Order to cash management with workato
Order to cash management with workato
One of the most crucial business processes is “Order to Cash” or “Quote to Cash.” The efficient an organization can get in structuring product pricing, completing orders, invoice creation, customer billing, and inventory management, the faster it can invest the money back into the business. However, the outdated systems, manual forms, and email-based order processing has led to a slow, inflexible, and error-prone business. The manual process of input data from forms and documents and one on one sharing of required data with multiple teams pose a risk to business efficiency and impede active quote to cash execution.
The quote-to-cash process is unique in its way as it involves stakeholders from nearly all departments within an organization- sales, finance, customer relation, legal, marketing, and company leadership. The reason these departments are connected is to ensure the bills and customers are taken care of. But as the business expands, the transaction and business processes may turn into hiccups and lead to an unstructured business system with less visibility and collaboration within teams. Companies must look to automation solutions to streamline critical quote to cash business process to better coordinate tasks related to sales, contract management, order fulfillment, and finance to take care of such business challenges.
Pace Consulting’s research suggests that 12% of the day of an average sales representative is spent on formulating customer proposals or quotes. When the solution is complex and involves multiple channel/ selling partners, they may spend a significant amount of time preparing quotes rather than investing time in new prospects.
Here we take a look at an e-commerce company with many products and delivering to various locations globally. The company is associated with multiple channel partners and vendors helping in shipment and delivery. The company representative works on spreadsheets for data management and use emails & phone calls to collaborate. However, the team spend a considerate amount of time managing product data, on-time response to new orders, dealings with cash invoices, and finding it hard to resolve billing and new prospecting errors. Some significant business challenges that impact order to cash process includes:
- Multiple databases or spreadsheets with product catalog lists
- Difficulty in selecting large product bundles with different configurations
- Manual entry of newly added products
- No sorting of “out of stock” or outdated products
- Problem to sort products with the promotional offer and update the price when a promotional offer is no longer in place
- Updating discounts from channel partners or fulfilling customer-specific discounts
- Manual updating of product documentation, terms and conditions, and contract renewals
- If dealing internationally, there is a need to price in multiple currencies and managing channel partners and product availability based on location & market standards
To overcome the above-mentioned challenges, businesses need to streamline the order to cash processes. For this, the company opted for Workday (for financial and operational reporting) and Slack for order booking, product management, interdepartmental & channel partner communication. However, they realized that the quotation and invoicing management was manual in Slack and is still a problematic chunk; hence Salesforce was looked upon so that the team can concentrate on new prospects.
Today’s up-to-the-minute businesses involve several different cloud-based and on-premise applications, including many personal productivity applications such as social media, calendar, real-time messaging, and a lot more. This brings in a considerable amount of scattered data that needs to be handled. Despite the advanced software tools, teams faced seamless data transfer issues and delayed the approval process because of non-aligned workflows. This can be possible by implementing a solution that can streamline orders with an automation integration platform that allows businesses to leverage data’s power to its full potential. This is where Workato iPaas platform appears to bridge the Slack, Workday & Salesforce.
Workato enables technology and business to collaborate to function and automate processes without compromising on security and governance. Workato works with recipes (recipe is a set of automated workflow tools) that integrates applications. Our developers started by identifying day-to-day tasks and stages associated with them. The steps identified are as follows:
- Leads/ order generation (Sales)
- CPQ (Sales & Operations)
- Contract Management (Sales & Finance)
- Billing & Invoice (Finance & Operation)
Using Workato, we were able to configure bots and set up a trigger for the bots to take necessary action. For example, for any new order placed by a customer, there is a promotional offer attached. Hence this product order requests price adjustments. Now, all the product pricing and order booking are inside Slack. The company uses Salesforce for contract management and invoicing. Thus, the price adjustment request must be approved by sales and renewal managers listed in the Salesforce. Workato chatbot, known as Workbot, will align the correct Salesforce account with the designated Slack channel and place the price approval request before the concerned manager for his approval. Workato then verifies the approver to ensure that the user is qualified to take such action and then records it in Salesforce.
Workato allows creating custom bots with function names such as OrderBot, HRBot, SupportBot, FinanceBot, etc. Workato workflows assisted the company in
- synchronizing quotes/ contracts, pricing, order, and customer data across all platforms
- improved customer order management as it allows a unified view of customer orders, allows real-time status update, and ensure timely resolving of order inquiry
- elimination of duplicate data/insufficient data
- allows to search existing data and make changes instead of creating new records
- better management of pricing approvals
- standardization of products
- keeping finance and sales teams in the loop for correct billing and invoicing
If you are looking to synchronize your order to cash business process and wish to opt for a non-code way of application integration, Workato iPaaS is the solution. It will enable cross-functional collaboration, automate tasks, and ultimately generate revenue that seamlessly makes the business functioning seamless.
Mulesoft + Salesforce Beyond Integration
No matter what business you are in (whether small, medium, or large), integrating internal business processes with third party platforms and cloud-based applications is crucial for business growth. Essentially, the small and medium trades call for integration solutions that offer scalability and flexibility to achieve high performance and ROI. However, since small and medium enterprises need to focus more on core business developments, managing integrations with a separate team become inefficient and a budget blow. Sometimes SMBs opt for custom integrations, which restricts business needs adaptability in the long run as it is challenging to make changes in custom codes.
Similar to any other business, SMBs tend to focus totally on data and excellent customer service, which are the most valued business possessions across all domains. Data plays arguably a vital role for companies to make decisions, grow and achieve precision. An example to understand the part of data is the covid-19 pandemic wherein the healthcare providers record necessary patient data and gauge the complete health scenario of any patient. Similarly, customer data fed on a food delivery app helps the providers understand the customer’s interest, and accordingly, the food feeds and offers are provided.
Every business has to follow specific government policies & compliance (like HIPAA in healthcare) and economic indicators to leverage any customer data. For this, it is essential to securely connect business data with external platforms to drive meaningful insights. For some reason, this data is siloed, dispersed between different systems, and continuously increasing, posing a challenge of integration, analysis, or visualization. This is where MuleSoft and Salesforce integration can help understand, unlocking, and connect all your data.
Understanding the MuleSoft integration through a scenario
Let us consider a situation where a clothing and jewellery provider is looking to introduce new products and efficiently deliver excellent customer experience and product delivery through digital & in-store mediums. Creating a new e-commerce digital strategy aims to directly engage with customers (retailers, distributors, and buyers) and deliver a never before buying experience. To achieve this, the provider company needs to connect various tools such as Salesforce commerce cloud and other third-party systems to its internal ERP platform. To achieve this, the company will need to:
- Build an IT team to create custom code path for different integrations
- Consider security during integration
- Revisit the staffing constraints for better customer experience
- Appoint an employee who can understand their ERP system fields, define requirements of the new platform, unlock back-office data and build an integration for each
- Be ready with additional integrations if in case the system changes as the business progress
- Create a system that automates the manual order management
Instead of getting into the tedious process of creating custom code for each integration, the company opted for MuleSoft’s API led connectivity approach to link, synchronize and automate data between the three platforms (Salesforce, internal ERP and another third party). The reason for choosing the API-led approach is that the traditional application integration method through custom code is time-consuming to meet the business demands. The company started with building a customer API to unlock data from various systems, combine the data and represent it in an accessible setup without compromising the security and governance. This integration approach increases the productivity, agility, and speed of personalized service and issue resolution. Some of the many benefits that the company achieved through the MuleSoft API led approach includes:
- A single view of all the customer data that was siloed. For example, customer data stored on Salesforce cloud, ERP, and third party (distributor system and payment provider) are all connected and displayed in a single view.
- This customer view also includes previous customer interaction data that helps agents with automated work orders, issues, cases, and required service actions. This benefits in improving agent productivity and reducing staffing constraints too
- The APIs can be easily updated, which means if there are any changes in the source or destination systems, we do not need to update every integration point.
- The reusable APIs engage customers across various channels.
- No need to appoint an employee with detailed knowledge of the internal ERP system. Anyone with the right understanding can access the correct information.
- Better collaboration between provider, distributor, retailer, and other third-party supply-side platforms
The company created a 360 view of the customer with MuleSoft API led integration. They achieved efficacy, ensured better order management, and could focus on providing personalized product & customer experience as they have access to all information.
Leveraging Salesforce and MuleSoft together
To unlock digital transformation and integrating data across the enterprise, MuleSoft is the go-to platform. It not only connects data, application, or any system but transforms the new platform into a high performance and cost-effective solution. At ProwessSoft, we have witnessed how our customers who have adopted Salesforce (Sales, Marketing, and service) clouds faced the continuous challenge of sourcing and leveraging data. This is the same value-added data that is required to enhance customer experience and cross-selling opportunities. With our Mulesoft Salesforce integration experience, we were able to fetch, connect, and act on external data to build a mature new platform.
Adopting to a MuleSoft API led model, the data across the system remains uncoupled. The data transformation and adhering to protocols remain compressed and the data change events are excellently managed no matter where they are located- on cloud or data center.
The Way Forward
Mulesoft-Salesforce integration offers a framework for future applications that simplify the development process, avoid duplication of work, leverage APIs’ reusability, and make connected customer experience a reality. For immaculate up-gradation and integration of MuleSoft with Salesforce, reach ProwessSoft for consultation. Our specialists will help you draw the maximum integration advantages, especially the ones that boost your business.
Choosing the Right Integration Partner
Forrester reported an increase of 66 Saas applications used by an average-sized company in 2016. It mentioned the possibility of exponentially increasing the demand for data integration in the coming years.
When you are ready to embark on your latest project, data management is of paramount concern. The requirement of an effective integration is increased considering multiple channels of data segregation. But how do we decide which integration works best in light of the requirement?
Businesses rely on data analytics to make informed decisions. It requires a robust automated solution to ease the facilitation, and error handling and avoid compatibility issues in data migration. Businesses usually use the Point to Point (P2P) method, where the developers need to feed in some new programs. This custom coding method works fine in a few scenarios but has multiple significant drawbacks.
- Not able to deliver high-yielding results in terms of performance and cost-efficiency
- Compromise with the data security
- Disturbing the basic integration structure and raising the coding & testing requirements may delay the necessary support.
- Provides a reusable platform for any deployments minimizing the need to coding or create new programs.
Considering these challenges in P2P, organizations have adopted different software to do these tasks for them. Let’s have a look at this software-
- iSaaS- This software does not require any complex coding, inconsistent for any change in integration, and works on plug and play method. Multiple software comes with the iSaaS; for example, Oplim, Microsoft Flow, etc.
- iPaaS- Unlike iSaaS, this is complicated software that requires integration coding. Developers are continually working on iPaaS, evolving this into a better version to ease the various integration issues. Some of the most promising iPaaS software are Tibco, Dell Boomi, Mulesoft, etc.
How to choose the best integration
It would be best if you had a checklist for what your iPaaS should include.
- Connector for SaaS and on-premise-based applications (SAP, SFDC)
- Supports XML, JSON based formats
- Predictable API wheel-of-life and management
- The capability of data processing in bulk
- Adaptor/Connector development automation
- Compatibility with other integrations and API authentications
Parameters to compare while choosing an iPaaS
Deployment Capability: Integration should have flexibility in the deployment of apps within containers, multi-gateway environments, on-premises
Data Security: With the significant exposure of business data, API becomes a sweet target for any phishing activity or hacker. Providing stagnant policy-based security for your API is not adequate. It needs to be secured with advanced capability-based modern technologies like AI. The software should protect the data from any attack login system by credential stuffing, cookies, token or API keys stealing threats and should have automated programs to impose security by ensuring encrypted transactions.
AI Capabilities: Technologies like Kafka are becoming a cornerstone in building event-driven architectures to support real-time data processing. It should integrate well with Kafka-like technologies, also enhance the advanced stream processing capabilities, such as cleaning, transformation, etc.
Cost: While many vendors offer you leveraging limited trial packages, some of the iPaaS require you to purchase an additional license. Some of the integration pricing models are based on variable usage of CPU or data connectors. You can choose CPU-usage-based pricing or complete records-based packages depending on the business usage.
API monetization support: Businesses start preferring the platform that promotes the efficient use of services and API to increase ROI and cost-efficiency. iPaaS should have developed portals for external and internal customers to reuse the APIs rather than build them.
Data Processing: A faster integration delivery comes with faster time-to-market for the organization’s initiatives, which gives you increased revenue. It is the most crucial capability on the list. Integration should be able to process a large volume of data in a minimum time. The integration should be compatible and robust to handle large data volumes and reinforce batch processing to perform such complex tasks.
Dashboards: Business analytics or Performance dashboard are essential components you want to have in your integration software. The integration must allow you to visualize the workflows in various graphs/charts that are easy to access, understand, and reliable.
Best iPaaS Software & their features
Multiple software available that you can compare based on the above-listed parameters. We have listed below a few of them.
Mulesoft is a widely used integration by renowned organizations like Netflix, Unilever, Airbnb, etc. This integration enables organizations to utilize their apps and data’s full potential by providing API-led connectivity, regardless of on-premise or cloud interface.
Some key features of Mulesoft are:
- It has various development tools to design APIs, implement integration pipelines and build connectors easily
- It provides a unified Web interface that allows users to manage API users, SLA, and other analytics in a one-view platform.
- Works as an asset that helps you connect faster, develop tools and provide an enterprise-grade secured platform for your API integration, data, etc.
- Reducing the requirement to design new APIs by reusing the data and synchronizing the document with API specs promptly
WSO2 identity server is named A Strong Performer by Forrester. It has robust, comprehensive architecture that concentrates on API and standard-based IAMs.
A few highlights of the WSO2 server are:
- It has a prototyped API that gives the operator to get early access to APIs, reinforcement of APIs based on the developer’s feedback
- Common view to access the user data, integrations, and real-time dashboard
- Its agile CIAM solution that ensures high-security offers to select a discrete gateway to publish APIs in a multi-gateway environment
- Tibco integration gives operators the experience of speed, swift migration of data, and automation. TIBCO Cloud™ enterprise integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) permits the user to connect the information assets regardless of the interface.
Key Features of Tibco
- It uses a ton of connectors at the popular endpoint and API-led approach to remove the complexity of integrations and makes interconnection swifter
- It provides remarkable flexibility in the deployment of apps within containers, multi-gateway environment, on-premises
- TIBCO Spotfire feature provides accumulated ready-to-work data analysis which can be visualized further in charts and graphs
It is a cloud-based integration purposely designed to simplify the application and data migration between cloud and on-premise applications. It is a versatile, multi-tenant platform that administers to fulfill the smallest to most complex integration requirements.
Key features of Dell Boomi
- One of the USP of Dell Boomi is 100% browser-based integration which makes the platform user-friendly
- Boomi uses API drivers to integrate the source and target system, which can be easily configured without further coding. In addition to this, Boomi has pre-prepared templates for the configuration of standard integration
- This integration automatically removes the error and accelerates data transformation
- The remarkable operational intelligence and reusable business analytics ease the integration and minimize the lapse possibilities
The Way Ahead: Seek assistance from an integration expert
Given today’s uncertainty, businesses need to adopt technology that should be robust, cost-effective and supports the best modern data development practice. Furthermore, the integration should be highly optimized and secured to protect the company’s data. Contact our experts if you still need help deciding which integration suits your business. We have helped numerous organizations with their integration needs and assisted in extending their business potential.
Important Consideration – Return on Investment
The requirement of a new API to drive better data analytics will not justify taking a hit on your business’s financial blueprint. An API integration investment can take 1-3 years to give ROI. Most businesses prefer to make small investments and gradually increase once the business starts giving visible returns. Multiple iPaaS software offers a free trial/version with a limited period or features to run your Proof of Concept (POC) programs.