation capabilities. Silos of Information As these departmental solutions are put into place and additional personnel are hired, SMEs often experience changes in interdepartmental communications. Data silos arise as a result of varying systems and communications with customers often become more difficult. Typically within a small business, employees sit in close proximity to one another. As a result, customer interactions that occur inside the department are easy to share. However, maintaining that intimate level of customer knowledge as the organisation grows may require accessing data in a different software system or contacting a person in a different department. Information that was once freely shared is now contained in multiple business systems that do not communicate with one another, causing the firm to farm the data using spreadsheets and other data gathering tools to construct a complete customer picture. Thus, when a small organisation expands it is faced with the need to implement systems and processes that will not only accommodate its growth, but also enable it to offer the same level of customer intimacy, knowledge and service it provided customers when it was a small business. Economics and Expectations Small and medium sized businesses are quite often challenged to do more with less. They are required to maximise previous investments in technology to boost performance. In addition, they must measure the return on investment of their CRM and Enterprise Resource Management projects. And, what about the customers? While technology has advanced the way organisations conduct business, it has also elevated customer expectations. Customers expect organisations to offer, build, deliver and in particular, service and support the products they sell, or else they will look into alternative suppliers. To eliminate data silos and keep up with customer expectations businesses are integrating applications that contain vital customer information to create a single, customer centric view across the entire organisation. And, rather than starting over with new technology, they are keeping their existing systems and adding only new software solutions that facilitate their growth and integration. Before considering integration organisations should set their corporate priorities and be very clear about what they want; a single, central and accurate view of each customer. It is critical that executive buy in to this vision is achieved prior to tackling the next steps. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 4Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Organisational Orientation and the Players Realising the end goal of a unified customer view requires an understanding of the inter organisational dynamics, including departmental perceptions, functions, processes and software requirements. Departmental Perceptions One way to consider the tasks of an organisation s front and back office departments is to use a check and balance system. Departments that make up the front and back office have opposing views and needs and, depending upon an individual s departmental affiliation, opinions regarding the usefulness, worth or capabilities of each department can be less than stellar. This is an important phenomenon for organisations to recognise when considering integrating data from these departments. Consider these viewpoints: If you re a back-office or accounting team member you may view the sales and customer facing roles as tell the customer what they want to hear, because when they don t follow procedure you re the one who has to clean up the mess, right? The back office team member perspective is often of themselves as the team that enables the front office sales professionals to do their jobs. They manage the score and keep everybody honest. If you are a front office or sales organisation team member have you ever called the back office team Sales Prevention ? Members of the sales department view sales as sustaining the company; if there are no sales, there is no company. Processes implemented by other departments, according to their view, just serve to get in the way of giving the customer what they want. Are these viewpoints exaggerations or have you heard similar views? The purpose of these examples is to simply point out the fact that these departments think and work differently and that poor and infrequent communication between these teams may ultimately affect customer satisfaction. Departmental Functions and Processes Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of an integrated front and back office solution. To punctuate this point you can apply two parallel concepts from the manufacturing sector. Those familiar with manufacturing processes would recognise quality control methods such as the Japanese kanban (a moving container/bin that houses the parts on an assembly line) or big C (external customers) and little c (internal customers). In the software automation world integration concepts are very similar to those used in the manufacturing process. The underlying concept of these quality control methods is to understand the input and output of a department s function and to appreciate how other departments (little c) need the information or product they create. Further, the information is available from a single source (or bin) and is taken and replaced as needed to complete the product or, in the case of customer centricity, acquire, retain and up-sell customers. The following figure is a simplified representation of an organisation s functional roles; a map of the departments that supply the information, some activities that could be 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 5Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View performed and the internal customers of their work or output. There is a realisation that not all small or medium sized businesses conform to this departmental structure; however, most of these functions exist in an operational business. Figure 1: The Customer Chain Integrating the front and back office systems helps streamline workflow and communication. Information is entered into the system once eliminating double entry and increasing productivity but not circumventing checks and balances. How often do sales or support staff get asked for shipment status information? Or, what if they take an order only to find out that the customer is on credit hold and the order cannot be fulfilled? Through integration employees have the ability to view and analyse complete customer data, which allows them to respond faster, make more informed business decisions and provide higher levels of customer service. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 6Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Departmental Software Requirements Departmental perceptions and ownership of tasks becomes clear when considering what each department values in their software solution for performing their daily tasks and customer interactions. Table 1: Solution Requirements Front-Office (Sales) Solution Requirements Back Office (Operational) Solution Requirements The sales director is usually the key sponsor of a CRM front office initiative. The pains that drive CRM purchase decisions are typically the need for sales processes and pipeline management. Standard application requirements include ease of use and customisation capabilities to support a firm s unique and evolving processes. In addition, it must support the field sales organisation with the data they need in a disconnected, untethered fashion. Accountants and other back office staff are accustomed to software that is designed to be a system of record. While it may be easy to use accuracy in recording the state of the business is the primary requirement. Accountants often view CRM as a way of streamlining the collection of sales transactions and are wary about allowing any access to, or creation of, data that will jeopardise system integrity. Highly customisable application in which rules can be defined by the organisation or individual teams. Easy to use solutions with tools tailored to garner end user acceptance and adoption because daily use is not mandatory but desired. Sales order capture so that sales people can enter orders themselves without learning a different system. Pipeline forecasting tools for better visibility into sales results and financial impact. Visibility of customer and inventory related information through the CRM system. A productivity tool with multiple access points including support for disconnected laptops for use in the field. Rules-based solutions. Users are required to use products so the user interface (UI) can be imposed upon them. Concerns about sales accessing or changing data in the accounting system; including adding new customers to the accounting system and setting or changing credit limits. Concerns about how orders will get into the back-office system. Concerns about who wins if an order is priced incorrectly by sales. A system of record for the organisation. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 7Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Planning and Project Elements Develop a Plan and Obtain Buy-In After you ve evaluated the organisation s departments and processes, the next step is to build and execute an implementation plan. This plan should encompass the organisation s current and planned software systems, the budget for the project and the implementation requirements to automate departmental processes. The integration project itself is not as much about technology as it is about the people, processes, structure and information that are involved. To encourage a cultural shift in thinking and conducting business, key factors such as change management, personnel involvement and clear and frequent communications become necessary. It is important to allay any potential reluctance about how changes will affect employees day to day duties. If the vision is set and people are involved early, it is likely the benefits will be understood sooner and the project will progress faster. During the planning process consider contracting with a systems integration company that understands both your company s operations and your systems and one that is locally available to implement and support your organisation throughout the project. Working with integration experts is an excellent way to fast track the execution of your front to back office integration project. In addition, keep in mind that although a large portion of the integration project will involve a cross departmental team of influences, there should be one overall project owner within the organisation, someone who can be held accountable for project completion. This project champion will need to invoke consensus across the various project constituents on key project elements. After you identify this person there are many technical and process steps to consider. Expect the integration project to be dynamic because business drivers change, as do the needs and desires of the organisation. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 8Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Project Elements and Timeline The following figure provides a timeline for front to back office suggested practices. The remaining part of this section provides a description for each stage included in the timeline. Figure 2: Project Timeline 1. Data MigrationAs in any new or existing software implementation, handling pre-existing data can provide challenges. When considering whether to join front and back office systems, remember to weigh the value of the data against the amount of work that will be required to cleanse and merge the information with the newly implemented systems. It is important to consider the existing data early in the project and compare the information for reliability and accuracy. Evaluating this information early will provide clear insight to decisions needed during the actual data import steps. 2. System Configurations System sizing and server configurations are difficult to calculate due to the number of possibilities. As a general rule it is suggested that the integration service be installed on a computer that meets the recommended requirements and is separate from the front and back office database servers as well as separate from the CRM remote user synchronisation servers. 3. Software Upgrade and Installation Upgrading existing software systems is very important to the overall success of the front to back office implementation in order to be compatible with new software. Installing new software is one of the easiest tasks of the front to back office implementation process. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 9Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View After you have made the system configuration decisions you must carefully follow the installation documentation for all applications involved in the integration 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 10Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View 4. Data Import Planning The purpose of the data import planning stage is to prepare for successful data import by planning the sequence of events. As the back to front office implementation process continues, the dependency of previous steps becomes more important to the success of the overall project. These steps include: Step 1: Review the decisions made during the data migration stage related to the data value and scope of work. Step 2: Arrive at a consensus regarding the value and accuracy of the data to determine the sequence for importing. As discussed in this document, the back office data is extremely accurate and contains customers financial information. This is usually the data set to start with when considering a new implementation of a front office system. Step 3: Prepare additional data imports to load pre-existing systems data, as needed. Step 4: If you require a remote implementation front office users should receive synchronised data as part of the implementation. Consider the impact of the new data and identify plans to assign teams and ownership schemes using territory management tools to designate appropriate data ownership rules. 5. Integration Services Configuration To configure the integration services and establish connections between the front and back office systems use the configuration tools that are part of the integration software you have selected or that are already contained within your accounting or CRM software. The next section reviews integration software deployment methods to assist in the software selection process. During this stage another practice to consider is creating a naming convention for the configurations. Because there are many variations to creating multiple configurations with multiple schedules you need to set a standard for how you can quickly identify which front office account is connected to which back office company, as well as the mode and scheduled run time. 6. Front Office Application Data Import The process of actually importing data is completed in two phases. The order in which you execute the stages depends upon the decisions made in the Data Import Planning stage. Phase 1: Import the data that you determined to be the most valuable or accurate. If the back office information is the first data set execute an initial integration import. If another pre-existing data set is deemed the most valuable data, import this data first using the data import tool of choice. It is recommended that you perform some method of data validation prior to moving to Phase 2. Phase 2: Import the secondary data set after the data validation of Phase 1 is complete. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 11Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View 7. Data Cleansing After the data has been consolidated into the front office product, it is possible that the newly integrated system contains duplicate data. The presence of duplicates depends upon the sophistication level of the import tools used. Regardless of the import tools used the data cleansing stage is critical to starting the implementation with a valid data set. Taking the time to use de-duplication tools will increase the success of the overall implementation. 8. Front Office Accounts and Back Office Company Matching Until this point, the back office company information and the front office account information may not have been associated, thus preventing the connection between appropriate data in each system. This stage of the implementation associates accounts in the front office to the matching company in the back office. To create this link between the front office account and the back office customer, certain cross reference information must be populated. For example, the CRM application will need to know the accounting company code and/or the customer account number from the back office application in order to link the two accounts. This stage is only required during implementation; as new accounts are created in the future, the front or back office applications will automatically be linked. 9. Front to Back Office List Matching Data lists shared between the front and back office systems must match in order to support a congruent flow of information between both systems. Each system may have special logic or rules associated with the values. An example where matching data lists become important is during a sales order; the sales person code and the shipping methods must match. If they do not match, during the order validation process in the back office, the order or quote will not be processed. 10. Field Based Remote User Databases If the implementation supports remote or field based front office users you must pay special attention to account ownership in order to ensure these users have proper access to the accounts they manage. If teams and ownership were assigned during the data import planning stage there may be no further action needed. If they were not assigned this is the time to look at tools needed to designate territory ownership in the front office and further investigate each user s synchronisation settings. It is difficult to predict remote user transaction volume because each company runs its business differently. Plan ahead and set expectations for initial and follow up remote user synchronisation sessions. Furthermore, to avoid synchronisation delays, do not create a remote user s offline database until after all the initial imports, synchronisations and front office accounts and back office customers are complete. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 12Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Evaluating and Selecting a Deployment Method At this stage, with the situation defined, the needs apparent and an execution plan in the works, the IT questions begin. This section reviews the more technical qualifications and requirements to consider when implementing a customer centric integration project. Technology Measuring Stick How to Evaluate Approaches There are multiple technology approaches available for integrating software systems. The approach you choose will depend on many factors. Some of the most common considerations are listed in the following table. Table 2: Evaluation Details to Consider Consideration Common Questions to Ask Scaleability How much data and processing can the approach accommodate? Future Resilient and Self-Realising Does the method allow the integration components to discover new functions as they are added? Does it provide a basis for intelligent and dynamic functionality adjustments? Will it make maintainance and upgrades easier? Generic Does the integration method support a true gateway for other solutions/products to use the framework? Development Knowledge How much do the development staff need to know about the integrating product(s) programming interfaces? Is your team responsible for creating parts of the integration components? Transactional Integrity Is the transactional integrity maintained? If so, how? How will that affect the integrating products technical support functions? Will product support for the integrated product be dropped because of the integration modifications? Maintainance Is a new team required to manage this product? Technical Support What does the Applications Support team need to know about the integrating product(s)? Do you need to have the domain knowledge? Installation/Configuration What are the modifications that must happen to the integrating products? What components/modules are required with the integrating product? How do you know if they are installed? Licensing Costs What are the licensing requirements? Is there a developer s license required to perform configurations? What are the costs and who will provide these licenses? Flexibility How flexible is the data mapping? Can additional fields be added, removed or remapped? Data or User Interface (UI) Many aspects of integration involve data movement and the user interface is handled separately. Are the UI and data movement components tightly coupled? How seamless does the integration feel? Out-of-the-Box Integrations Does this type of architecture support pre-built, ready to deploy integrations that require minimal configuration or development work? Advanced Configuration Possibilities Does this type of architecture allow for customisations, multi-server and multi-database configurations? 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 13Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Architecture Options and Comparisons The following figures illustrate three architectural approaches to performing integration: Point-to-Point, Customisable Point-to-Point and Multi-Point. Figure 3: Point-to-Point Figure 4: Customisable Point-to-Point Figure 5: Multi-Point 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 14Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View The considerations for each approach are included in the following table. Table 3: Considerations by Architectural Approach Method Point-to-Point Customisable Point-to-Point Multi-Point Considerations Comments Comments Comments Scalability Low. Moderate. Extremely high. Limited only by the restrictions in the selected accounting or CRM products. Future Resilient and Self-realising Typically not capable. Data mapping allows the addition of new data fields and new functions can be coded. High. Generic Typically not designed this way. Open, customisable mapping allow for this. The structural components make this highly generic and put the specialisation at the driver level. Development Knowledge This solution masks the need for the integration project owner to know complex details about the front and back office products. This solution allows for pre-built integrations, minimising the development knowledge needed by the project owner about the front and back office products. However, as soon as customisations are required, significant knowledge of the data and import or export tools is needed. This solution masks the need for the integration project owner to know complex details about the front and back office products. Transactional Integrity Without high levels of product knowledge from the manufacturer, this approach could violate the transactional integrity of both systems. Excellent; it uses natively supported tools from the software manufacturers. High integrity maintained because each of the adapters are knowledgeable about each application s rules. Maintenance Minimal. Minimal. Minimal. Technical Support This approach requires significant knowledge of both sides of the integration and excellent knowledge of all products involved. This approach requires significant knowledge of both sides of the integration and excellent knowledge of all products involved. Simplifies the learning curve and number of new products required to learn. Installation/Configuration Installation is typically simpler than other approaches. Requires additional products to install and configure connectivity information. Installation can be challenging depending on the use of self configuration. Licensing Costs Special licensing may be required for both products. Requires Import/Export module purchases. May require additional licenses from each integrating product. Flexibility Low. Good. Good. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 15Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Data or User Interface The user interface is disconnected from the data integration requests. The user interface is disconnected from the data integration requests. The data movement and user interface can be tightly coupled in this model. A function request may be sent through the framework and the driver renders the user interface Out of the Box Integrations Yes, usually the only way this is deployed. Yes. Sometimes. Advanced Configuration Possibilities No, configuration is fixed. Yes, multiple servers and databases. Yes, advanced in these capabilities. Deployment Situations/Uses Typically used in fixed product integration situations that are allowed to make minor modifications. Deployable for a wider range of applications because of its flexibility. Deployed where more scaleable needs are required. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 16Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Tangible Integration Benefits Information Exchange Between Systems Integrated systems enable access to a wealth of information. The following figure is a representation of some of the data entities that exist in the front and back office systems. The directionality column indicates the entity relationship and the information flow. The colour coded arrow differentiates the bidirectional (both systems allow updates) and the unidirectional (one system is the originator and the other is a receiver) relationships. There may be other conditions placed upon the relationships to determine which system overrides when there is a data conflict and these conditions will vary from system to system. Figure 6: Data Entities 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 17Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View A Complete Customer View from the CRM Application How does it look when the front and back office system is working together? Ultimately, the solution should look and feel like the familiar, native application. The following figure shows a screen shot of one of Sages CRM products. The interface displays customer accounting information including receivables, ageing, credit limit, sales year to date, as well as other back-office data within the front-office application. By selecting the appropriate tab in the user interface, front office users can view invoice history, sales history, payment history and other important back office related customer information. Figure 7: Customer Information in a Sage CRM Program Taking it one step further, there are situations where it may make sense to enable a front office user to directly access the accounting system. These situations may include running a customer enquiry or placing an order directly into the back office system. With the front office account and the back office company information linked together, users are able to click a button from the account record in their front office CRM solution to open the back office screen that displays the correlating customer information. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 18Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Figure 8: Sage Accounting Software Rendered with a Sage CRM Product 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 19Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Extended Functionality in the Front-Office CRM Application 1+1=3 In review, front office systems are historically flexible and customisable. Back office systems are typically designed around strict rules to maintain data integrity. With an integrated system the flexible front office now includes an extended set of business information to create a composite application with a value greater than the sum of its parts. Figure 9: Example of an Integrated System Although the information views discussed below may not be specific product components of a particular integration suite or application, they are the results of applying the inherent functionalities derived from integrating the front and back office. Organisations that maximise this integration reap the rewards of excellent insight for their businesses. Take a look at some of the extended functionality that you can derive from an integrated solution: Top Customer List: View a list of the top customers by simply creating a group of customers and including and sorting the year to date sales field. Customer Accounts Receivable Ageing List: View accounts that are due and the associated collection ageing. Credit Hold List: View customers on credit hold. Unprocessed Orders List: Orders correlate with pounds. A click of the button provides a list of unprocessed orders. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 20Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Collections Letters: Use mail merge capabilities to send customers friendly reminder notices that their accounts are past due and record the events to CRM history. Buying Trends: Define criteria and manipulate the information in Microsoft Excel. Return on Investment The price of integrated software solutions ranges from as low as a few hundred pounds to upward of 50,000. Additionally, there will be implementation and project associated costs. Knowing this, CRM vendors in the small and medium sized business space are pricing their products to compete for small and medium sized company budgets. While it is difficult to outline specific expected return on investment (ROI) due to countless factors that influence costs, consider these guidelines when looking for contributing factors for ROI calculations. Table 4: Factors Influencing Return on Investment. Customer-Centric Integration Savings Influencers Customer-Centric Integration Cost Influencers Customer Management, Attrition and Loyalty To consider gains in this category you need a baseline number to understand the organisation s customer management costs (CMC). Using this value you may compute calculations to understand customer profitability. Applying these numbers against a customer attrition rate will yield a value. Conversely, this process may reveal a savings by approaching unprofitable customers with options to drive them into profitability or save CMC pounds by no longer servicing these customers. Data Conditions The number of systems and the data consolidation requirements will affect service or internal costs. Labor Savings One of the largest benefits to implementing a customer-centric integration solution is the potential labour savings. Consider the cost savings that could occur by reducing the double entry time across two or more departments (not to mention the accuracy gains). An example would be sales reports that are prepared by a sales person, but later modified by the sales manager and/or the sales vice president. Hardware Updates and Acquisitions Does the current hardware in your organisation meet the requirements? It may be necessary to add or update machines and equipment. Customer Base Sales Opportunities Providing great customer care can turn into a profitable business practice. Knowing your customer base more intimately may enable your organisation to increase revenue with current customers. Assign value to the cross sell and up sell opportunities and use that as part of the ROI justification. Software Updates and Acquisitions This figure includes the cost of the actual software and updates to existing applications and operating systems (if they are not up to specifications). 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 21Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Out-of-the-Box-Capabilities The scope of integration can increase the overall length and cost of the project. Solutions designed to solve challenges for small and medium sized companies are available that offer working, out-of-the-box integrations. Extending these pre-built solutions will increase cost. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 22Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View Conclusion Successful customer centric integration is achievable and affordable for small and medium sized businesses. The key to this success is keeping the customer s experience with your organisation at the forefront during the evaluation, planning and integration phases. In addition, along the way, it s important to show internal constituents the win factor for them to garner support. Customer centric integration represents unique benefits for the entire organisation, as well as its customers. Sales wins by: Having unprecedented levels of visibility into the order and invoice processes. Having up to date product information, pricing, discounting and inventory available when quoting or taking orders. (No need to wait for accounting to call you back with product information or the latest pricing.) Knowing the account credit status, terms and account balance before creating an order. Knowing the invoice, payment, outstanding balance and ageing information to provide more complete customer service. Using past product purchasing information to plan future marketing campaigns. Using the front office tools to identify and focus on unprocessed sales orders or customers with excessive past due balances. Using front office process tools to follow up with customers after they purchase. Accounting wins by: Maintaining control over the order entry process so that sales people can generate accurate and complete orders. Controlling product pricing and/or discounting. Reducing the time spent answering questions from sales or generating reports on available at their fingertips. because the teams have accounting informati . Reducing duplicate work in re-keying orders Reducing customer maintenance activities. Overall, everyone wins with front to back office, customer centric integration because orders move to accounting more quickly, customers receive products sooner, the company gets paid faster, sales people receive commission cheques earlier, employees re more satisfied with their jobs and clients receive higher levels of customer service. a The time is right to identify integration as a key corporate initiative, merge your data silos and start reaping the rewards of the synergistic capabilities that a customer centric, integrated business can offer. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 23Untitled DocumentIntegration for a Customer-Centric View The information contained in this document represents the current view of Sage (UK) Limited on the issues discussed, as at the date the document was prepared. It is believed to be accurate and free from error, but Sage provide no warranty to this effect, nor will the author(s) be liable to any party for the consequence(s) of any reliance placed upon it. The document is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as the giving of any express or implied warranties relating to the products and the capabilities, system requirement and/or compatibility with third party products described in this document. Please note that Sage reserves the right to make changes to the content without notice, please contact Sage for current information. Sage advise that before implementing any internet solution you consult a network specialist to discuss security issues. Sage is not responsible for either the content or maintenance of the web sites referred to in this document. 2007 Sage (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 24